Paper Tiger Wooden Horse is an exhibition of artworks by a group of internationally based and emerging artists belonging to the UAL (University of the Arts London) alumni based in China, Korea, Hong Kong, and the UK, that seeks to explore language and communication, the cultural exchange of ideas, and the miscommunications that sometimes occur during translation, and the ways in which new or unintended meanings can be generated by the viewer’s emotional response to text or images where the original meaning has become confused or distorted. The title of our show, “Paper Tiger Wooden Horse” refers to the old Chinese idiom “Zhilouhu”, of which “Paper Tiger” is a literal English translation, meaning something that appears threatening, but which cannot stand up to any serious challenge, while “Wooden Horse”, which is a reference to the ancient Greek “Trojan Horse” - a large wooden horse that was left as gift to the city of Troy with whom the Greeks had been fighting a long and epic war, but which secretly held a number of soldiers inside. When the horse was brought inside the city gates the soldiers waited until night and then emerged from the horse and attacked the city from within, which resulted in the defeat of Troy and the destruction of the city (hence the well-known phrase ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”).
Bringing these two idioms with their opposite meanings together echoes the titles of Chinese Kung Fu movies and refers to the notion of globalisation and fears of cultural invasion. Is this exchange of cultural ideas a Paper Tiger or a Wooden Horse?
Curated by our current artist in residence, Julian McSweeney, who holds a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts in London, and supported by BananaJam Space, set up and run by Chelsea College/UAL alumni Zhou Yuan, and Lab-Box, an arts platform with hubs in Shenzhen, Beijing and Toyota, Japan, also set up by Zhou Yuan and Wu Bo, and others, who both studied for their Master’s Degrees at Chelsea College with Julian, and are members of the China UAL Alumni Association, this exhibition of contemporary art is intended to promote the exchange of ideas and visual culture between China, the UK and other places around the world, through the extensive and growing UAL alumni network, which we hope to foster and develop through such cultural exchanges.
Paper Tiger Wooden Horse will show works by AeLee Ko (Korea) Paul Abbott (UK), Bijan Daneshmand (Iran), Bo Wu (China), Chel Andre Logan (UK), Chang Yang (China), Gerard Carson (UK), George Myles (UK), Henry Gardiner (UK), Huanglu Shi (China), Ivy TC Chan (Hong Kong), Jinjoo Kim (Korea), Jonathan Slaughter (UK), Pengbo Yuan (China), Paul Abbot (UK), Winnie Chan (Hong Kong) and Yorda (China).
Paper Tiger Wooden Horse is being held at the BananaJam Space in Shenzhen, opening with a private view on the 11th December, and will run until Christmas Day, 25th December, 2016.