Artforum on Comment il s’appelle

I recently exhibited at Lab47, a cool place hiding amongst the hutongs in Beijing. The exhibition is part of my ongoing project Art Labor at Large.

Artforum nicely summarized,

艺术家李爽在LAB47的个展“怎么称呼”包含了三件均为木质材料的作品,它们看上去分别是一对大骰子、一套木质餐具以及一双似乎按照人体比例制作的、造型生硬的白色翅膀,其中的几根“羽毛”甚至已经折断。这几件作品并非出自艺术家之手,而是由几位艺术工人在三个星期中利用业余时间完成。艺术家试图通过这些作品引领观者进入到“艺术究竟是什么”和“艺术工人究竟在做什么”等相关问题的反思中。李爽强调:自己并非“作者”——“作者”是一家名为Zmart的艺术搬运公司所属的六名艺术工人。他们全部来自安徽宣城,完全没有接受过艺术教育,甚至对于艺术怀有一种“深刻的矛盾心理”:“一方面这是他们的生计,另一方面他们对当代艺术的概念怀有一种抵触与质疑。他们时常抱怨:‘就这么一个简单的破铜烂铁,怎么就能有人花好几万来买?’”工人们的质疑成为了构建这个展览的起点。艺术家发起了一个“交易”:由她来帮助工人制作网站,工人则要为他们自己创作。当艺术家被问及“什么是作品”时,艺术家回答:什么都可以是作品。

Artist Shuang Li’s exhibition Comment Il S’appelle contains three works made of wood, which seem to be a pair of large dice, a set of dining tools and a pair of awkwardly-shaped white wings proportionate to a human being, a couple feathers of which are even broken. The works aren’t made by the artist, instead, they were made by a couple art handlers in their spare time within 3 weeks. The artist is trying to initiate contemplation on “what is art” and “what exactly is art labor”. Shuang Li emphasize that she’s the the maker, but an art handling company named Zmart, which consists of 6 art handlers. They are from Xuancheng, Anhui, who have not had art education beforehand. They are in a complicated relationship with art: on the one hand, this is their means of living, while on the other, they hold grudges and doubt towards it. They always complain, “why would somebody spend thousands on a crap like this?” which led to the conceiving of the exhibition. The artist initiated a “deal”, that she would help the artists making their company’s website, while the art handlers will make art works. When asked, “what do you want us to make?”, Li answered, “it can be anything.”

Read the whole thing on Artforum