Korean Artist Project: Chang, Jia is one of 21 outstanding artists selected by the Korean Artist Project. The Korean Artist Project is a global online website which aims to promote Korean contemporary artists hosted by the Ministy of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea and organized by the Korean Art Museum Association. KAP has launched with a three-year plan spanning from 2011 to 2013. At the first step in 2011, art professionals and critics selected 21 artists, and curators from 13 private art museums organized their virtual solo exhibitions. KAP would love to introduce a diverse spectrum of Korean contemporary art to the global audience. Through these efforts, KAP will play a significant role in the promotion and development of Korean contemporary art. Also, the KAP will become a useful platform, which will serve as a stepping-stone to create cultural exchange and global networks with diverse art people. Please visit www.koreanartistproject.com
Critic's Note: Jia Chang : In Praise of a Relational Aesthetics
Only a short time ago, a Westerner travelling in Asia could not help but be surprised by the prevailing discretion in male-female relationships; no holding hands, no hugging, no emotional outpourings. No kissing, no furtive glances in public. There was a kind of ban on the expression of deeply felt emotions that governed social behavior. The advent of globalization, the increase in contact between different peoples and cultures, the development in communication via the internet, such as social networks, got the better of the taboo culture. At the dawn of the third millennium, the world has changed, and the scope of art has considerably expanded, artists virtually being the first to foreshadow and participate in the future. In his essay Esthétique Relationnelle (Relational Aesthetics), published in 1998, the young art critic Nicolas Bourriaud ventured to identify our current obsession with interactivity. In the introduction of his essay, Bourriaud predicts a relationship-based society premised on an aesthetic of the inter-human, of the encounter; of proximity, of resisting social formatting.
At the end of the 1990s, at a transitional time in our world, Jia Chang’s artwork first appears which is in synchrony with world events and current critical inquiry. Her work engages the two critical queries regarding identity(identité) and otherness(altérité), and examines the positioning of an artist, especially a female artist, whilst utilizing diverse forms of media - performance art, video, and photography to present exacting representations symbolic of the agendas that trouble contemporary society. There are elements of both brazenness and vigilance that are mobilized in the creative processes of Jia Chang’s work, wherein she shields away from the violent situation she has represented. The video titled, The Physical Condition for being an Artist, produced in 2000 shows her half-length and as the target of egg throwing and face slapping. Yet at the end she is shown with a broad smile, suggestive of the artist’s strength of character. It seems the artist attempted to represent the victory of a collective against the unflinching behavior of the Other. The derogatory grin that she displays after the ordeal is its evidence. Clearly focused on challenging the Other by demolishing its perceptual practices, even provoking the Other from its unstable aesthetic inertia, Jia Chang imagines all forms of playlet that praise indecency. This is true of her photos and videos showing standing women naked, urinating, as in Standing Up Peeing (2006): this is one way for the artist to question the boundaries distinguishing genders. Elsewhere she utilizes the urine itself in a series of works which sometimes take on a poetical dimension, as in Pee-Tree (2007) and Fixed Object (2007). P-Tree is a sculpture in metal with urine filled beads suspended from its branches, and the lighting illuminates to cast shadows that transform the gallery into a dream-like space. In the series titled, Fixed Object (2007), the artist fixates salt with urine-based stabilizer onto objects such as a mirror or leather straps.
In reviewing her entire oeuvre, Jia Chang has faithfully performed her role as an alchemist in each artwork. She had left her mark as one of the women artists in the Magiciens de la Terre exhibition curated by Jean-Hubert Martin in 1989, an art forum that foretold of a new artistic era. Making a strong impression on the viewer, Jia Chang’s artwork is materialization of her reaction against the pitfalls of our world with all its fallacies and violence. More specifically, according to the central figure of the Fluxus movement, Robert Filliou, all acts in life should be integrated with artistic duty, and therefore art is based on a collective power that seeks to bring about changes in life.
And therefore Jia Chang’s work deals with fundamental and essential problems, for which the body is one of the more important medium. If there is a strong temptation to detect a distinct feminist touch somewhere in her work, Jia Chang is no more nor less a feminist than a male artist is a de facto male chauvinist. The overarching predicament hinges on language and culture, and principles. It is a problem of conventions. All forms of barriers, and whatever they may be, the motivation behind her work is to implode the barriers between art and life—by whatever means necessary.
Artist's Education: Chugye University for the Arts. Seoul, Korea.Korean National University of the Art. Seoul, Korea. B.F.A., M.A.