Exhibition // From Beijing to Berlin at Migrant Birds

Article by Nora Kovacs in Berlin // Tuesday, Jun. 09, 2015

This past fall, Migrant Birds began an ongoing collaboration and exchange between artistic hubs Beijing and Berlin. The program welcomes artists from both cities to engage with one another in studios, residencies, and opportunities to expand their artwork on an international scale. Migrant is a series of exhibitions that has been divided into three parts thus far and the third edition, Migrant III: transFORM, is up at Berlin’s Zhong Gallery until June 22nd.

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Wu Wei, Installation view at Zhong Gallery // Photo by Jianhua Lao, Courtesy of Migrant Birds

Migrant III: transFORM showcases the works of two very distinct artists, Wu Wei of Zhengzhou, China and Edith Kollath of Eutin, Germany. Following a successful debut in September with Migrant I, which featured artists Ting-Wei Li, Maria Munoz, Aspasia Krystalla, and Paco Velljo, and Migrant II: Between Abstraction and Empty Frames in April, which brought together artists Xiao Hua and Márk Zsáry-Tomka, the most recent exhibition at Zhong Gallery has continued to address questions of place, time, history, tradition, and politics, this time using the delicate and symbolic medium of paper.

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Installation view at Zhong Gallery // Photo by Jianhua Lao, Courtesy of Migrant Birds

Wu Wei’s paper sculptures are at once a critique of the commercial production of his medium and an ode to its traditional, cultural heritage. With an impeccable attention to detail, Wei has rendered an infestation of furry-looking sculptures that seem to grow from the walls. Like fuzzy, black fungi that seep through the crevices of the gallery, Wei’s pieces appear so natural that some may even go unnoticed. The artist employs methods of tapering, layering, and piling to create illusions, as well as to add a metaphorical element to his pieces- perhaps most evident in the layered paper skulls, which, more than simply being cool to look at, are undoubtedly reminiscent of the passage of time, life, and death. Intertwined with Kollath’s minimal, yet clearly calculated, paper installations, there is an undeniable rhythm to Migrants III that is truly captivating.

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Edith Kollath, Installation view at Zhong Gallery // Photo by Jianhua Lao, Courtesy of Migrant Birds

Kollath’s structures are simple by design, but her use of motion, reflection, and repetition is what gives them a more complex meaning. A crumpled piece of paper placed upon on a reflective surface, books that have been turned inside out to form a field of cylindrical shapes, and sheets of paper blowing up and down on a slow and meditative loop; Kollath’s pieces are as inexplicably mesmerizing as the time cycles they represent. They not only complement Wu Wei’s sculptures throughout the exhibition, but are in a constant conversation with them- a dialectic relationship that is difficult to achieve in any two-person or group show.

Delicate, fragile, precise, and politically relevant, Migrant III:transFORM has united two artists and two cultures in clear, understated, and genuinely beautiful way. The exhibition demands the viewer’s attention through its tasteful subtlety-a trait which is hard to come by in the art world these days- and keeps us on our toes for what Migrant Birds and Zhong Gallery have in store for the future.
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Additional Information

ZHONG GALLERY
“Migrant III: transFORM” – WU WEI & EDITH KOLLATH
Exhibition: May 22 – Jun. 22, 2015
Koppenplatz 5 (click here for map)
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