sue williams - Open Books China - 2013

Williams, Sue

OPEN BOOKS PLUS, Shangshung, China

Sue Williams received support to travel to Shangshung to undertake workshops and talks as part of her participation in the Open Books Plus exhibition at Shangshung Museum of Contemporary Art. She also worked with Xu Bing, a fellow previous winner of Artes Mundi prize.

Following the project, Sue reported:

"OPEN BOOKS is an exhibition based upon the Chinese folding books. Originated and curated by Mary Husted, a practicing artist living and working in Wales. The Sanshang Museum Of Contemporary Art in Hangzhou has invited OPEN BOOKS to be exhibited between September and December 2013 and it is to be an integral part of a programme which is looking at the tradition of folding and expanding artist books and is part of an annual programme 'Decanter Ink' to promote contemporary ideas about Chinese ink painting and culture. OPEN BOOKS will be exhibited alongside historical and contemporary artists in China. Exhibiting in China will assist in raising my profile as an artist on an international platform. The work I am exhibiting in OPEN BOOKS is an extension to the major multi – disciplinary project TULU GIRLS. It is pertinent that the book is been seen in China as I extended my research into issues highlighted under the umbrella title TULU GIRLS. To present my work through a series of talks and research workshops. The invitation to join OPEN BOOKS for the duration of the show has been extended to Xu Bing (the first Artes Mundi prize winner). Having been nominated for Artes Mundi 2006 I have been invited to do a presentation of my work at the Sangshang Museum Of Contemporary Art in Hangzhou. It was my intention to create a dialogue with Chinese artists and develop future projects between Wales and potential projects with Swansea Metropolitan University.

To establish dialogues with China’s artistic institutions, such as art galleries, museums and art academies.

To exhibit and talk on my work in Hangzhou and Hong Kong reaching a much wider audience, not only artists but a wider cross section of the Chinese community.

"When visiting Beijing in 2009 I witnessed a number of subtle differences in the way people related to each other and particularly of the dynamics and communication between men and women, compared to western culture. It is my wish to take this opportunity to return to China and research these differences in order to contribute to an integral part to my practice. There are certain influences in the current political and economic systems in china that impinge upon gender equality and relationships. There are also heavy restrictions on freedom of speech (internet, press) and reproductive rights causing increased social instability e.g. ratio of male to female. This will offer me a greater insight into the effects that another culture has upon relationship dynamics between gender and the sexualisation of the female. The desire to understand the issues of sexualisation amongst women and the communication between gender within western culture has been paramount in my practice for many years. To have a period of time in China will offer the valuable opportunity to develop this further.

I planned and organised a number of meetings with British people, all of whom I had not met before, to discuss their experiences in living in China. This was absolutely fascinating, the very reasons why they chose to work within a very different culture that glaringly offered conflicting opinions from western culture. They revealed personal information that will be used within my new work. It was agreed with them that all information will be kept confidential and they will not be named. The discussions covered issues of sexuality, sexual politics, prostitution and much more.

This trip has worked on the following levels:

Supports my own practice with research, lectures and workshops

Opens dialogue between myself and a gallery in Shanghai

Exhibition success with OPEN BOOKS

Plans for future exhibitions with OPEN BOOKS

Opens dialogues with Chinese artists

Links Wales with Hangzhou and Hong Kong

Opened up dialogue with China Academy of Art and UWTSD Swansea

This has been successful on many other levels as its timely influence on my new work.

Thank you for your support WAI."

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