He Xiangyu’s The Swim – Premiere Australian Screenings
25 May 2017 -
28 May 2017
Free screenings: May 25 – 28 2017.
96 min (excl. end credits) | Mandarin, Chinese regional dialect, Korean dialect with English subtitles
6.30PM Thursday May 25
6.30PM Friday May 26
6.30PM Saturday May 27
6.30PM Sunday May 28
While bookings for THE SWIM screenings are free, we recommend that you consider making a donation to 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art to support this, and other programs.
4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art is pleased to announce the Australian premiere of He Xiangyu’s latest film, The Swim.
The Swim is an art film with documentary characteristics. The artist returned to his hometown in Kuandian for three times – a poor county located by Yalu River on the China-North Korea border. Through interviewing and filming 6 veterans participating in the Korean War and 6 defectors fleeing from North Korean as well as their families, the film unveils the cruel reality hidden behind the beautiful scenery and presents the utopian fantasy projected on individuals.
This will be only the second international screening of this work (after an international premiere at the Guggenheim in February 2017).
He Xiangyu is a leading contemporary artist based between Beijing and Berlin who first garnered attention for his large-scale works, such as The Coca Cola Project and Tank Project. Xiangyu is represented by White Cube and his work is in the collections of:Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA; Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, Switzerland; Pinault Collection, France; White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia; Domus Collection, USA; Boros Collection, Berlin, Germany; Long Museum, Shanghai, China; Mercator Foundation, Essen, Germany; Artron Art Museum, Shenzhen, China; M WOODS Museum, Beijing, China; Sishang Museum, Beijing, China.
On the Tomb-sweeping Day in 2015, I went back to my hometown for ancestor worship. In China, it is a day when we mourn the deceased and wish them living a happy life in the other world. My hometown is a border town where I was born and grew up. I used to know well about the neighbours and the landscape. But after leaving for years, I found the landscape that seemed familiar and everlasting before had concealed certain strange reality now. The Utopia in my carefree childhood makes me feel complicated and ambiguous, which inspires me to rediscover the place and the people’s life there.
I spent more than half a year on field trips and collected a large amount of materials. The interviewees include a dozen North Korean defectors and over twenty veterans participating in the Korean War. Their narrations unveil the realistic face of my hometown. Following my childhood memory and local people’s narrations, I started my first filming in this April along the border between China and North Korea. Later, I went back twice. During the three filming trips, the experiences of the individual interviewees, their struggle in reality and their expectation for the future were so fascinating and touching. Although have gone through the geographical and spiritual departure and return, the land that used to be so familiar is still strange to me.
This is the second time 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art has presented He Xiangyu in Sydney. The Swim follows the 2012 exhibition of the Cola Project – where the artist worked with factory workers to boil thousands of litres of Cola, creating a black sludge which He used to create Song dynasty style ink paintings.
For more information about the Cola Project, click here.
Top image: The Swim (2017) (still) © He Xiangyu. Courtesy the artist and White Cube.