Kate Downie works on the principle that no space is denied the right to be poetic. To the artist’s mind and medium, the physical experience of a city entails its own artistic language. Returning to Beijing for the second time this autumn, the acclaimed Royal Scottish Academy artist meets a city whose fabric spans a rupture between the teeming, irregular accumulation of human life and possessions in narrow hutongs and the overarching, regular forms of skyscrapers and apartment blocks erected beside vast roadways; in this city, there is no ‘middle scale’.
Curated by Iona Whittaker, this solo exhibition is the artist’s first in China. Two large-scale drawings with opposing content were created live on the walls of the gallery. You are invited to witness this pictorial drama as it unfolds: its realisation marks a first-hand artistic event with which the encounter is a unique experience for both artist and audience. A series of supporting works and a film of the artist’s recent performance drawing in the UK complete the exhibition, which signals also the first year anniversary of contemporary art institute Where Where Art Space in Caochangdi.
Over the past 20 years, Kate Downie has established herself as one of the UK’s leading artists, known equally for her drawing and printmaking as for her painting. Less well-known are her series of short performance Road Movies, initiated in Paris with ‘Child’s Play Traffic Jam’ (1989) followed by ‘Driven’ (Aberdeenshire 1999), ‘The Asphalt Sea’ (Norway 2007), and ‘Matchmaker’ in 2011. Her first major solo show was in 1982 in her native Aberdeen; since then her work has been exhibited throughout the world including in Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, France and the USA. Downie was President of the Society of Scottish Artists from 2004-2006, and was appointed a member of the Royal Scottish Academy in 2007. Her work is held in many public and private collections. Downie lives and works in Edinburgh.
Where Where Art Space is an English-Chinese bilingual research oriented contemporary art institute formed in 2010 to provide an alternative platform for the dissemination and critical study of contemporary art in China. Operated by Gordon Laurin and Jing Yuan Huang, Where Where Art Space is dedicated to fostering a greater level of international exchange between China and the international art community through the development of artist residencies, visual art presentations, symposiums, talks, and touring exhibitions, while supporting curatorial research, publishing, and performance projects by both Chinese and international artists and critics.
Courtesy of Kate Downie and Where Where Art Space.
For more information, please visit www.wherewhereproject.com.