Yang Fudong was born in 1971 in Beijing and now lives and works in Shanghai. Working primarily in photography and film, Yang’s works are filled with psychological and existential questions. Yang’s work has been shown at many international exhibitions including: Documenta XI, Germany, 2002; the Shanghai Biennale, China, 2002; the Carnegie International, United States, 2005; the Asia Pacific Triennial, Australia, 2006; and the Venice Biennale, 2007.

Eva Meyer is a writer and filmmaker based in Berlin. She is the author of various works of cinematic thinking including What Does the Veil Know? (ed. in collaboration with Vivian Liska, 2009), Frei und indirekt (2010), Zählen und Erzählen. Für eine Semiotik des Weiblichen (1983, reprint 2013). She has taught at various universities and art schools in Europe and the United States, and currently is a faculty member at the Zurich University of the Arts. Since 1997 she has collaborated with the filmmaker Eran Schaerf, focusing on documentary fiction.

Theatrical Fields introduces theatricality as a critical strategy in performance, film and video. This exhibition presents six video installations shown for the first time in Southeast Asia: Voice off by Judith Barry (USA), Suspiria by Stan Douglas (Canada), Lines in the Sand by Joan Jonas (USA), Vagabondia by Isaac Julien (UK), She Might Belong to You by Eva Meyer & Eran Schaerf (Germany / Israel), X Characters Re(hers)AL by Constanze Ruhm (Austria). Situated in juxtaposition, the works generate temporal spaces for experimental action, creating unfamiliar proximities and encounters.

Theatrical Fields was curated by Ute Meta Bauer (Founding Director) with Anca Rujoiu (Curator for Exhibitions), and was first presented and commissioned by the Bildmuseet, Umea in Sweden (2013).

As a collaboration, Bildmuseet Umea and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore will publish a catalogue including keynotes from the symposium and additional commissioned essays.

Theatrical Fields public programmes

Yang Fudong, a leading international figure of contemporary art and one the most important artists to emerge out of China in the 1990s, staged his first major solo exhibition in Southeast Asia at the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. The exhibition, Incidental Scripts, presented a selection of four works by Yang: An Estranged Paradise (1997-2002), The Fifth Night (II) Rehearsal (2010), On the Double Dragon Hills (2012) and About the Unknown Girl – Ma Sise (2013-2014). These works are emblematic of his multi-faceted approach towards the creation of visual imageries that complicates our understanding of reality / fiction, and our experience of space / time.

The exhibition was curated by Ute Meta Bauer (NTU CCA Singapore Founding Director) with Khim Ong (Independent Curator).

Yang Fudong: Incidental Scripts public programmes

NTU CCA Singapore’s first publication, this reader stages conversations between theatre and visual arts, theoretical discourse and artistic practice juxtaposing artists and theoreticians who share a communal interest in theatricality as a critical strategy to address questions of ideology, gender, power relations. The reader includes writings by Antonin Artaud, Mikhail Bakhtin, Ute Meta Bauer, Bertolt Brecht, Giuliana Bruno, Jacques Derrida, Regis Durand, Josette Féral, Jean-François Lyotard, Eva Meyer, Timothy Murray, Katharina Sykora, and Marina Warner, documentation of the exhibition Theatrical Fields, Bildmuseet, Umea (2013) and NTU CCA Singapore (2014) presenting the works of Judith Barry, Marcel Dzama, Stan Douglas, Marie-Louise Ekman, Eva Meyer and Eran Schaerf, Isaac Julien, Joan Jonas, Constanze Ruhm, and Ulrike Ottinger.

Theatrical Fields: Critical Strategies in Performance, Film, and Video
Published by König Books
© 2016
ISBN: 978-981-11-0362-9 · 978-9-81110-362-9

Purchase here.

Bertolt Brecht was a German poet and playwright. He lived in exile for much of his life—first in Scandinavia and later in the United States, only to return to Berlin and found his own theater company, the Berliner Ensemble. His plays, the best known of which include The Three-penny Opera (1928) and Mother Courage and Her Children (1941), are the foundations of epic theater. This concept radically departed from theater conventions of the time and pushed forward a political theater that embodies revolutionary aims and contributes to social change. His ideas of a self-conscious and actively engaged spectator—a form of theater that addresses the immediate political and cultural circumstances—had a wide influence upon theater and the arts at large.

Bildmuseet is a contemporary art museum in Umeå, northern Sweden.

Giuliana Bruno is a professor in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. She is internationally known for her research on the intersections of the visual arts, architecture, film, and media. Her seminal body of work Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film (2002) is an intellectual journey into cinematic spaces, providing new directions for visual studies. In her latest book, Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media (2014), she revisits the concept of materiality in the contemporary world. She has contributed to numerous monographs on contemporary artists, including Isaac Julien’s Riot (2014), The Imaginary Landscapes of Jesper Just (2013), Chantal Akerman’s Too Far, Too Close (2012), and Jane and Louise Wilson: A Free and Anonymous Monument (2004), among others. She was a contributing writer for NTU CCA Singapore publication Theatrical Fields: Critical Strategies in Performance, Film, and Video.

Jacques Derrida was a French semiotic theorist and philosopher. Celebrated as the founder of deconstructionist thought, Derrida examined and rejected traditional binary forms of analysis, asserting that duality is in fact always hierarchical. He wrote over forty books, which include his seminal Speech and Phenomena and Writing and Difference, both from 1967. Derrida applied his theory of deconstruction to works in the philosophy of art, while also demonstrating how artworks themselves could be deconstructive of historical discourses on art. His writings on visual arts include his explorations of representation in The Truth in Painting (1978) and later in Memoirs of the Blind: The Self-Portrait and Other Ruins (1993). Throughout his work, Derrida expressed strong interest in the radicality of Artaud’s theater, aligning the practice of deconstruction with Artaud’s projected new theater.

Jean-Francois Lyotard was a French philosopher. His influential book The Postmodern Condition (1979) would come to define postmodernism. He introduced the concept of “master narrative” as a critique of hegemonic forms of knowledge that attempt to construct and make sense of history. His writings span philosophy, politics, and aesthetics, all unified by a persistent view that reality consists of singular events that cannot be accurately represented. Lyotard made a substantial contribution in theatrical theory where he opposed the analytic rigidity of semiotics. Lyotard’s vision of a “theater of energies,” rather than of signs, was particularly relevant in the theoretical grounding of the concept of performance.