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All images by the ICZ

 

 

 

 

news

Effect, Orange County Art Museum

24th September 2019

 

robert zhao the fruits of creation

The Fruits of Creation; Japanese Beetles, Varroa Mites, Apple Maggots, Pecan Weevil, White Pine Weevil, 2019

450 insect traps from America

Dimensions Variable

 

photographs for insectsPhotographs for Insects, 2019

100 Archival Digital Print coated with insect pheromones, 21cm x 30cm each

1 Archival Digital Print, 111cm x 74cm

 

Up to 200 pheromones are available for farmers to lure, trap and detect pests that might potentially destroy their crops. In these 100 yellow panels, 100 different insect pheromones have been applied to the surface of the photographs. Insect traps are yellow because insects are drawn to this citrusy colour. It is believed yellow is a fly's favourite colour.


 

 

Robert Zhao Renhui’s debut museum exhibition in the United States features two bodies of work that highlight the ubiquitous presence of flies and butterflies in our environment. Inspired by scientific methods of categorizing fly types, Zhao Renhui appropriates scientific tools to explore the boundaries, systems, and methods humans use to control fly populations, stemming from a dismissive attitude that belies their necessity. While the fly is seen as a nuisance, the Monarch Butterfly, on the other hand, is seen as a beautiful creature; it is a symbol of transformation.

 

In Effects, suspended fly traps and lures reflect Zhao Renhui’s fascination with the countless devices and methodologies invented by humans to exterminate insects. His investigation of fly extermination methods continues with one hundred different fly pheromones applied to photographic panels in a warm yellow hue that references the color of commercially produced flytraps. In He Counts The Stars And Calls Them All By Name, a large photographic lexicon documenting 4,784 specimens from a single family of flies (the Hover fly), Zhao Renhui draws the viewer’s attention to their ubiquitous presence in our ecosystem despite their near invisibility in human consciousness.

 

Zhao Renhui’s work exposes the overlooked contradictions, assumptions, and tensions inherent in our relationship with nature. Rendering the unseen visible, and the ignored critical, this multidisciplinary exhibition amplifies the intersections of insect and human, and natural and urbanized environments.

 

Effect, Curated by John Silvis

Orange County Art Museum, LA, USA

21/9/19 - 15/3/20


 

 

For more information on the series of work, click here.

For more information on the the exhibition, click here.

 

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World at Intersect -Technology, Belief, and the Environment, Fotofest Houston

11th September 2019


 

This exhibition features work by artists who explore the relationships between technology, faith, and biological life and the contradictions that arise when these subjects come into close contact through mass-media, in social and political life, and in cultural philosophy. The featured artists are Chow and Lin, Lau Wai, Robert Zhao Renhui, Giljung Yoon, and Hanjong Yoon.

Thematically, the artists of INTERSECT explore the overlapping subjects of technology, belief, and the environment. Invoked directly and indirectly, through photography, video, and installation, the artists examine issues surrounding value in nature, science, religion, the built environment, and constructed identity.

Programs in conjunction with the exhibition in Houston include public artist talks, lectures, and workshops,  as well as visits to area classrooms to conduct student workshops with the FotoFest learning program.

 

Exhibition organized by Steven Evans.

 

Part of Fotofest Festival, Houston

SEPTEMBER 11 - NOVEMBER 9, 2019

SILVER STREET STUDIOS


 

For more information on the the exhibition, click here.

 

 

The Time Tree (Trying to Remember a Tree IV)

12th September 2019

 

The Time Tree

The Time Tree, Installation view at Fort Canning Park, 2019

The Time TreeInstallation view at night, The Time Tree, 2019

 

 

 

 

Modelled after the dimensions of the Changi Tree - what is believed to be Singapore's tallest recorded tree, The Time Tree imagines what a tree older than 200 years might look like. 

Reflecting on Singapore's pre-modern history and the plurality of narratives, it draws attention to a longer, more meditative concept of history - one that is measured in the life of botany as opposed to human markers such as founding dates. The form of a stump is deliberate, embodying power, vulnerabilty, regeneration, and infinite possibilities. 

At night, the tree is illuminated with light emanating through the gaps and cracks, adding to a sense of mystery and unknowability. The Time Tree is one of the largest public artworks in Singapore created using 3D printing technology. 

The Time Tree is currently on view at Fort Canning Park until October 2019, after which it will travel to Jurong Lake Gardens from November to December 2019, then to Raffles Place Park in January 2020. 

The work is a commission by the National Arts Council's Public Art Trust in commemoration of the Singapore Bicentennial in 2019.

 

 

For more information on the series of work, click here.

For more information on the National Arts Council's Public Art Trust, click here.

New Forest

6th September 2019

New Forest, Robert Zhao

 

Frog

Spotted Tree Frog Survey, Taipei, 2019

 

Installation View, Mind Set Art Centre. Image courtesy of MSAC, Taipei.

 

 

7th Sept 2019 - 12th October 2019

 

Mind Set Art Centre

Mind Set Art Center
7F, No.180, Sec. 1, Heping E. Rd., Da'an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan
Gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday (Closed on Sunday & Monday) 11:00-18:00
T +886-2-23656008?F +886-2-23656028
info@art-msac.com

 

 

Since the 1950s, global changes such as deforestation and urbanisation have affected animals and plants in different ways. Sometimes they suffer through human development, and sometimes humans produce situations that allow novel organisms to thrive. Due to a dramatic increase in travel and trade, animals and plants have also crossed into new territories, creating new ecological categories of ‘invasive’ and ‘native’ species. Most conservation efforts are aimed at destroying the former and protecting the latter, though increasingly, more ecologists are conceding that these categories are fluid and unstable. New Forest exposes a variety of collisions; between nature and the city, invasives and natives. Sometimes these result in violent encounters: competition, predation and extinctions. Other times these interactions result in a new, precarious balance, and a destabilising of categories of foreign and local, noxious and useful.

 

The images in this show are drawn from Singapore and Taiwan. In Singapore, the artist has spent the last year documenting a small secondary forest where migrant humans and animals have created a new wilderness. Using infrared cameras placed around an abandoned base camp, he captured vagabond species that have come to drink from pails, creating strange, otherworldly tableaux. The images from Taipei are underscored by violence. They come from various “extermination drives” the artist took part in, including a frog survey in Taipei where he captured the invasive Spotted Tree Frog with volunteers. Other pictures explore narratives about failed or futile eradication efforts, such as a jar of Brown Anoles in a Taipei research institute. In Chiayi, the government paid villagers to capture these invasive creatures, but their population has not been significantly reduced.

 

 

For more information on the series of work, click here.

For more information on the exhibition, click here.

 

The Lines We Draw - Yalu River Art Museum

31st August 2019

 

Installation view of The Lines We Draw, 2019

 

Memorial to Great Knots (China, Alaska, New Zealand)

750cm x 250cm x 10cm

Lightbox

2019

 

31st August 2019 - 31st December 2020

 

 

Yalu River Art Museum

No.11 Moon Island Street,

Dandong, China

Liaoning Province

 

 

This solo exhibition for Robert Zhao Renhui at the Yalu River Art Museum explores the relationship between man and nature through his usual scientific method. He uses an artist’s sensitivity, the methods of photography and computer editing, and the temporal and spatial visions of bird migrations in the project, which he presents with large images. For the artist and the exhibition, piercing through the dusty skies to discover the limitless dynamism of their migration is not a simple survey or objective record of bird species in nature; it is a visual presentation that conveys warnings and foreknowledge of ecological destruction using the methods of reconstruction and displacement. Thus, the show reflects the multi-faceted reactions that we and Zhao have to everything about the present and future, but it also shows his anxiety about the natural environment and human ecological crisis, and it suggests a kind of vigilant tension. Perhaps deeper social issues are concealed behind these images, which means that the Yalu River Art Museum can show Zhao’s composed insight and expression, revealing to the viewer humanity’s existential crisis on psychological and conscious levels... - Curator Feng Boyi

 

Background Information on Dan Dong Wetlands

The wetlands in Yalu River, Dan Dong is an important bird migratory site for the godwit and great knot. These birds migrate between New Zealand, China, North Korea and Alaska every year. The migratory flight of the godwit is the longest nonstop migration of any bird in the world. The stop in China and North Korea is an important refueling stop for these birds. As more wetlands and coasts in South Korea and China become concretised, the wetlands in Yalu River remains one of the last sanctuaries for these birds in the world. 


 

 

For more information on the series of work, click here.

For more information on the exhibition, click here. (Mandarin Only)

Yalu River Art Museum is an art museum that is situated between the border of North Korea and China (Dan Dong).

More information on the Museum, click here.

Pulau Pejantan, - An Opera for Animals, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai

24th June 2019

 

Installation view of An Opera for Animals, 2019, Rockbund Art Museum. Courtesy of Rockbund Art Museum

 

 

Jun 22 – Aug 25

 

Rockbund Art Museum

20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District

Shanghai, China

 

We are pleased to present An Opera for Animals at the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM). Taking over all five floors of this historical building in the heart of Shanghai, the Opera will join a series of groundbreaking exhibitions that RAM has been staging since its inception in 2010. Together with their critical educational programme, these have shaped RAM into one of the most respected contemporary art museums in East Asia. “Opera” has been used as the name to describe various traditions of performance, social arrangement, entertainment, and spiritual work from around the world. Many of these are ancient and radically different from each other but are nevertheless classified as regional variants of the (relatively young) Western model. But more than being yet another example of lingering colonial taxonomy, this brings into discussion the status of opera as the highest art form, reflecting the European colonial project. There is an almost perfect chronological overlap between the golden age of Western opera and Europe’s occupation of most of the world, at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. There are, as well, the obvious cases of operas built on exotic desire like Turandot and Madama Butterfly or the case of Aida, commissioned for the inauguration of the Suez Canal. But there is more to this than just chronological coincidence...

 

 

 

 

For more information on the exhibition, click here.

 

Christmas Island, Naturally, - An Opera for Animals, Para Site, Hongkong

25th March 2019

 

Installation View, Christmas Island, Naturally at Para Site, Hongkong. Image courtesy of Para Site Hongkong

An Opera for Animals
March 23–June 9, 2019

Opening reception: March 22, 7–9pm

Para Site
677 King’s Road
G/F & 22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building
Hong Kong

Curated by Cosmin Costinas and Claire Shea

Kenojuak AshevakShuvinai AshoonaFirelei BaezJulie BuffaloheadLee Bul, Chen QiulinAli CherriClara CheungNarcisa ChindoyLok ChitrakarChto DelatCui JieJuan DavilaTicio EscobarJes FanSofia FerrerFifita FamilyChitra GaneshBeatriz GonzálezHo Tzu NyenVivian HoSaodat IsmailovaIlya and Emilia KabakovAlexander KlugeLawrence LekCandice LinEuan MacdonaldDavid MedallaBarayuwa Munu?gurrCiprian Mure?anAdam NankervisKelly NipperGabriel PareyonGary Ross PastranaTim PitsiulakGala Porras KimChristoph SchlingensiefSimon SoonAngela SuTao HuiWang WeiMing WongHaegue YangYang ShenYee I-LannSamson YoungRobert Zhao Renhui

"Opera" has been used as the name to describe various traditions of performance, social arrangement, entertainment, and spiritual work from around the world. Many of these are ancient and radically different from each other but are nevertheless classified as regional variants of the (relatively young) Western model. But more than being yet another example of lingering colonial taxonomy, this brings into discussion the status of opera as the highest art form, reflecting the European colonial project. There is an almost perfect chronological overlap between the golden age of Western opera and Europe’s occupation of most of the world, at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th. There are, as well, the obvious cases of operas built on exotic desire like Turandot and Madama Butterfly or the case of Aida, commissioned for the inauguration of the Suez Canal. But there is more to this than just chronological coincidence.

The scale of ambition needed to imagine the absolute art form that opera was, aiming to organise every aspect and implication of the viewer’s experience, is intimately connected to that moment of absolute hubris when Europe imagined that it could dominate and reorganise the entire world. But European opera was not only a form of bourgeois entertainment, even one that was celebrating the glory of imperial conquest. These total spectacles, held in some of the grandest buildings erected in this time period—in the symbolic urban position previously occupied by cathedrals—with society neatly organised by class facing the elaborate scene on the stage, were in many ways quasi-religious experiences, where European glory was not just a subject of the performance but a collectively lived ecstatic apotheosis.

This was happening as Europe was priding itself on its modern rationality, seeing itself in opposition to the "animist" world of the peoples it was occupying at the same time. The modern view, deeply connected to the colonial project, also changed the physical, emotional, and symbolic relationship between humans and animals, elevating the status of humans, in a view radically different from many indigenous systems of knowledge and value. But European opera contained the clues exposing this charade, for it was far from its official claim of a secular spectacle, amusing a modern society. The phantoms, monsters, and sacred animals of European Empires have always haunted these opera houses, where they were sacrificed, channeled, and embodied within the great shrines of modernity.

An Opera for Animals is nevertheless interested in how these complexities are still alive, even after the demise of the colonial era and of Western opera as a fully living art form. As a parallel discussion, it includes less discussed connections between European classical music and other music systems. More extensively, the exhibition looks at different acts of staging that have been crucial to our imagination of modernity. The conflicts of staging, controlling, hiding, and repressing that occur within the operatic space are at the very core of our contemporary reality, defined by constructed and "alternative" truths, digital parallel worlds, self-staging of personal identities, and the increasingly palpable promise of a new technological turn in the field of intelligence. As such, the exhibition understands opera and related issues such as "staging" and "operatic environment" broadly, as terms describing the synthetic landscapes imagined and generated in our world today. Equally, the animal spirit connects the still very present ancient beliefs with a highly futuristic fear of new forms of irrationality and intelligence colonising our future. The world of technology continues to draw influence from the unique characteristics of certain animal species, enforcing this connection.

This exhibition explores the way in which the future is now projected less as the rational thinking commonly remembered from the post-war era - advanced machinery, design, and social forms - but once more as a place of amorphous fear, of animals that might take over in artificial landscapes. The future it seems, will again be an opera for animals.

An Opera for Animals at Para Site, Hong Kong (March 23-June 9, 2019) is a prelude to a partnership with Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai. Between June 22-August 25, 2019 at Rockbund Art Museum, and September-December 2020 at Para Site, the two institutions will develop and present together two related exhibitions.

Para Site Art Space is financially supported by the Art Development Matching Grants Scheme of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, - Quasi-Nature — Bio Art, Borderline and Laboratory

24th March 2019

 

Installation view of “Quasi-Nature: Bio Art, Borderline and Laboratory” at Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing, 2019. All images copyright the artists; courtesy Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing.

 

 

Curator: Jo Wei

22.03.19 - 16.06.19

Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing is pleased to announce the opening of Hyundai Blue Prize 2018 Award Exhibition “Quasi Nature—Bio Art, Borderline and Laboratory”, which will be presented from March 22 to June 16 at Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing at 798 Art Zone. In 2018, Jo Wei received the 2nd Hyundai Blue Prize for Creativity owing to her curatorial proposal of this exhibition. Revolving around the theme of the Prize "Future Humanity", the exhibition will present a thought-provoking and profound international topic to the audience. The exhibition coincides with the vision of Hyundai Motor Company and attempts to address such profound concepts as the biology and the earth, society and the environment, existence and extinction from a global perspective in simple language. Meanwhile, it also predicts infinite combinations of art and technology in the future.

 

The notion Quasi-Object aims to break the dualism of subject and object, society and nature, etc. The movement bio art that combing art, culture and biology fits this concept, and explores the Hybridization of life, species and nature. The exhibition is thus systemically divided into three parts. Through bioethics, technological boundaries, self-awareness, etc., the first part explores the current rapid development of technology especially biotechnology, and its influence on the concept of "human" and social structure. The second part adopts a non-anthropocentric perspective to explore how human beings should get along with the earth and other species. While the third part is more about a new type of art production—the lab as the generator of surprises. Is there such a way of working that does not happen in the artist studio, nor in the public space, but in an environment completely unfamiliar to the artist? The survey on the International labs with art residency might indicate the possibility of the new paradigm shift in Chinese art scene.

 

 

 

 

For more information on the exhibition, click here.

Exhibition review on Art Asia Pacific, click here.

 

Trying to Remember a Tree III, The World Will Surely Collapse

31st Dec 2018

trying to remember a tree iiiInstallation view, Gillman Barracks.

 

Trying to Remember A Tree (iii) – The World Will Surely Collapse-

Close on Jan. 1, 2019 for New Year

Special outdoor installation project in conjunction with Art After Dark

Date: 09.21, 2018 - 06.23, 2019

 

Singapore, September 2018 – ShanghART Singapore is pleased to show Trying to Remember a Tree (iii) – The world will surely collapse, a special outdoor light box installation by Singaporean artist Robert Zhao Renhui, presented in conjunction with Gillman Barracks’ 6th Anniversary x Art After Dark. The work is a series of 14 near life-size photographs, featuring a very old and large tree that collapsed near the artist’s home. In Singapore, trees are cut in sections to make their removal easier. The physical cuts by which the tree is sectioned echo but do not exactly correspond to how Zhao has edited and sequenced the images, suggesting that there might be different ways of “managing” nature, whether via park authorities or art. Placed in a natural environment with the forest serving as its backdrop, the lush greenery of Gillman Barrack’s forest and the bleakness of the monochrome artwork form a stark contrast, provoking viewers to reflect on the state of the natural environment in the present day.

 

This work was first presented at JIWA: Jakarta Biennale (2017), supported by the National Arts Council of Singapore and ShanghART Gallery. 

 

For more information on the installation at Gillman Barracks and ShanghART, click here.

For more information on the work, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Worlds Collide, Post-Nature -- A Museum as an Ecosystem

19th Dec 2018

When Worlds Collide, 2018, Taipei Biennale.

 

This installation presents research on animal and insect specimens from different countries alongside historical and contemporary narratives of human invasion, and considers the position of humans as foreign species.

 

For this work, Zhao began his research in Taiwan, investigating a series of species removal plans: first, the artist discovered a local reward scheme for capturing invasive lizard species, which led in 2015 to over 220,000 lizards being caught in Chiayi, south Taiwan, alone. On the west coast of Taiwan, meanwhile, the African sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) has recently arrived and is forcing out native birds, so experts are designing a nest removal plan. Finally, volunteers at Taipei Zoo are capturing Spot-legged Tree Frogs (Polypedates megacephalus) twice a week at night, and feeding them to zoo animals. These controls are entirely due to the belief that imported plants and animals threaten the species that we consider native, however the movement of species, and their categorisation, is largely a human consequence.

 

In addition to exploring the migration of species, Zhao’s work investigates the number of wild birds injured or killed on a weekly basis due to human action in both Taipei and Greece. Through studying x-rays from research institutions in Greece, and specimens collected by the Biodiversity Research Museum in Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, the artist has looked into the specific causes for these deaths and injuries, which include shooting, previous veterinary surgeries, and collisions with buildings or cars. Presented alongside this evidence is material on pests collated by the late German insect expert, Herbert Weidner. Viewing Weidner’s research in the context of urban ecology, which defines pests as existing in a state of unease due to the endangerment of their ecosystem, Zhao invites a rethinking of the commonly assumed hierarchies between humans and their fellow non-human beings.  

 

For more information, click here.

 

Post-Nature—A Museum as an Ecosystem takes its title as a starting point to examine the ever-changing and osmotic nature of an ecosystem, and to explore how this can be reflected in artistic and institutional practice. Through this perspective, the biennial seeks to address the urgent environmental conversations of the 21st century—spurred by a recognition that, with resources in short supply and climactic change fast developing, such debate may not be possible at a later stage. This year’s co-curators, Francesco Manacorda and Mali Wu, assert that these ecological issues must be more intensively and publicly considered in the immediate present. To open this conversation to diverse local and international audiences, Post-Nature—A Museum as an Ecosystem takes on an interdisciplinary and participatory form. Here, the biennial acts as fresh attempt to develop ecological consciousness as a consistent and common way of thinking, rather than simply addressing ecological issues inside a museum. 

 

Dates: 2018/11/17 - 2019/03/10

Venue: Taipei Fine Arts Museum

 

 

 

 

Spotted Tree Frogs (Polypedates megacephalus) collected in a single nighby the artist and volunteers

 

hybrid taiwan blue magpieA hybrid of the Chinese Blue Magpie (Urocissa erythroryncha) and Taiwan Blue Magpie (Urocissa caerulea)

 

 

My Forest Is Not Your Garden, Asia Pacific Triennial, 2018

18th Dec 2018

My Forest is not your Garden, Installation View, QAGOMA, APT9.

 

"Among other APT9 artists whose work is inspired by the natural world, several share the common theme of humanity as an integral part of the Earth’s ecosystem, including Singapore’s Donna Ong and Robert Zhao Renhui, Malaysian collective Pangrok Sulap, and Martha Atienza and Nona Garcia, who both work in the Philippines.

The collaborative installation by Ong and Zhao, My forest is not your garden 2015–18, offers the wonder of a museum diorama in the Queensland Art Gallery Watermall. Ong’s evocative arrangements of artificial flora and tropical exotica blend with Zhao’s archival-style display of a collection of authentic and fabricated objects that purportedly relate to Singapore’s natural history.9 Ong takes a critical perspective on how representations of the tropics in science, botany, art, illustration and gardens have influenced human relations with nature. Zhao performs his speculative scientific investigations of relations between humans and animals through the creative framework of the ‘Institute of Critical Zoologists’, playing with forms of knowledge such as the zoological gaze and natural history research projects.10 These artists encourage us to understand that the lens through which we see the natural world has simultaneously reshaped it."

 

For more information, click here.

 

24 NOV 2018 – 28 APR 2019 

QAGOMA | FREE

The hugely ambitious APT series returns to QAGOMA this summer, bringing significant art from across the Asia Pacific to Brisbane. Overflowing with colour and life, this free contemporary art exhibition presents a unique mix of creativity and cross-cultural insight.

Discover more than 400 artworks by over 80 individuals, collectives and groups that capture the energy of new art being created in Asia, the Pacific and Australia.

Alongside the exhibition are 3 thought-provoking film programs, 8 hands on activities for kids and 5 months of ongoing programs and special events, including daily guided tours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna, Published by Steidl

17th Dec 2018

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Published by Steidl.

Image credit, Steidl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna @ Civilization The Way We Live Now, Book and Exhibition.

17th Dec 2018

Curated by William EwingBartomeu Marí and Holly Roussell Perret-Gentil.

 

Civilization: The Way We Live Now is a major exhibition, featuring the work of 100 of the world’s finest photographers. It addresses and illuminates major aspects of our increasingly global 21st century civilization. It stresses the fact that contemporary civilization is an extremely complex collective enterprise. Never before in human history have so many people been so interconnected, and so dependent on one another. In science and art, at work and play, we increasingly live the collective life. The Olympic Games, the giant Airbus, CERN, MRI, the Trident Submarine, Wikipedia, the Academy Awards, the International Space Station, Viagra, the laptop computer and the smartphone... However we feel about any of them, none of these complex phenomena would have been possible without superlatively coordinated efforts involving highly educated, highly trained, highly motivated, highly connected people.

Though photography has always embraced investigations of the self, looking inward to existential questioning and individual poetics (what curator John Szarkowski called “mirrors”), it can also be said that many of the world’s greatest photographers deal with the real world (Szarkowski’s “windows”). Their work may revolve around the functional aspects of society and culture (home life, pleasure and leisure, travel, religion, the workplace, production and consumption); or revolve around its dysfunctional aspects (alienation, crime, pollution, social breakdown and war). Andreas Gursky’s supermakets and rock concerts, Edward Burtynsky’s oil fields, Raimond Wouda’s high school, Reiner Riedler’s families at leisure, Lauren Greenfield’s ostentatious displays of wealth – these are only a few of the many subjects covered by the exhibition. Obviously each category will feature the work of several artists. Whatever their particular focus, the photographers have chosen to depict, reveal, examine, critique and otherwise reflect upon our hyper- modern, technologically complex human ‘hive’, to adopt Tom Wolfe’s apt metaphor.

Taken as a whole, this exhibition takes stock of our civilization’s material and spiritual culture, ranging from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and from civilization’s great collective achievements and its ruinous collective failings, expressing thoughts and feelings in the richly nuanced language of photography. And though it features photography of the real world, it embraces different ways of dealing with it, from the ‘straight’ document to the mise en scene.

It must be stressed that this is decidedly not a didactic exhibition; images, not words, tell the story of civilization – i.e., the photographs do not illustrate a thesis – they are the thesis.

Civilization: The Way We Live Now focuses on shared human experience. We may have never been on a Dreamliner or attended the Academy Awards or met Paris Hilton, but we know all about them, whether we want to or not. Most of us have never come face with an Al Qaeda operative either, but we all have to take off our shoes at security. In his book Civilization (2011), the historian Niall Ferguson notes: “These days most people around the world dress in much the same way: the same jeans, the same sneakers, the same T-shirts... It is one of the greatest paradoxes of modern history that a system designed to offer infinite choice to the individual has ended up homogenizing humanity.” This strange paradox is at the heart of Civilization: The Way We Live Now.

 

Venue list

 

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

October 18 2018-February 17 2019

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

March 9, 2019-May 26, 2019

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

September 20, 2019-February 2, 2020

Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM), Marseille, France

January 16, 2021-April 16, 2021

 

 

For more information, click here.

To purchase the book, click here.

 

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists, 2nd Yinchuan Biennale, Starting from the desert - ecologies on the edge

21st June 2018

 

 

Installation view of 4 works at Yinchuan Biennale, 2018.

Image Credit, Yinchuan Biennale.

 

2nd Yinchuan Biennale, Starting from the desert-ecologies on the edge.

9 June - 19 September 2018

MOCA Yinchuan, China

Chief Curator: Marco Scotini

Curatorial team: Andris Brinkmanis, Paolo Caffoni, Zasha Colah, Lu Xinghua

 

Conceived with the aim of measuring itself against a specific geo-historic context, and proposed as a form of minor language within the biennale system, Starting from the Desert seeks to respond to contemporary urgencies (not only in China) by adopting an 'archaeological method'. Northwest China is still considered a remote corner, but one which, owing to the historic Silk Road, has been defined through time as a place of great flows, hybridizations and exchange of people, knowledge, languages, technologies, religions, animals, spices and goods.

In relation to the possibility of reducing the Eurasian continent to simple geo-economics, which could well be implied in current large-scale projects, the Second Yinchuan Biennale seeks to read the modalities of 'group-being' at the crossroad of heterogeneous components, as indispensable to a new ecology that intends to emancipate all forms of life. In the search for eco-logics as a new paradigm of transversal thought, the Second Yinchuan Biennale attempts not to reduce these elements to the subject matter, but to utilize them in order to question the limits of the exhibition format, and thus to eventually produce a new eco-model of exhibiting.

 

 

From the catalogue -

"The Institute of Critical Zoologists Founded by Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1982, Singapore), The Institute ofCritical Zoologists pursues interdisciplinary research into the realms ofanimal studies, environmental politics, and aesthetics. Persistentlytwisting reality and 'ction, Zhao’s artistic practice addresses instances ofecological collapse, adaptation, and resilience focusing on the relationshipbetween humans and nature. He appropriates codes and conventions ofdocumentary photography and museum display to compose narrativesthat challenge conventional criteria of objectivity and scienti'c modes ofclassi'cations. In recent years, his work has developed into immersiveinstallations, such us The Bizarre Honour and The Nature Museum (both2017), that merge historical documentation and 'ctional storytellingundermining the very notion of truth.

 

The four works presented at the Yinchuan Biennale are selected from twodiscrete long-term research projects. Looking for Nature (2017) and Allthe Insects in a House (2017) are part of The Nature Museum, an eclecticcollection of artefacts, images, historical documents, natural specimens,and instruments for the study of nature that cast a critical gaze on thepredicament of our multi-species world. The other two works—3rdChristmas Island Conservation Plan (2016) and Memorial to the Last Caton Christmas Island (2016)—stem from Christmas Island, Naturally, theInstitute’s investigation of the escalating chain of events brought about bythe human presence on Christmas Island. As a result of the accidentalintroduction of invasive species, radical biocontrol measures, including theeradication of feral and stray cats, are being undertaken in an e5ort torestore the environment to a pre-disturbance state." [Anna Lovecchio]

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

Christmas Island, Naturally at Lod Fotofestiwal, Human Nature

20th June 2018

 

 

The Third Christmas Island Conservation Plan, Lodz Fotofestiwal

 

 

June 21st - July 1st

ART_INKUBATOR

Exhibitions, Festival office, BookOff Bookstore 21.06: 19.00-22.00; 22-1.07: 11.00-20.00 

Playroom 22.06-1.07: 9.00-20.00 

Format Cafe-club 21.06: 18.00-last customer; 22.06-1.07: 9.00-20.00 

“Human Nature” is the title of the solo and joint exhibition programme that builds a narrative about the human relation with nature. The art projects of Mathieu Asselin, Claudius Schulze, Mandy Barker and Anouk Kruithof emphasize people’s devastating impact on the environment. Meanwhile, Dornith Doherty, Robert Zhao Renhui, Alberto Giuliani, Lena Dobrowolska & Teo Ormond-Skeaping document the initiatives aimed at counteracting the dynamic paradigm shift in the environment and its consequences, which are virtually impossible to predict. Those artists are neither the dreamers nor fatalists despite the fact that their projects propose certain solutions to the burning ecological issues which could be implemented in the foreseeable future. Instead, they choose to question the role, scope and purpose of the man-made system of environmental protection, which, among other things, seems contingent upon people’s willingness to cease treating nature instrumentally. The statement is perfectly illustrated by the works of art by Karolina Grzywnowicz, Joanna Rajkowska and Anna Zagrodzka presented on the exhibit entitled Inter-species Conservation curated by Aleksandra Jach that embraces the idea of nature as our equal partner. In this case, the eponymous conservation, viewed in terms of process, correlation and change, refers not only to landscape, but also man-made objects.

 

A majority of artists based their projects on an extensive research, consulted scientific journals, articles and archives, collaborated with experts in various fields, as well as participated in the science expeditions. They’re all actively engaged in disseminating their findings concerning the plight of the Anthropocene.

 

CURATORS: Marta Szyma?ska, Franek Ammer, Agata Zubrzycka, Justyna Kociszewska and Krzysztof Candrowicz.

 

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

For more information about the project, click here.

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists 'All the documents' at PhotoESPANA

1st June 2018

 

 

Installation View at PhotoEspana.

 

 

Great World Final

 

06.06.2018 — 07.29.2018 Cristina de Middel

Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Fernán Gómez.

Centro Cultural de la Villa y PHotoESPAÑA National Arts Council Singapore

Fernán Gómez. Centro Cultural de la Villa — Plaza de Colón, 4 28001 Madrid  — 

Mar-dom 10.00 - 21.00 h

Gratuita

METRO: Colón | Serrano. BICIMAD: Estación 10

 

 

Hicham Benohoud, Miguel Calderón, Ana Hell, Jason Fulford, Robert Zhao Renhui, Prue Stent & Honey Long.

 

A game is a voluntary act of rebellion against laws of nature and of customs. It is about creatively taking control of all the impositions that we are required to live by in this world with so few dimensions and so many obligations.

As years go by, games become more serious, they lose their liberating quality and transform into competition and strategy. That is if they don´t disappear entirely.

This exhibition adopts the structure of an adult game in which the objective is always to be «the best», the champion, in a face-off between territories adhering to the ancient practices inherited from the Pleistocene.

Here, six representatives from six continents demonstrate their skill in the art of not taking these laws of nature and conventions too seriously, showing how games are able to place all things visible where they belong: on the edge of the precipice.

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nature Museum, Fast Forward Festival (Athens, Greece)

1st May 2018

 

Katerina Zavakou. Image courtesy of the Artist.

 

Installation View, The Nature Museum, Athens

 

Installation View, The Nature Museum, Athens

 

2-16 MAY 2018

Mon-Fri: 16:00-21:00

Sat-Sun: 10:00-11:00 & 14:00-18:00

Guided Tours: 5, 6, 12, 13 & 16 May

(See below the programme of the tours)

 

Address: 15, Derigny St

 

Guided tours will take place on the following days and hours: Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May: 11:30 and 18:30 (in English) 12:45 and 19:45 (in Greek) Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 May: 11:30 and 18:30 (in English) 12:45 and 19:45 (in Greek) Wednesday 16 May: 20:00 (in Greek)

Guided tours in English with Robert Zhao Renhui and writer & dramaturg Joel Tan Guided tours in Greek with visual artist Katerina Zavakou

Duration: 45 minutes 

 

The Nature Museum is a fascinating exploration of the Athenian natural history. Α bewildering universe of photographs, natural specimens, taxidermy, and documents in an old house in the centre of the city. Stories of Athens's missing rivers, the invasive Tree of Heaven, the nesting habits of monk parrots, and animals living on the edge of survival, are woven together to expose a surprising layer of reality that exists, ignored, but in plain sight in the heart of the city. The Nature Museum takes you on a journey through photographs, artworks and historical documents, narrating myriad stories of Athens's little-known biodiversity and aggressive urbanization.   The installation, curated by the visual artist Katerina Zavakou (Athens) in collaboration with Robert Zhao Renhui and the Institute of Critical Zoologists (Singapore)  is derived from the personal collection of Athenian collector and amateur natural historian, Giorgos Charonidis, who spent almost 50 years chronicling the natural world in Athens. The collection reveals a hidden world of natural riches within the city, bringing to light the dramatic violence and loss lingering within the urban environment. The installation is fleshed out by a guided tour and lecture performance, created in collaboration with playwright Joel Tan.   At the heart of Athens' encounters with nature lies a deep story of violence and survival: rivers disappear while urbanized roads emerge, and wildlife bears the brunt of social and spiritual crises. Employing the Institute’s full range of investigative methodologies, the artefacts on display include archival images and historical texts, research papers, documentary photography and installation, all focused on the ways communities have interacted with nature in different time periods and geographical regions. In tracking these encounters and their histories, using methods drawn from historical knowledge-production to contemporary urban ecology, this show unites multiple strands of knowledge into a single museological encounter.

 

\

The birds of Athens, Light Box, 3m x 2m, 2018.

In Athens, Greece, people who encounter injured birds can take them to ANIMA, a non-profit wildlife protection centre, to be rehabilitated. In 2018, the ICZ collaborated with ANIMA to exhibit a selection of X-rays of dead or injured birds for the exhibition The Nature Museum. Some of the birds have broken wings, an indication that they have collided with a building or a vehicle. The long metal splinter that is visible in some of the birds are inserted by vets to help the birds heal their broken wings. In some birds, there are also white spots, which are bullets. These birds have been shot.

 

 

For more information, click here.

For more information about the project, click here.

 

Micromeria Acropolitana

The Secret of the Acropolis, c.1960-2017 Photographs and Postcards, collection of Giorgos Charonidis

Botanical prints and photographs of the location of Micromeria Acropolitana, a rare plant that only grows on the Acropolis, and formerly believed extinct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group at NTU Centre of Contemporary Art Singapore

1st March 2018

 

 

Plastic caps are used by hermit crabs as alternative shells on Christmas Island. The caps acts as camouflage for the crabs as they scavage among the plastic thrash on the beach.

 

3 Mar 2018, Sat - 29 Apr 2018, Sun

 

Since the establishment of the first human settlements in the late 19th century, the ecosystem of Christmas Island—a small volcanic outcrop in the Indian Ocean which was transferred from Singapore to Australia in 1958—underwent dramatic changes. Along with human settlers, several non-indigenous species alighted on the island disrupting the endemic biodiversity that had thrived undisturbed thanks to geographical remoteness and almost nil human interference. The accidental introduction of invasive species severely impacted a fragile ecosystem, imperilling the island’s wildlife and causing the extinction of a number of native species. As a result, extreme biocontrol strategies are currently being undertaken in an attempt to restore the island’s biodiversity.

In the past two years, The Institute of Critical Zoologists has been researching the escalating chain of events brought about by the human presence on Christmas Island gathering a varied collection of research materials that merge factual and fictional elements. By surveying the impact of human beings on an endemic habitat, Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group maps out lines of invasion and retreat, it investigates dynamics of connectedness and isolation triggering reflections on states of vulnerability and conditions of survival in the age of globalisation.

Curated by Anna Lovecchio, Curator, Residencies

 

Launch and Artist Talk by Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore) Friday, 2 March, 7.30 – 9.00pm The Single Screen, Block 43 Malan Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

For more infomration on the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists, GENDA #2, Animals as permenent followers

19th Jan 2018

 

Image Credit, Genda.

 

Genda is a magazine intersecting Western and Eastern culture. Two sets of editorial staff – one in Italy and one in China – first identify a common theme which is then elaborated through the misunderstandings and complicities at the base of every concrete exchange. Issue zero of Genda is dedicated to the concept of landscape as abandon; it is the vision of what remains at the end of a road, at the moment a path is interrupted or when an action leads to a willed for, pursued, constructed and, at times, serially planned impasse. Seemingly different and far-off worlds and cultures observe and copy one another, modifying themselves without being mutually accountable. Genda is born from a misunderstanding: it is the Western mangling of the popular Chinese Zhenda – ‘Really?’; it is also the name of the preferred flower of Hindu rites and celebrations. Genda is a container of accidental, compressed, distant yet dangerously similar material. Its symmetrical structure separates the two spheres which are then recomposed and redistributed through the binding. Clashes and confluences result from the apparent remoteness of approaching worlds. Genda is an independent and interdisciplinary object. It proves the presence of things and the existence of occurrences, it is about experience. Every edition of Genda contains proofs, manifestations of the impact of the world on the authors. The text forms part of this and thus both language and translation are considered. Genda has a title, it seeks out the conditions for triggering new questions. Its contents are apparitions; their original order is recomposed in the pages where an incidental and unexpected factor – of which the authors are aware – exists.

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists, Propeller Magazine, #1 - Mancha

19th Dec 2017

 

Propeller was born to promote the space given to photographic expression, but above all to think about the limits of its aesthetics, aiming at sharing original content. In addition to the publication of portfolios and visual essays by authors recognized by the public, at Propeller we’re focused on sharing new prespectives, that somehow potentiate a critical approach to the field of photography.

With each issue, Propeller embraces the challenge posed by one of the many paradigms of photographic aesthetics, inviting a diverse set of authors to jointly prepare a singular proposal on the theme in question. To this end, Propeller also hopes to be a space of critical mass creation, sharing essays, visual poetry and other disruptive works.

With a semiannual periodicity, Propeller is a project by HÉLICE‘s team – Duarte Amaral Netto, João Paulo Serafim, Rodrigo Tavarela Peixoto and Valter Ventura – coordinated by Sofia Silva.

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for Nature at Art Review Asia Xian Chang, West Bund Art Fair

9th Nov 2017

Special Exhibition Programme at West Bund Art & Design

10–12 November 2017

West Bund Art Center

Shanghai

Supported by ShanghART Gallery.

 

 

Part of the 4th West Bund Art & Design, ArtReview Asia Xiàn Ch?ng is a special exhibition programme curated by the internationally renowned contemporary art magazine ArtReview Asia. Projects in ArtReview Asia Xiàn Ch?ng, by artists from around the world, occupy spaces inside the fair venue and along the bank of West Bund. This year, 29 invited artists from 16 countries will present 32 works – 13 of which are new.

Works on show in this year’s ArtReview Asia Xiàn Ch?ng range from sculpture and painting to site-specific installation, moving image and performance. Eleven of them are located outdoors. They can be found at the plaza in front of West Bund Art Center’s main entrance, along the riverside on Longteng Road, and at CAMP3399, a public park opposite the Long Museum. The works, connect various areas of in the greater West Bund area, creating a metropolis of art for the West Bund area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists in Disappearing Legacies: The World as Forest

5th Nov 2017

The Cacao Moth from the Series, The More We Get Together (II), 2018

 

The More We Get Together (II), 2018 was first created for the exhibition cycle Disappearing Legacies: The World as Forest (Germany, 2017/18). It was developed as part of a research residency funded by the Goethe-Institut Singapore enabling visits to the collections of the Centre for Natural History (CeNak) of the University of Hamburg. With thanks to entomologist Dr Martin Husemann, CeNak. For more information, click here.

 

First iteration of the three-part exhibition cycle

 

10 November 2017 – 29 March 2018 Centrum für Naturkunde (CeNak) Zoologisches Museum Hamburg Bundesstrasse 52 D-20146 Hamburg

 

Opening: 26 April 2018, 19h00 Tieranatomisches Theater (TA T) Raum für forschende Ausstellungspraxis Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Philippstraße 12/13 10115 Berlin

 

Opening: 19 October 2018, 19h00 Zentralmagazin Naturwissenschaftlicher Sammlungen Martin-Luther-Universität Halle/Wittenberg Domplatz 4 D-06108 Halle/Saale

 

One-hundred and sixty years ago, Alfred Russel Wallace deciphered the principle of species evolution during research trips to South America and Southeast Asia. From 10 November 2017 to 29 March 2018, the special exhibition Verschwindende Vermächtnisse: Die Welt als Wald [Disappearing Legacies: The World as a Forest] confronts the destruction of these tropical habitats in the context of the Anthropocene and mass extinction.

The concept of the project is unique—a hybrid between a historical thematic presentation and a major exhibition of contemporary art, transforming the Zoological Museum im Centrum für Naturkunde (CeNak), University of Hamburg, into a threatened (rain)forest habitat. The centerpiece of the intervention is the presentation of 13 contemporary works of art—including eight new commissions—by Maria Thereza Alves, Ursula Biemann, Bik Van der Pol, Shannon Lee Castleman, Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen, Mark Dion, Radjawali Irendra / Akademi Drone Indonesia, Armin Linke with Giulia Bruno and Giuseppe Ielasi, Barbara Marcel, Julian Oliver & Crystelle V?, Robert Zhao Renhui / The Institute of Critical Zoologists, SHIMURAbros und autonoma / Paulo Tavares.

Some of the works have a direct relation to the University of Hamburg’s collections. Through on-site visits, the artist Robert Zhao Renhui from Singapore, for instance, has further developed his ongoing exploration of our ambiguous relationship with insects by selecting a series of objects from CeNak’s Entomology Collection for his room-size installation. And it was a visit to the Mammalogy Collection that inspired the artist duo Bik Van der Pol to engage in a deeper examination of the phenomenon of nature as a replica situated between reality and fiction.

Other artistic works were developed through journeys to Brazil and Indonesia. Spending time on Borneo, Java, and Sumatra, photographer and filmmaker Armin Linke—together with his colleague Giulia Bruno and exhibition curators Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin—conducted numerous interviews with local residents, plantation workers, small land holders, environmentalists, government officials, and scientists. The result is a cinematic document that reflects the speed with which Indonesia is currently transforming into a palm-oil nation amid giant peat fires. In her museum installation, Maria Thereza Alves lends the word to 33 Indigenous clan chiefs, whom she accompanied for one month last summer in Brazil while participating in a workshop on Indigenous agroforestry and resource conservation. Revital Cohen & Tuur van Balen look inward and examine taxidermy birds with piercing X-ray vision, while the automated multimedia installation Extinction Gong by Julian Oliver & Crystelle V? translates the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species into an eerie and percussive rhythm in realtime.

The exhibition is extended by a series of curatorial assemblages, which include specimens from the CeNak’s zoological collections and the botanical collections of the Herbarium Hamburgense that were selected in dialogue with the respective institutions’ scientific curators: skulls, animal skins, spirit specimens, herbarium sheets, and numerous cases of colorful pinned insects.

Another special highlight is the 3D digital rendering of a Sumatran rhino skull, produced in collaboration with YXLON International, a Hamburg-based high-resolution industrial CT-scanner developer, and a special data visualization software from Volume Graphics. Other media include exclusive screenings of one of Sir David Attenborough’s earliest BBC documentaries and a selection of videos from the ornithologist Ed Scholes (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) and wildlife photographer Tim Laman’s ambitious Bird-of-Paradise Project.

Together, the artistic positions and curatorial assemblages presented in the exhibition Verschwindende Vermächtnisse: Die Welt als Wald renounce a romantic image of untouched nature, and instead critically inquire into the legacies resulting from the relentless destruction of highly complex ecosystems.

Alongside the exhibition, CeNak offers a variegated event program comprising of guided tours, lectures, screenings, and other evening events. Entry is free.

10 November 2017 – 29 March 2018 Opening: 9 November 2017, 18h00

Centrum für Naturkunde (CeNak) Zoologisches Museum Hamburg Bundesstrasse 52 D-20146 Hamburg

Contact: +49 40 42 838 2276 info-cenak@uni-hamburg.de

More info on the project at CeNak, or read an interview with the curators.

Verschwindende Vermächtnisse: Die Welt als Wald is a three-part project by Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin. The travelling exhibition is realized by Centrum für Naturkunde, University of Hamburg, where it will be on view from 10 November 2017 until 29 March 2018. In 2018, adapted iterations will be presented at the project partners, Tieranatomische Theater (TA T), Humboldt University Berlin, and the Zentralmagazin Naturwissenschaftlicher Sammlungen, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Halle/Saale. The exhibition cycle is a cooperation with the Schering Stiftung and the Goethe-Institut. Ursula Biemann’s participation is supported by Pro Helvetia. The project is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

 

More information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World Will Surely Collapse, Jakarta Biennale 'Jiwa'

3rd Nov 2017

 

the world will surely collapse

Installation View of The World Will Surely Collapse, Jakarta Biennale 2017

 

OPENING: 4 NOVEMBER 2017, 19:00, Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem

EXHIBITION: 5 November 2017 – 10 December 2017

OPENS EVERYDAY 11.00 – 19.00

 

An old tree collapsed near the artist's residential estate in Singapore after a storm. The tree was cut into sections by park authority officials and quickly removed. This is in marked contrast to what happens when a tree falls in a forest. The fallen tree begins a cycle of succession where insects and other plant life feed on the rotting trunk. In a city, a tree loses its value the moment it falls. There is no place for a dead tree.

The physical cuts by which the tree is sectioned echo but do not exactly correspond to how the artist has edited and sequenced the images, suggesting that there might be different ways to "managing" nature, whether via park authorities or art.

 

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

For more information of the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists, Research Residency at NTU-CCA, Singapore

10th Oct 2017

Since 2013, The Institute of Critical Zoologits has been collecting old photographs of Singapore, focusing specifically on images that capture the city’s landscape and elements related to her natural history. The project for his residency, provisionally titled The Museum of Disappearance, sets out to unravel the dormant narratives embedded in the photographs in order to shed a different light onto the complex history of our relationship with nature. Further expanding on his interest in the interaction between humans and the natural environment, he plans to conduct extensive fieldwork in the backwoods behind his studio, a patch of secondary forest stretching from Malan Road to Henderson Road, documenting its trees and natural habitat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nature Museum, Hugo Boss Asia Art Award at the Rockbund Art Museum

25th Sept 2017

 

Installation View, The Nature Museum at Rockbund Art Museum. Image credit, Rockbund Art Museum.

 

Hugo Boss Asia Art Award

27 October 2017 - 11th Feb 2018

Rockbund Art Museum

 

HUGO BOSS ASIA ART: Award for Emerging Asian Artists opened early today at Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai, presenting artworks by the four finalist artists: Li Ming (China), Tao Hui (China), Yu Ji (China), Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore).  Following the success of the first and second editions in 2013 and 2015 respectively, HUGO BOSS ASIA ART AWARD for Emerging Asian Artists is well regarded as a very high-profile award that honors emerging contemporary artists in the early stages of their artistic creation and exhibition practices.

 

The exhibition is open to the public from October 27, 2017 to February 11, 2018. The show will present newly commissioned works as well as existing artworks by the four finalists, through which the audience will partake in the artists’ vision of what contemporary art holds in terms of promising potential and new directions.

 

The HUGO BOSS ASIA AWARD, — which is made up of the award selection process, the exhibition of the finalist artists and the on-going public and educational programs — has served as a platform for young talented artists throughout Asia, and is committed to exploring and presenting different artistic and social contexts in present-day Greater China and Southeast Asia. “The HUGO BOSS ASIA AWARD has taken a wonderful development. We are very enthusiastic about the 2017 show and the inspiring works of the nominated artists,” says Dr. Hjördis Kettenbach, Head of Cultural Affairs, HUGO BOSS AG. As Larys Frogier, the Director of Rockbund Art Museum and Chair of the HUGO BOSS ASIA ART jury elaborates, “With brilliant and often unexpected uses of video, sculpture, installation and performance, the four artists unfold through the Museum new forms of narratives and exciting jumps or twists from cultural contexts to subjective fantasies, from historical references to new contemporary social topics, from documentary displays to fictional experiences. The very unique proposals made by each of the artists demonstrate how fresh, meaningful and decisive are their contribution to invigorate the contemporary art scenes in China and Asia.”

 

Robert Zhao Renhui has unique artistic concepts and  practices - his works lie between the documentary and the fictional, creating invisible substances by melding observation and imagination. The Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ) is a fictional scientific organization and program created by the artist that is devoted to natural history, visual arts and ecology. By entering the field of art though the construction of scientific discourses and images, he expresses his concerns about the relationship between humanity and nature as well as how human’s  attitudes and opinions influence our own cognition of the natural world. This time, he builds up an environment relevant to a Malayan Island of nature, history and society. The exhibition space is transformed into an independent hall of a natural history museum, where there will be the installations covering the objects, materials, antiques, books and etc. that he collected during his visits to various zoos over the past ten years. Echoing the history of the museum building as the former Royal Asiatic Society building, these installations will trigger viewers’ adventurous experiences when observing and exploring the multiple narrative forms. Meanwhile, several other representative works are on show. The composition of photographs, documentary images and documents resulted from his individual interruption reminds people to reconsider the relationships between community, individuals and nature in a tumultuous society where the violent interaction between human and nature transpires.

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

To view the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas island, Naturally, M50 ShanghART, Shanghai

2nd Sept 2017

 

Opening?2017/09/03 15:00-18:00 Duration?2017/09/03 –  2017/11/19?Wed.-Sun. 10:00-17:00, Mon.  Tues. & Thur. Closed? Address?ShanghART M50, Bldg 16, 50 Moganshan Rd., Putuo District, Shanghai, China 200060

Contact?press@shanghartgallery.com | www.shanghartgallery.com

 

ShanghART M50 is pleased to present a solo show by acclaimed Singaporean artist and photographer Robert Zhao Renhui, titled “Christmas Island, Naturally”. The exhibition will be on view from 3 September through 19 November. The series of works which were initially commissioned for 2016 Sydney Biennale will be exhibited in China for the first time. 

 

Under his Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ), devoted to a “critical approach toward the zoological gaze, or how humans view animals” and to “advance unconventional, even radical, means of understanding human and animal relations,” the artist’s multi-disciplinary approach appropriates scientific language, tools, methods and even apparatus, juxtaposed with fabulist storytelling. His works inhabit an uncanny space between reality and fantasy, often exposing overlooked contradictions, assumptions, and tensions inherent in man’s relationship with nature. Blending fact and fiction, truth and artifice, the artist invites viewers to contemplate upon the image and information being presented, a reflexive gesture that proves to be particularly pertinent in an image-saturated world of “fake news.” And sometimes, as the artist demonstrates, truth is in fact stranger than fiction.

 

 

 

 

For more information and view installation photographs, click here.

For more information of the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nature Museum

26th Aug 2017

Installation View, The Nature Museum at 72-13.

 

Exhibition only: 1 - 9 Sep  Mon-Sun: Noon - 11pm (on performance nights, exhibition is closed between 6pm-10pm)

Performance: 31 Aug, 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 Sep 8pm 1h, no intermission

 

The Nature Museum is a fascinating exploration of Singapore’s natural history through historical and fantastical narratives created by the Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ).

An immersive museological setting by Robert Zhao of ICZ, The Nature Museum takes you on a journey through photographs, artworks and historical documents both found and fabricated. Get lost in another time as you wander around the artful arrangements of books, posters and images captivatingly displayed on Victorian shelves and vitrines, accompanied by antiquated caption texts.

Artist and photographer Zhao has become known for his layered narratives blending historical documentation and imaginative storytelling that provide thought-provoking commentary on natural as well as social issues. The installation is fleshed out by a guided tour and lecture performance, created in collaboration with playwright Joel Tan, weaving together myriad stories of our island’s rich flora and fauna, its little-known agriculture and aggressive landscaping, fully revealing the extent of Singapore’s ‘Garden City’ moniker.

Underneath bubbles a deeper story of violence and control, hidden in much of Singapore’s encounters with nature: forests recede while manicured greenery emerges. Rediscover the meaning behind images of the plantations and jungles of our past and ponder the implications of the clash between Nature and urban development on our tiny island.

In ICZ’s inimitable style, The Nature Museum meshes past and future in an arresting work that will astonish all who are curious about the world around us.

Commissioned by Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA).'

 

72-13 is located at 72-13 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 239007

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

To view the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Island, Naturally in the 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art

23rd Aug 2017

 

19th Sept 2017- 21st Jan 2018

Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Clouds//Forests

Concept by Yuko Hasegawa

7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art entitled Clouds//Forests is a proposition at a time of crisis to instigate the establishment of new relationships in our world. This proposition will be proposed by the artists and creators called ”Creative Tribes”, who gather in different sites all over the world, do not feel restricted to the notion of nation state and also surmount the dichotomy between globalism and localism.

Since ancient times, tribes sharing common mediation functions (proxemics) have been established on the basis of shared environments: land, climate, and such corporeal conditions. They share certain knowledge, aesthetics and a lifestyle fostered by land/forest. If represented by the metaphor of a forest, they would resemble a collection of trees growing in a common environment.

Over the past three decades, such tribes have been leaving the forests and have started creating new assembly points in the Internet or “Cloud“ space. As the forests engender such clouds, many new media become such personal spaces imbued with the mechanisms of animism, thereby creating life in all manner of things in new technologies: from information to bacteria.

At the same time, a particularly young cloud tribe from the post-Internet generation (born and raised in the “Cloud” space) tends to return to the ground/the forest in order to explore another physical reality and seek cultural roots.

These two directions - one “from the Forests to Clouds” and the other “from the Clouds to Forests” - create a single circular eco-system. This circulation of the eco-system in the metaphors of Clouds and Forests unleashes a new wind of change to the existing system of art, society and the environment.

Art functions precisely as an enigmatic signpost, nourishing our sensory apparatus so that we can gain a better understanding of our human condition Clouds?Forests focuses on artists as a creative tribe transitioning, expanding and dissipating, from forest to cloud, rebuilding the subjectivity of spectators and showing that creativity is vital to the creation of new environmental spheres. Taking into account perceptions on the generation of new subjective environmental spheres, the curatorial criteria for this exhibition includes giving life to new technologies as well as exploring ways to obtain animistic artistic languages and connect cultural roots, and leveraging the rhizome-based organic system to traverse history, genres, and media.

The effects of an increasingly globalised capitalist order are at the root of the recent surge in nationalism and populism. In contrast, the new tribes at the heart of this exhibition represent examples of how we can calmly confront these same issues by generating alternative environmental spheres, compounding subjective spheres, and promoting peaceful co-existence.

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World @ Human+, ArtScience Museum, Singapore

20th May 2017

Three-eyed Goliath beetle, from the series, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, 2013

 

20th May - 15th October 2017

HUMAN+ THE FUTURE OF OUR SPECIES

Advances in genetic engineering, biotechnology and nanotechnology that not long ago seemed purely science fiction are now real. Cyborgs, superhumans and clones are alive amongst us today. What does it mean to be human now? What will it feel like to be a human a hundred years from now? Should we continue to embrace modifications to our minds, bodies and daily lives, or are there boundaries we shouldn’t overstep?

HUMAN+ The Future of Our Species explores the possible future paths of our species. It asks what it means to be human in a world of artificial intelligence, lifelike robots and genetic modification. It probes the social, ethical and environmental questions raised by using technology to modify ourselves. Will virtual reality be the new reality? What would happen if a robot knew what we wanted before we knew ourselves? How might we modify ourselves to adapt to an environment that we are drastically transforming? Is longevity a noble aspiration or a terrible threat for the planet? 

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World by Singaporean artist, Robert Zhao Renhui, seeks to document and reflect on the myriad ways in which human action and intervention are slowly altering the natural world.

The guide presents a catalogue of curious creatures and life-forms that have evolved in often unexpected ways to cope with the stresses and pressures of a changed world. Other organisms documented in the series are the results of human intervention, mutations engineered to serve various interests and purposes ranging from scientific research to the desire for ornamentation.

 

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

137 years, Research residency at musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris

20th March 2017

From the series, 137 years

 

March - September 2017

Camping and Tramping in Malaya is a book that documents the journey of

Ambrose B. Rathborne when he travelled through the Malay Peninsula in 1880.

 

137 years later, The Institute of Critical Zoologists attempted to retrace his footsteps and search for the

animals he encountered during his journey.

 

The animals are still around, but in slightly different contexts.

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

To see the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Bizarre Honour

13th Jan 2017

Installation view, The Bizarre Honour

 

Jan 2017 - March 2017

"Step into a labyrinth-like museum of curiousities when a two-storey terrace house in Chip Bee Gardens opens as part of Singapore Art Week, set with animal traps, tropical field equipment, taxidermy and rare colonial photos. This is OH’s fictional institution, and with no guides, labels or explanations, you’re left to make meaning of artefacts within the living, breathing museum. The experience’s only open to two visitors at a time, so book ahead." - Time Out, Singapore

 

OH! Open House, in collaboration with the ICZ, is transforming a two-storey terraced house in Chip Bee Gardens into a maze-like museum of curiosities.

The Bizarre Honour – presented as an institution showcasing their eclectic collection in a newfound space – will unveil over 300 natural objects and artefacts dating from the colonial period to the contemporary times. Collected by the artists over a period of 15 years, the exhibits survey Singapore’s contentious relationship with its nature.

In a unique and highly private experience, only two visitors are allowed in the museum at any one point of time. From rare colonial photos, taxidermy and animal traps to tropical field equipment, visitors can expect a sensory treat while they immerse themselves in a living, breathing museum. Visitors should prepare themselves for spending 30 minutes in the museum where there are no guides, labels or explanations, and no distinction between art and artefacts. Visitors can only rely on a personal dossier – comprising memos, photographs and other classified information pertaining to exhibits and experiments – to unlock the mysteries of the museum and its exhibits.

Mr. Alan Oei, 40, co-founder and Artistic Director of OH! Open House, explains the concept of the museum: “The cultural airspace is dominated by the few blockbuster museums like Tate, MOMA, and now we’ve added the National Gallery of Singapore. So we want to ask if there is a space for a different kind of museum.”

We looked back at the Wunderkammer, Cabinet of Curiosities, and you see it was very artistic. It wasn’t about national representation or state narratives. They expressed something more human, more personal – curiosity and collecting.

There’s a wondrous relationship between art and Natural History – it’s about discovering uncharted worlds, and finding new relations between things, even things that may seem very mundane. Animal traps, for instance, reflect the local culture and myths. So a sparrow trap reflects the Singapore vernacular; it’s unique to us. Also, we have an entire collection of photographs taken by a British tourist in Singapore over a few decades. Each photograph by itself is very ordinary, but put together is an obsessive, fractured portrait of Singapore you’d never find in the history books,” he adds.

We’re working with a few artists to make our own version of a museum. We’re not revealing the names because we want the focus to be on the experience, not the ‘brand’ or the oeuvre. It’s just you and the exhibits, the live experiments – how do you make sense of things?”

You can purchase tickets to The Bizarre Honour at S$45 which includes a hand- assembled 80-page dossier.

 

For more information, click here.

To view the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Island, Naturally @ ShanghART Singapore

11th Jan 2017

 

11 MAR 2017 - 08 MAY 2017

 

ShanghART Singapore is pleased to present a solo show by acclaimed Singapore artist and photographer Robert Zhao Renhui, titled “Christmas Island, Naturally” on view from 11 March through 8 May. The exhibition comprises works commissioned for and exhibited at the Sydney Biennale 2016 and marks the debut of these works in Singapore, as well as showcasing previously unexhibited works in the series.

 

The opening reception will be held Wednesday, 15 March 2017, from 6-9pm, including an artist’s talk and exhibition book launch.

 

Under his Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ), devoted to a “critical approach toward the zoological gaze, or how humans viewanimals” and to “advance unconventional, even radical, means of understanding human and animal relations,” the artist’s multi-disciplinary approach appropriates scientific language, tools, methods and even apparatus, juxtaposed with fabulist storytelling. His works inhabit an uncanny space between reality and fantasy, often exposing overlooked contradictions, assumptions, and tensions inherent in man’s relationship with nature. Blending fact and fiction, truth and artifice, the artist invites viewers to contemplate upon the image and information being presented, a reflexive gesture that proves to be particularly pertinent in an image-saturated world of “fake news.” And sometimes, as the artist demonstrates, truth is in fact stranger than fiction.

 

The artist conducted a research residency on Christmas Island between 2015-2016. A small volcanic outcrop in the Indian Ocean, the island’s geographic isolation has resulted in its endemic biodiversity. Once part of the Crown Colony of Singapore, the island is now an External Territory of Australia. Christmas Island is best known for its annual breeding migration of red land crabs from land to the sea, during which millions of bright red crustaceans overtake the island and all vehicular activity grinds to a halt. Phosphate mining, the island’s main industry, began in the late nineteenth century, and invasive species brought over by human settlers have tipped the scales of the island’s fragile ecological balance, driving multiple native species to extinction and threatening others. Conservation efforts include an island-wide culling of non-native cats, to which the island’s native fauna had fallen easy prey.

 

The artist’s study focuses on documenting the island’s imperiled and extinct species, and also examines the unintended consequences of man’s presence. The artist’s photographic series of the island’s strange creatures, natural phenomena and landmarks are accompanied by signature pseudo-scientific, tongue-in-cheek exposition and field notes. In addition, the artist references objects from the island for two installations on view. Memorial to the Christmas Island Pipistrelle (2016) is a solar-powered ultrasonic echolocator used to track the pipistrelle bat. Rendered meaningless due to the species’ extinction, the apparatus serves as silent, poignant reminder of the pipistrelle’s permanent absence. The elegant wooden form of Memorial to the Last Cat on Christmas Island (2016) belies its lethal function as a feral cat trap, indicated by its pointed installation together with a resin cat skeleton. “Christmas Island, Naturally” culminates in a speculative solution to remove all invasive species from the island once and for all, whereby humans, also proverbial “invasive species”, opt to leave the island in order to preserve its ecology. This imagined scenario unfolds via a fictive conservation conference program, “Life After Humans – Rewilding Island Ecosystems,” as well as extracts from scientific papers presented.

 

For more information, click here.

To view the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Natural History of an Island

20th October 2016

The oldest coconut tree in Singapore, 106 years old

The Natural History of an Island

An Affliate project of Singapore Biennale 2016.

Exhibition at DECK.

EXHIBITION DATES 26 November 2016 to 12 February 2017

 

As part of the exhibition with Ang Song Nian, The Photograph as Atlas

The Photograph as Atlas looks at photography’s role as a mirror of history that can be both objective and subjective at the same time. It explores the navigation and creation of history through photographs, and how – as much as they serve as a record of history – photographs may also be manipulated and navigated in new ways, proving that they are not as faithful as they seem to be.

In The Natural History of an Island, artist Robert Zhao Renhui looks at the natural history of Singapore in a 100-year frame, based on his collection of images of Singapore’s natural landscape from the 1900s. Using a self-made mobile expedition vehicle, the artist explores and maps out ‘natural’ spaces in tress in Singapore, uncovering historical narratives along the way. Investigating Singapore’s relationship with its natural landscapes through the years, The Natural History of an Island examines the various ways in which the landscape has been altered based on needs and desires from nature.

 

 

 

For more information, click here.

To view the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chobi Mela IX International Festival of Photography

10th Jan 2017

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World will be exhibited at this year's Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography, Transition.

 

 

For more information, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singapore, Very Old Tree

12th Dec 2016

Ageing gracefully through decades, trees create a sense of collective identity across generations. Against our changing landscape of modern skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, they stand steadfast as living memoirs of Singapore’s shared heritage.

 

At the bottom of the Glass Rotunda is the Singapore, Very Old Tree exhibition, inspired by an old postcard found in the National Archives of Singapore. The postcard depicts an unspecified tree dating back to the year 1904. Produced by renowned local photographer and artist Robert Zhao, this exhibition was first commissioned as part of the Singapore Memory Project and later exhibited as part of the nation’s SG50 celebrations. This permanent exhibition showcases 17 images of trees around Singapore and highlights the unique stories of each, providing an alternative perspective of Singapore’s history and the personal connections that Singaporeans have with our local trees.

 

Daily from 10am – 7pm Last admission at 6.15pm

National Museum of Singapore

 

For more information, click here.

To view the project, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each Blade of Grass Each Shrub Each Tree, Substation Gallery

5th May 2016

For more information, click here.

 

In 1963, a Mempat tree was planted by the nation’s Prime Minister. Planting has never been about trees; it’s a moment transformed into a photograph. Singapore has always shaped itself in, and after the image. Garden City is the clean and green image—think about those majestic trees that line our expressways as you emerge from Changi Airport. The Substation presents a programme of exhibition, performance and forum, through artists who resist constructed visions of nature as a singular, unchanging entity. They complicate our understanding of Nature and the Garden: from the edenic to the horrifying, from the sublime to fictions of representation. Nature, through their eyes, becomes speculative, autonomous but also charged with human trace.

 

Find out more about The Substation's new artistic directions in responding to MacRitchie Reservoir Cross Island Line discussions here.

 

The Substation Gallery, 45 Armenian Street Exhibition: 5 - 15 May 2016 (Open daily from 12PM to 8PM) Closed for a private performance and forum on 7 May from 1PM to 4PM. 

 

Featuring Chu Hao Pei, David Tan, Deborah Emmanuel, Geraldine Kang, Robert Zhao, Sharda Harrison, Susie Wong, Timothy Barnard, and Tony O’Dempsey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New bookwork, Mynas

28th April 2016

Mynas, 2016

Avaible to ship via paypal here

 

 

Christmas Island, Naturally - The 20th Biennale of Sydney, Carriageworks

An experiment in natural history investigation

8th March 2016

Christmas Island, Naturally, 2016

 

20th Biennale of Sydney

18th March - 5th June 2016

Carriageworks

 

 

This project looks at the ecology of Christmas Island. The nearly 150 years of human settlement have introduced a number of invasive species onto the island. Not only do these newcomers threaten some of the island’s most imperiled species, such as the Abbott’s Booby and Christmas Island Gecko, they have also caused the extinction of other species.

Christmas Island's ecology is considered to be unique due to its endemic flora and fauna and the presence of large populations of land crabs and seabirds, which are the most noticeable fauna on the island. The annual breeding migration of the red crabs is also a well known event. Researchers estimate that 40 million crabs live on the island now, and the number could have been twice that before invasive yellow crazy ants became a problem.

As a result of its unique biodiversity, exceptional endemism and the myriad of threats faced by invasive species, Christmas Island is a high-value conservation area currently gazetted as a strict nature reserve. In recognition of the island’s fragile ecosystems, the 3rd Christmas Island Conservation Plan called for the resettlement of human communities, which eventually led to a relocation of these communities to the Australian mainland. At present, a permit is needed for researchers intending to study biodiversity on the island, and the island remains indefinitely out of bounds to commercial tourism.

The artist, Robert Zhao Renhui undertook a research residency on Christmas Island between 2015-2016 and produced the book, 'Christmas Island, Naturally.' The book consists of 120 images and documents on the extinctions and conservation efforts on the island.

 

An installation of the project will take place at Carriageworks during the 20th Biennale of Sydney.

 

More about Christmas Island, Naturally - http://criticalzoologists.org/christmas

20th Biennale of Sydney - https://www.biennaleofsydney.com.au

Venue : Carriageworks - http://carriageworks.com.au/

 

Purchase book here.

 

The last echolocation call of a tiny bat native to the island, the Christmas Island Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus murrayi), was recorded on this spot on 26th August 2009.

 

The last stray dog on Christmas Island was seen on this spot in 2012, shortly after the beginning of the Cat Eradication Program. There are currently no dogs on Christmas Island.

 

A widespread search in 2015, using automatic cameras, yielded only a rare glimpse of a single individual. A long time has passed without conclusive evidence of the cat’s survival, and sadly this domestic species must be considered ‘probably extinct’ on Christmas Island. The personal opinion of the authors, however, based mainly on the continued and increasing incidence of impressive sightings and the availability of apparently suitable prey, is that there is still a chance that this intriguing animal has survived to the present day.
Q. Yong, G. Chia, 'Search for the Last Christmas Island Cat', 2015

 

 

 

 

 


On numerous occasions, I noticed a Goshawk shadowing me in the forest as I searched for insects under fallen branches and logs. This particular individual was not shy at all - in fact, at some point I had clear views of it for as long as 20 minutes. I finally understood its peculiar behaviour when one day, I saw it swoop down to grab a thrush that flew out when I was traipsing through the vegetation during my insect hunt. It was using me as a proxy to flush potential prey.

R. Zhao, 'Field notes on the foraging ecology of the Christmas Island Goshawk (Accipiter fasciatus natalis)', Institute of Critical Zoologists, Journal No. 174, 2015

 

Following a recent research expedition to the Christmas Island Natural Reserve, an ecologist asked us to assess the impact of the 3rd Christmas Island Conservation Plan on populations of endemic animals. We replied that, although a quantitative assessment is dif cult and more research is needed to understand this phenomenon, the net ecological impact has been positive. After a long pause, the perplexed ecologist asked how it could  be possible that a landscape invaded by exotics could produce positive ecological consequences. The answer was simple— humans have evacuated the island.

T. Satoshi, ‘Restoration and rewilding nature: freeing ecosystems from humans’, Unpublished

 

The Tree That Fell

7th September 2015

How To Make A Tree Disappear As Nature Intended II (2015)

2mx2mx1.55m

Vitrine, 150kg of sawdust from The Substation Malayan Banyan tree.

 

The artist spent nine months sanding down each piece of trunk manually with sand paper. This pile of sawdust came from 200kg of wood.


The Tree That Fell
Robert Zhao Renhui | The Substation

Friday, 28 August, 2015 – Sunday, 27 Sepetember, 2015

12-8pm Daily

 

In 2014, I spent a few nights under one of the Banyan trees at the back of The Substation for a project. A few months later, all the trees there were chopped to make way for a new building, except for the largest one, which was uprooted and kept somewhere till it finds a new home. During the demolition, I salvaged some of the tree trucks and kept them, not really knowing what I would do with them.


A year later, I found that the trunks were mostly intact, and there were little insects and plants growing in them. Only one of the segments was reduced to an ashy powder by powderpost beetles.


I started thinking about the idea of disappearance in nature, and how long, without intervention, a tree takes to disappear. As an experiment, I started sanding all the wood down manually to see how long I can reduce it to dust.


It took me nine months.


Meanwhile, I know that the large Banyan tree will be transplanted in a few years time. It takes forever for a tree to disappear in the forest, but in Singapore, we can grow a 30-metre tree in just a few days. It is almost a miracle.


Slow disappearances and instant trees: Time is warped in the tree world in Singapore.


- Robert Zhao Renhui, incollaboration with The Substation for Septfest

 

Substation, Sept Fest

Exhibition review

The artist sanding down the trunks for How To Make A Tree Disappear As Nature Intended II (2015)

Detail of How To Make A Tree Disappear As Nature Intended II (2015)

 

How To Make A Tree Disappear As Nature Intended I (2015)
4.25m x 0.6m x 1.55m
Vitrine, Substation banyan tree root, powderpost beetles, powder
The artist salvaged this long root from the Substation Banyan tree that was taken away to be transplanted. The inside of this branch is slowly being eaten by the larva of powderpost beetles, which spend months or years inside reducing the wood to fine powder. Their presence is only apparent when they emerge as adults, leaving behind pinhole-sized openings, often called "shot holes". If conditions are right, female beetles may lay their eggs and re-infest the wood, continuing the cycle for generations, and reducing the wood to a pile of dust.

 

Installation View

 

 

 

What it is about when it is about nothing

Secret need for your existence ii, 2015
30x30x30cm
Resin, Gold-leaf, Diasec

 

What it is about when it is about nothing

Curated by Michael Lee


What it is about when it is about nothing is a group exhibition of works by 7 sets of artists curated by Michael Lee, which aims to broaden the discussions about Singapore art beyond the ongoing surge of thematic shows about Singapore identity, quirks and repressed histories. It aims firstly to explore the aesthetics of “nothing” in the context of an art scene anxious to assign something meaningful to artworks, and secondly to expand definitions of the “Singapore artist” beyond country of birth, nationality and base.

Artists : Perception3 (Regina De Rozario & Seah Sze Yunn), Ho Rui An, Robert Zhao, Jennis Li Cheng Tien, Homa Shojaie, Adeline Kueh and Michael Lee

25 September - 25 October 2015

Vernissage : 
Friday, 25 September  2015
6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Mizuma Gallery, Singapore

 

The Discovery Award, Rencontres d'Arles

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Installation View at Rencontres d'Arles, 2015
2015, Dimensions variable
Installation of documents and prints

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World is nominated by Louise Clements (UK) to be part of the Discovery Award this year.

The Discovery Award is given to a photographer or an artist using photography whose work has recently been discovered or deserves to be. Every year since 2002, each of the five nominators invited by the Rencontres d’Arles has nominated two photographers, who exhibit their work in a solo show at the Parc des Ateliers.

Copies of the book available here 
Singapore : http://tinyurl.com/mec8gry
Worldwide Shipping : http://tinyurl.com/k6x6g6e

6 July - 20 September

Arles 2015

 

 

Pause, Photo Bangkok Festival

Installation view of The Blind of Pause at Bangkok Art Cultural Centre during Photo Bangkok festival 2015. Curated by Ark Fongsmut

PAUSE, a contemporary photography exhibition, is a part of Photo Bangkok festival 2015 with the support of Bangkok Art Cultural Centre.  The artists in the exhibition are Ang Song Nian, Bui Huu Phuoc, Jed Escueta, Kim Hak, May Co Naing, MES 56, Minstrel Kuik Ching Chieh, Naruebes Vadvaree, Nazaruddin Abdul Hamed, Phan Quang, Prateep Suthathongthai, Robert Zhao Renhui, Sophal Neak, Souliya Phoumivong and Yason Banal.

 

This contemporary photography exhibition, PAUSE, introduces a sketch or a collage of stories and issues of the region through the artists’ critical point of views without any conclusion.  All exhibited artworks do not come from single disciplinary.  They reflect visions and opinions that are re-contextualizing through photography in various medias in order to open our mind for new realities from our neighborhood.

- See more at: http://en.bacc.or.th/event/PAUSE.html#sthash.qIe70nl2.dpuf

 

Exhibition runs from July 30, 2015 to November 01, 2015

Bangkok Art Cultural Centre

Main Gallery 9th Floor

Opening hours: Wed-Sat 12 to 6 pm

 

PhotoBangkok

Bangkok Art Cultural Centre

 

 

 

Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography

Installation view of A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World at Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography, 2015


Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography

28.8-20.9.2015

Through the theme of adaptation, a subject that is of particular contemporary relevance, the 19th Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography will reveal trends in emerging Swiss and international photography. In their explorations of the remarkable ability of living things to adapt, the invited photographers record how human beings, animals, and even the landscape are transforming themselves in reaction to new conditions. In the 21st century, the challenges are mainly created by humans themselves. Confronted with entirely new situations, individuals, whether in isolation or as members of a group, seek ways to adapt, or sometimes to resist it.

 

The Festival has selected works of photography which engage closely with issues that raise questions for the future of our contemporary societies: intensive resource development, neocolonialism, demographics, economic needs, recent political changes, religion, genetic modification, climate change, new technologies, as well as the uses of the medium of photography itself. The photographers have aimed at finding subjects that reflect a present that is very near to us, from one end of the planet to the other: from Japan to the US, from Ukraine to Lesotho, and in Switzerland too. The images offer a panorama of the practice of photography now: documentary photos, humanistic projects and conceptual ones; photographs with a scientific or classificatory aim; projects that incorporate archival images or images found on the internet; and installations that take possession of the exhibition space.

Documents and images from A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World is on show at the Neues Museum Biel.

Biel/Bienne Festival of Photography, Switzerland

Flies Prefer Yellow

8th December 2014

He counts the stars and call them all by name
2.1m x 1.5m, Chromogenic Color Print, face mounted on Plexiglass, Framed

A family portrait photograph of 4784 flies from a single family of flies. Each fly is meticulously labelled with information of its provenance and some of these flies mimics/pretends to be other insects like bees and wasps to cheat predators.


Flies Prefer Yellow
Robert Zhao Renhui | Kadist Art Foundation

Resulting from his three-month residency at Kadist Art Foundation, Flies Prefer Yellow is the North American debut exhibition of Singapore-based artist, Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1983). Featuring installation and photographic works, the exhibition explores boundaries, systems, neuroses, and control through the artist’s encounters with one of the most inconspicuous insect species on earth–flies. Despite their ubiquity and adaptability (more than 145,000 species exist), flies remain nearly invisible to many humans. This dismissive outlook is attributed less to visual perception, and more to a psychological predisposition towards the insect’s lack of purpose—a manufactured negligence that determines what we see and what we do not. Rendering the unseen visible, and the ignored critical, this multidisciplinary exhibition amplifies the intersections of insect and human, natural and urbanized environments, and entomology and art practice.

During his residency, Zhao made multiple visits to the Sacramento insect lab of Dr. Martin Hauser, Senior Insect Biosystematist at the California Department of Food and Agriculture (and longtime acquaintance of the artist’s). Inspired by Hauser’s scientific impulse towards exhaustive taxonomy, Zhao began observing and cataloguing insects. Ranging from beetle-tracking within the urban core of San Francisco, to collecting the various insect carcasses from his windshield during road trips, the artist began accumulating observations about the indigenous insects, and in particular, the flies he encountered. In addition to the flies themselves, Zhao’s curiosity extends to the various traps and methods humans use to rid themselves of the pests. The exhibition’s title, Flies Prefer Yellow, on the one hand refers to the artist’s affectionate imagination through its anthropopathic tone, implying a desire to be friendly with the insects. On the other hand, the preference is actually a statistical observation as most commercial flytraps are produced in the color yellow. Through the lens of flies, the exhibition invites critical reflection on human’s paradoxical relationships with animals and our organic world.

Through this collision with art, the insect world, long suppressed and diminished by the congestion and monumentality of urban life, is revealed in the full glory of its contradictions: the fly is both friend and foe, beautiful and repellant, known, yet never fully described. Through languages of humor, repetition, contradiction and juxtaposition, Zhao’s practice negotiates the process of image making and the proximity of vision that continue to blur lines between objective documentation and fictional narrative.

On the evening of the opening reception, November 19 6-9pm, Dr. Martin Hauser joined Zhao and Xiaoyu Weng in conversation within a pop-up laboratory of his scientific materials and specimens. Monica Martinez, of Don Bugito, served edible insect appetizers alongside a special insect cocktail by Helena Keeffe.

 

Bagworm, Graperoot Borer, Gypsy Moth, Japanese Beetle, Pepper Weevil, Apple Maggot, Blueberry Maggot, Walnut Husk Fly, Cherry Fruit Fly, Whitefly, Thrip, Flying Aphid, Fungus Gnat, Mushroom Fly, Corn Rootworm, Rose Chafer, San Jose Scale, Squash Vine Borer, Winter Moth, Sweet Potato Weevil, Stink Bug, Elm Bark Beetle, Fruit Fly, Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Medfly, Olive Fruit Fly, Carrot Rust Fly, White Pine Weevil, Pecan Weevil, Plum Curculio, Citrus Weevil, Black Cherry Fruit Fly, Apple Blotch Leafminer, Spruce Budworm, Whitemarked Tussock Moth, European Pine Shoot Moth, Black Cutworm, Armyworm, Beet Army Worm, Cabbage Looper, Nantucket Pinetip Moth, Southwestern Corn Borer, Bumblebees, Tarnished Plant Bug, Eastern Apple Sawfly, Mites, Pink Bollworm, Codling Moth, Redbanded Leafroller, Pecan Nut Casebearer, Blackheaded Fireworm, Bagworm, Oriental Beetle, Indian Meal Moth, Tobacco Budworm, Arthur's Sunflower Moth, Honey Bee, Leek Moth, Lima Bean Pod Borer, Old World Boll Worm, Potato Moth, Tomato Pinworm, Vine Mealybug, Soy Bean Looper

Installation of 69 Insect Traps, Dimensions Variable, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

The Nature Collector

ShanghART Gallery Shanghai is pleased to present Robert Zhao Renhui’s exhibition “The Nature Collector”, his first solo presentation in China.

Zhao is an emerging Singaporean visual artist whose practice includes photography, performance, video and installation. Austere and mysterious, his works explore the relationship between humans and the nature, and frequently appropriate on the language and processes of science.

For “The Nature Collector”, he unveils new works themed around the idea of animal traps. Traps are a source of fascination for Zhao, who sees them as elegant physical manifestations of humankind’s knowledge of a particular creature. To best lure an animal into your trap, you need intimate knowledge of that species, as well as its habits, preferences and weaknesses. Zhao’s images of traps, however, are open-ended and unexplained. They are landscapes inviting contemplation, and are possibly, ruses: Is the artist telling the truth? A splash of blue in jungle landscape is simply titled Bee Trap, and what appears to be a photograph of small red balls hanging in trees is called Apple Moth Trap.

Some works take on a hint of menace, touching on ideas of entrapment, punishment and sin. In Eskimo Wolf Trap Often Quoted in Sermons, a bloodied knife is stuck in a bed of snow. Behind, a text describes how a wolf, lured by rabbit’s blood on the knife, will lick the knife, cutting its own tongue, getting more excited by its own blood, till it eventually bleeds to death.

Zhao’s work also explores notions of boundaries, systems and control as human beings attempt to know and catalogue the natural world. In “He counts the stars and calls them all by name”, a large photograph shows 4784 insects meticulously arranged and labelled with information of their provenance. The Biblical reference alludes to a complicated power releations between scientist and subject, human and animal, classifier and classified.

11th Jan 2015 - 18th Feb 2015
Shanghart, Shanghai

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eskimo Wolf Trap often quoted in sermons
2013, Dimensions variable
Installation of diasec, eskimo knife, polyurethane, 200 kg of sodium bicarbonate
"Eventually, a wolf will approach the knife and begin to cautiously sniff and lick the frozen blood. After believing it is safe, the wolf will lick more aggressively. Soon, the blade of the knife becomes exposed and it begins to nick the wolf’s tongue. Because its tongue has been numbed by the cold of the frozen blood, the wolf is unaware that he is being cut, and the blood it now tastes is its own. Excited at the prospect of fresh, warm blood, the wolf will hungrily lick the blade all the more. In a short time, the wolf will grow dizzy and disoriented. In a matter of hours, it will die from blood loss, literally drinking itself to death. As horrible as this picture is, it illustrates an important truth."

Signature Art Prize, Singapore Art Museum
APB Foundation Signature Art Prize returns for its third edition this year. Recognising the most outstanding contemporary work by both emerging and established artists over the last three years, the prize puts the spotlight on compelling works of visual art from across the Asia-Pacific region. Eskimo Wolf Trap often quoted in sermons is one of the shortlisted 15 finalists.

Selected by a panel of five eminent judges from around the region, the 15 finalists were chosen from a total of 105 nominated artworks from 24 countries and territories. The contemporary artworks represent the very best of the region, and come from 13 diverse countries and territories including Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Staying true to contemporary practice, this year’s entries are of an extremely high calibre, collectively showing a real diversity of medium, innovative approach to genre and materials, and strong conceptual ideas. They each address topical issues and collectively shed light not just on the region’s contemporary art landscape but also on concerns and conversations relevant in society today.

Venue : Singapore Art Museum
14 Nov 2014 – 15 Mar 2015

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Signature Art Prize

 

 

 

 

 

Torijon grasslands, from the series, The Blind, 2007

Fake & Reality
Robert Zhao Renhui & Ricardo Casas
Anzenberger Gallery

Working at his Institute of Critical Zoologists, the Singapore-based artist Robert Zhao Renhui creates his own universe and a guide to the flora and fauna of this world. It is usually impossible to tell what is reality and what is fake. Then again, our confusion hints at the fact that the typical consumer is just as clueless in everyday life. Is the apple in the supermarket genuine or genetically manipulated? In which ways does man influence nature to make it what we perceive as pleasant and aesthetic?

It is often only a fine line that separates reality from its falsification. Looking at Ricardo Cases’s pictures, for example, we would assume that they are counterfeit: painted pigeons that look like they were created on a computer using Photoshop. The more baffled we are to learn that they are real: a group of pigeon breeders from the area around Valencia, Spain, painted their birds in gaudy colors for a competition.

Exhibition goes from November 7, 2014 to January 31, 2015

Absberggasse 27, 1100 Vienna
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 12 to 6 pm

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Fat polar bear swimming in Hudson Bay, from, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World

Photobook Melbourne

12-22nd Feb 2015

Photobook Melbourne is an artist-run, not for profit organization dedicated to creating a platform for experimental and innovative artistic photography and book making practices. A platform for artists, bookmakers and book lovers to discuss, examine and appreciate marvellous imagery and outstanding storytelling. We will bring together expertise and insight directly from the world’s greatest photographers, graphic designers, curators, publishers & printers. Our aim is to share their knowledge with professional photographers, passionate amateurs and the inquisitive book lover. Initiating conversations about the nature of self publishing, form and function, practice and process.

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World will be exhibiting at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.

Copies of the book available here
Singapore : http://tinyurl.com/mec8gry
Worldwide Shipping : http://tinyurl.com/k6x6g6e

Photobook Melbourne
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Death in the city

1st November 2014

Call for Citizen Science Participation in Singapore.

Long term bird collision study for Singapore during migratory period between September to November.

For more information, please contact Yong Ding Li at zoothera@yahoo.com

 

 

The Possibility of Knowing

2nd June 2014

30 years, from the series, The Possibility of Knowing, 2013

Photographs and videos of guard dogs restrained and standing at attention, their front limbs propped up with a large stones, on the beach of Padang. Unable to move and looking attentive, the dogs are set in this tensed situation by the seller to ensure the dogs look their best

 

 

.Padang, 2013

 

Padang, 2013

 

Installation View. The Possibility of Knowing part of the exhibition, Unearthed at the Singapore Art Museum, 2014

 

The Possibility of Knowing

 

Created during a residency with the Earth Observatory of Singapore, the project looks at Padang, Indonesia. Scientists has predicted a tsunami (the size of a tsunami that hit Aceh, Sumatra) will hit Padang in the next 30 years. The project looks at how the possibilities and impossibilities of knowing a disaster in Padang and what a prediction does to a landscape. The images shows the coasts of Aceh (post disaster) and Padang (pre-disaster).

 

21st March - 6th July 2014

Singapore Art Museum

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World

1st June 2014

honey buzzardInstallation View, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World


Solo presentation by Robert Zhao Renhui | Primo Marella Gallery, Milan

 

"...In this way, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World also questions the limits of these systems of collating, ordering and disseminating knowledge, by blurring the lines between fact and fiction. It oscillates between the modalities of science and art, thereby inviting us to consider the roles of these disciplines in our apprehension and understanding of the world.

Included in the exhibition are new sculptures which extend Zhao’s zoological investigations. In Nepenthes sg. rh, a plant that was discovered in 1897 by Kimiya Yui in Singapore, known only be a pencil sketch by the botanist. The plant is an undescribed tropical pitcher plant known from a single tree in Singapore and has never be seen again. Zhao created a sculpture from Yui’s sketch. This is an ongoing series of work where the artist looks for species that were discovered but never seen again. Other exhibits include Unbreakable Egg, an egg that has been genetically modified with a plant’s gene to prevent it from breaking, resulting in an egg that has a wood like texture. Moondust (Journeys to the moon) is a collection of insect ash the artist painstakingly collects from street lamps. The ash is the remains of insects being trapped in the street lamps and being burnt by the heat of the lamp over a long period of time..."

 

Limited copies of A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World available at the gallery

 

Nepenthes sg. rh Yui, 2014
Nepenthes sg. rh Yui is an undescribed tropical pitcher plant known from a single tree in Singapore. It shows similarities to N. burkei. The species was originally discovered in April 1897 by Kimiya Yui and has never be seen again. The species is only known by a pencil sketch created by Yui.

 

21st May 2014 - 31st June 2014
Mondays to Fridays : 10am - 630pm

 

Via Valtellina angolo Viale Stelvio, 66
20159 Milano - Italy
tel +39 0287384885
info@primomarellagallery.com

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Exhibitions May - July

 

Fake beef, from the series A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, 2013

 

A Time For Dreams

Moscow International Biennale of Young Art | Curated by David Elliot

The Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, one of the largest and most ambitious projects in the field of contemporary art, will be take place this summer for the fourth time. The Biennale combines the creative initiatives of artists of the new generation from Russia and abroad. Leading Moscow museums and centers of contemporary art, in collaboration with regional and foreign partners, have participated in the preparations for this event.

For this fourth edition of the International Biennale for Young Art in Moscow David Elliott has chosen the title 'A Time for Dreams' in acknowledgement of the chronic precariousness of our own times and the urgent need for the dreams and visions of younger and future generations to break the barrier of ‘things as they are’ to make things better.

A selection of A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World will be on exhibition.

26 June 2014 — 10 August 2014
The Museum of Moscow

 

Fluorescent zebrafish, from the series A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, 2013

 

Grand Prix Fotofestiwal
Lodz, Poland


Grand Prix Fotofestiwal is a competition organized every year, during which the festival awards the prizes to those artists who present cohesive ideas, brave visions as well as excellent photographic technique and who use the photographic language in a conscious manner.

Fotofestiwal was born in 2001 as one of the first photography events in Poland. Since then, both photography and the ways of organising cultural events have changed. Fotofestiwal has always been up to date with these changes. It is intended as a space for various forms of photography and a forum for discussion on art and society, but also as a search for alternative methods of talking about photography and presenting it.

A selection of A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World's images will be included in the exhibition.

 

Venue : ART_INKUBATOR, Tymienieckiego 3

Opening, 5th June 2014 (Thu): 7.00 pm – 10.00 pm
5th - 15th June 2014 (Fri-Sun): 12.00 pm – 8.00 pm

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Truth, Facts, Fictions, Lies | PhotoIreland Festival

"We seek, produce, use, and consume all kind of images in our everyday. Whether in the private or the public sphere, we need them for sharing and obtaining details regarding experiences, news, and events. They serve to illustrate ideas that in turn endorse or contest other ideas. With these images, through storytelling, we shape public opinion and enjoy a shared sense of what is true, what is real. The way we understand our reality then is through these fragmented stories that we tell ourselves. Some of them may be accepted as truths, some others understood as mere myths, legends, hoaxes, or lies. It is all about storytelling. - PhotoIreland"

 

The book, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, will be included in the main exhibition.

 

Copies of the book available here
Singapore : http://tinyurl.com/mec8gry
Worldwide Shipping : http://tinyurl.com/k6x6g6e

1st - 31st July 2014


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Mapping Asia Exhibition | Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong

"How we define ‘Asia’ at Asia Art Archive is the question we are most frequently asked. Acknowledging both the value and limitations of the map as a tool, this project practices a mapping of Asia that does not exclusively depend on the map as artifact, but as something that lives and continues to unfold. We share with you some of the threads and (to borrow a geological term) hot spots that are currently shaping our notion of Asia."

 

Pages from, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, are included in the exhibition.

 

April - September 2014
http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/mapping-asia/

 

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Installation View, Selection of Animal Traps from the Institute of Critical Zoologists, 'Unearthed' exhibition. Singapore Art Museum

 

Unearthed | Singapore Art Museum

The Singapore Art Museum (SAM) is proud to present its first exhibition of the year, UNEARTHED, which seeks to investigate artists’ views on the natural world and invites viewers to contemplate their relationships with the natural environment. This examination of earthly experiences, through contemporary art, exemplifies SAM’s new direction of encompassing projects that present art intersecting with various disciplines and modalities. This is also SAM’s inaugural exhibition as a corporatised entity under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s Visual Arts Cluster.

 

A selection of animal traps from The Institute of Critical Zoologists is showing in this exhibition.


More information of the work here.

 

21st March 2014 - 6th July 2014
http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/unearthed/

 

The Last Thing You See

15th November 2013

honey buzzardOriental Honey Buzzard attaching a hornet's nest, 2013
150cm x 100cm each, Diptych, Diasec
From the series, How to eat bees?

 

 

The Last Thing You See
Recent works by Robert Zhao Renhui

Saturday 16 November 2013 — Sunday 5th January 2014
2902 Gallery

 

Some birds talk without making a sound.

Bees favour blue.

A spider web is a flower.

Traps are everywhere.

 

The Last Thing You See explores the limit of visibility and knowledge in the natural world. (more info)

 

 

Gallery open:
Tues - Sat : 12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sun : 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Closed on Mondays and Public Holidays

 

222 Queen Street

#02-02

Singapore 188550

T: +65 6339 8655

 

www.2902gallery.com

Facebook : 2902 Gallery

 

Installation View


 

 

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World | Singapore Biennale 2013

22nd October 2013

World Goldfish Queen, from the series A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, 2013

 

A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World

Singapore Biennale 2013
Friday 25 October 2013 — Sunday 16 February 2014
10:00 am – 7:00 pm daily (last admission at 6.15pm)
The Peranakan Museum, Level 3
39 Armenian Street , Singapore 179941


All living things are constantly changing and evolving, adapting to cope with and respond to the various pressures that they face, such as predators, competition and environmental change. More recently, the human species has emerged as the single main perpetrator of the various pressures that threaten the survival of other life forms. A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World is an attempt to document the ways in which humankind has altered this planet, and continues to do so. A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the world is a project initiated by artist Robert Zhao Renhui.

"...Responding to the title of the Singapore Biennale 2013, “If The World Changed”, Zhao has created an installation titled A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, which seeks to document and reflect on the myriad ways in which human action and intervention are slowly altering the natural world. Based on the evolutionary premise that all living things constantly change and adapt to cope with and respond to their changing environments (or risk extinction), Zhao’s Guide presents a catalogue of curious creatures and life-forms that have evolved in often unexpected ways to cope with the stresses and pressures of a changed world. Other organisms documented in the installation are the results of human intervention, mutations engineered to serve various interests and purposes ranging from scientific research to the desire for ornamentation. 
Several specimens in this installation are based on fact; others are works of fiction. The line between these two is often an indistinct one, as scientific advances within the last half-century have made possible what was previously believed to be impossible. While drawing on the encyclopaedic tradition, which is premised on the basic human desire to catalogue and to order knowledge so as to better understand – and command - the world, Zhao’s Guide also questions the limits of these systems of collating, ordering and disseminating knowledge, by blurring the lines between fact and fiction, and oscillating between the modalities of science and art, thereby inviting us to consider the roles of these disciplines in our apprehension and understanding of the world." - Curator, Tan Siu Li

An installation of objects and photographs will be presented at The Perankan Museum.
The project is a Singapore Biennale 2013 Commission.

 

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http://www.singaporebiennale.org/?page=artist_bio&artist=52

http://criticalzoologists.org/guide/exhibition.html

 

Installation view, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World.
Installation of 26 diasecs, moon dust, robotic cockroach, banana plant bonsai, man-made grapes, 
European tiger mosquitoes, man-made eggs, medicinal eggs, unbreakable egg and long-life peanut

 

poster ICZ

A poster, 84cm x 59cm, designed by H55 also accompanies the installation.
Limited copies available through out the course of the Biennale. Supported by AlsoDominie

 

 

Book Launch

Sunday, 27 Oct | 6pm - 7pm Singapore Art Museum, Glass Hall
https://www.facebook.com/events/679667592051111/

Robert Zhao Renhui will launch his book, A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, in conjunction with his artwork at the Singapore Biennale 2013. The book contains 55 photographs and documents pertaining to the project and a unique opportunity to view the work through the artist's perspective.

 

BOOKDesigned by H55 in Singapore
2013
Edition of 500
55 plates with documents and booklets contained in a hand crafted archival box
34cm x 24cm x 4cm
Individually signed with a 21cm x 14.8cm artist issued print certificate

 

 

 

Singapore Art Museum | President's Young Talents

28th Jan 2013

A vision of the universe, from the series The Quieting and The Alarming, 2013
250cm x 150cm x 60cm
Diasec, Standing frame

(Exhibition view)

 

 

The Quieting and The Alarming
Thursday 24 January — Sunday 15 September 2013
Credit Suisse: Innovation In Art Series
Part of the President's Young Talents Exhibition
Singapore Art Museum


This project looks at the current status of the wild boar situation in Singapore. Without a natural predator, the population of wild boars here has exploded in the last few years. Wild boars are known to cause severe damage to the forest floor and the damage is very visible today in our central catchment nature reserves. The government has started to cull wild boars (one of the first to be culled was in June 2012 when a rogue boar attacked a boy) but this move was met with resistance from animal interest groups. Much of the debate hinged on ethical questions and the fear of upsetting a natural balance we did not yet fully understand. (..more)

 

Gallery open:
Mon - Thu: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

 

71 Bras Basah Road , Singapore, Singapore 189555
Tel: +65 6332 3222


www.singaporeartmuseum.sg/exhibitions/details.php?id=109

 

 

 

 

 

The Glacier Study Group | Engaging Perspectives - New Art From Singapore

Eskimo wolf trap often quoted in sermons
2013, Dimensions variable
Installation of diasec, eskimo knife, polyurethane, 200 kg of sodium bicarbonate

"Eventually, a wolf will approach the knife and begin to cautiously sniff and lick the frozen blood. After believing it is safe, the wolf will lick more aggressively. Soon, the blade of the knife becomes exposed and it begins to nick the wolf’s tongue. Because its tongue has been numbed by the cold of the frozen blood, the wolf is unaware that he is being cut, and the blood it now tastes is its own. Excited at the prospect of fresh, warm blood, the wolf will hungrily lick the blade all the more. In a short time, the wolf will grow dizzy and disoriented. In a matter of hours, it will die from blood loss, literally drinking itself to death. As horrible as this picture is, it illustrates an important truth."

(Exhibition view)


Group Exhibition | Curated by Eugene Tan

Saturday 26 January — Sunday 31 March 2013
Organised by Centre of Contemporary Art - NTU Singapore

Engaging Perspectives:New Art from Singapore will present works that engage with multifaced perspectives about Singapore by a generation of artists born in the 1980s and currently working in Singapore.

 

Gallery open:
Tues - Sun : 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays

 

Block 38, #01-07, Malan Road, Singapore
Gillman Barracks

http://www.gillmanbarracks.com/galleries-details.php?e=108

 

 

 

Chapter Gallery | Wales

28th April 2012

Blind Long-tailed Owl, Desert Variant of Little Owl from the series, As Walked on Water, 2011
Installation of vinyl print, 280cm x 194cm

(Exhibition view)

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists
Friday 27 April — Sunday 17 June 2012
Chapter Arts Center
Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

 

"The Blind Long-tailed Owl (2011), ‘watches’ over us at both the beginning and end of the exhibition - This owl has evolved a sight-sheltering plumage to cope with the desert conditions it has been forced into, due to de-forestation. This bird becomes a totem; it’s visual impairment /adaptation alludes to the limitations of the human regard for animals and suggests a change of perspective and abandoning of our assumptions about reality." (..more)

 

Chapter Gallery has worked in collaboration with the The Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ) to present its first UK survey exhibition that interrogates the boundaries between the seen and the unseen. exploring methods of allegorical representation and interpretation. This exhibition brings together commissioned projects by Zhao Renhui (an artist who works closely with the ICZ) and extracts from the Institute’s museum collection.

 

In March 2012, Zhao Renhui undertook a residency at the National Museum Cardiff that has informed part of the research for this exhibition. An installation by the artist is open in the Natural History Galleries at the Museum between 13 March and 17 June 2012. This exhibition is curated by Lauren Jury and Helen Warburton.


For more information about the exhibition, press images or to arrange an interview with the artist please contact Lauren Jury on 029 2031 1050 or email visual.arts@chapter.org


With assistance from Coutts Charitable Trust
Supported by The Singapore International Foundation

 

Exhibition PDF download

 


Gallery open:
Tuesday — Saturday 10am–8pm
Sunday 2pm–8pm
Closed Monday
Admission free Chapter Gallery, Chapter, Market Road, Cardiff CF5 1QE,
UK +44 (0)29 2031 1050

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Kind Of Expedition

4th Jan 2012

Expedition #10, From the series The Glacier Study Group (criticalzoologists.org/gsg)
121cm x 84cm, Archival Piezographic Print
Renhui Zhao

Some Kind Of Expedition

 

Presented by 2902 Gallery

 

Art Stage, Booth B1-08

12th-15th Jan. 2012

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

 

"The search for wildlife is also the search for authenticity and for the truth. It can be religious. We constantly
seek to impose meaning onto our relationship to the natural world." Zhao Renhui & Satoshi Kataoka (..more)
Working closely with The Institute of Critical Zoologists for the last five years, Zhao Renhui has been cataloguing,
classifying and creating photographs and objects around the scientific institution.

www.criticalzoologists.org/expedition

 

 

Zhao Renhui will also be presenting To be washed ashore on a deserted island with an animal on the horizon in the Singapore Showcase at Art Stage (Booth C7-01) in an exhibition curated by Dr. Charles Merewether , Island Allegories. A selection of some of The Institute of Critical Zoologists's projects carried out in Singapore between 2002-2011 will be presented in the exhibition. (..more)

 

"..Zhao Renhui aptly entitles his series of photographs: “To be washed ashore on a deserted island with an animal on the horizon.” To see the horizon, to see that we were and are not the first nor only inhabitants to occupy this island, that it was not made in ‘our’ image, that culture co-exists with nature. This is not an argument about origin but rather against the destructiveness of instrumentality..." Dr. Charles Merewether, on Island Allegories

www.criticalzoologists.org/horizon

 

 

Catalogue

 

A limited edition catalogue will also be available during the opening of the exhibition.
Essay by Zhao Renhui and Satoshi Kataoka.


The catalogue includes a special reprinted poster of important landmarked expeditions by the ICZ since 2001.


To order a copy please contact info@criticalzoologists.org with the subject header "Some Kind Of Expedition Catalogue"

Retail Price : £25 (Before Shipping)

SBN: 978-981-07-1212-9

 

 

Event

Art Stage Singapore

 

 

Supported By

The National Arts Council Singapore

 

A realised dream, Experiment #2, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

A Bird In The Hand

3rd July 2011

Minute Owl, from the series, Pulau Pejantan, 2009
121cm x 84cm, Archival Piezographic Print
Renhui Zhao

A Bird in the Hand

14 July – 3 September 2011

 

Private view 13 July 2011 (Wednesday), 6 – 8pm

 

Arts Gallery, University of the Arts London, 272 High Holborn, WC1V 7EY

 

"The work to follow is an exploration of these complexities and reminds us that birds occupy a large and central part of that universe that human beings constantly carve out of nature." Ding Li

 

“In contemporary society birds are, perhaps, both the most watched and most eaten animal on our planet. They have become a focal point of debates about a 'proper' relationship between humankind and nature, and about definitions of humanity itself.” Naoko Noguchi

 

Against the very real environmental drama unfolding across the globe, multidisciplinary artist Renhui Zhao presents the exhibition A Bird in the Hand. The exhibition invites viewers to step into the The Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ), a multilayered conceit that operates across an array of levels

 

Opening at the Arts Gallery on 14 July, the show is presented from the perspective of the ICZ and its team of scientists who pose the question: what is our relationship with nature?

 

Zhao creates elaborate scenarios or alternate realities to interrogate questions of art and artifice, credence and fantasy, and the borders of reality. Offering a retrospective of the Institute’s research, the show features a display of genuine artifacts with a collection of photographs from the ICZ.

 

"How do we celebrate 150 years of birdwatching?" Kimiya Yui

 

On show will be compelling objects and photographs from The ICZ’s extensive global research, including rare taxidermy birds from a species which have evolved to permanently close their eyes to protect them from the dust of drying landscapes, and The Institute’s own revolutionary “invisible” camouflage cloaks for watching animals.

 

The exhibition will also reveal artefacts from the Institute’s Tokyo museum including indigenous Philippine bird traps and documents of “miraculous” eggshells containing baby fish, alongside revelatory items from the Institute’s archive of wildlife smuggling methods in the form of specially designed smuggling undergarments retrieved by customs.

 

www.criticalzoologists.org/abirdinthehand

 

 

 

Catalogue

A limited edition catalogue will also be available during the opening of the exhibition.
Essays by Naoko Noguchi, Director of Social Programs, Ding Li, Expert in Bird Ecology and Kimiya Yui.
The catalogue includes a special reprinted poster of Norishige Kanai's celebrated 'Looking at birds' (1957).
To order a copy please contact info@criticalzoologists.org with the subject header "A Bird In The Hand Catologue"

 

 

 

 

Supported By

 

 

 

Cat. 4
Variant #7, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

A heartwarming feeling

20th November 2010

#121, after 321 days, Pin-hole camera by Okuro Oikawa.
Actual size : 1.1cmx 0.7cm

"On January 2008, I collaborated with the Yamshina Institute for Ornithology (a regional expert in bird banding) in an attempt to document this phenomenon during an artist residency. A group of a few thousand migratory birds were banded by the Institute over the course of two months. Besides banding the birds with a metal band on their legs, I included a small pin-hole camera near each band. Inside each camera was a very small sheet of positive photographic paper of extremely low sensitivity. The pin-hole exposed the image directly onto the paper, and allows for a positive image to be formed as long as there was light going through the pin-hole. The thousands of little pin-hole cameras were made with the help of a group of local school children.
On June 2010, 50 of the birds were dead found in the Arctic Circle. 30 of the birds still had their cameras intact and 12 of the cameras actually created an image of the bird's rather confused migratory journey to the Arctic. "

Zhao Renhui on A heartwarming feeling

 

Climate change has significant impact on birds. It can alter distribution, abundance and behavior. It can also affect events like bird migration.

Migration times are shifting and birds which are slow to change fail to migrate altogether.

We still know very little of how birds navigate and migrate over long distances. A recent phenomenon in the Arctic Circle is the emergence of mass bird graves. It seems as if different species of migrating birds due for the south has been flying the opposite direction, in an apparent act of suicide. Very little research has been done on this phenomenon.

Scientists argue that global warming might be a cause of this but has yet to show evidence of how this might be linked. One popular theory says that the melting of the ice caps might have affected the earth's magnetic field, something which the birds might have been using for navigation. Many critics dispute this claim and scientists are still looking for an explanation for this phenomenon.

 

www.criticalzoologists.org/heartwarming

 

 

#243, after 321 days.

A bird that was carrying a small pin-hole camera (1.21cm x 0.7cm) made by Tomimaru Okuni tied to its feet while the bird was in Japan. The bird and the camera were later retrieved from the Arctic Circlc after 321 days.

 

 

 

 

The whiteness of a whale

3rd October 2010

The white whale swimming in the ocean depths off the coast of Omishima, circa 1985

 

This is thought to be the only existing image of the white whale, a mysterious creature that had once held the Japanese village of Omishima in thrall. One of the oldest villagers alive, a man called Mr Kazuhiro Nagashima, said that his people had once placed an effigy of the whale in the sea off the coast of Omishima, and it probably still remains there today.

 

All the Antarctic Minke Whales in the world in 1984
400,500 photographs.15 x 10cm, white table.

From A Short Guide To Whale Watching, Dr Yoshio Masui

The title of this project is taken from an earlier work undertaken by Satoshi Kataoka to research and compile the numerous white whale sightings by The Whale People of Omishima between 1937 to 2008.

 

During a residency at Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Zhao Renhui was able to research the archives and interview the last remaining descendant of The Whale People. During the residency, he produced a series of documents and images for The Institute of Critical Zoologists discussing the political and cultural representations of this group of people.

 

This project is a compilation of their research, documents and interviews, produced in collaboration with The Institute of Critical Zoologists. It offers a unique perspective into the unwritten history of The Whale People of Omishima.

 

A booklet has also been produced for the project and is available through our website.

For more details, please email info@criticalzoologists.org.

 

www.criticalzoologists.org/whiteness

The 26th Phylliidae Convention, Tokyo

9th September 2010

Hiroshi Abe at the 8th Phylliidae Convention with Phyllium S. when he first entered the competition in 1991.

A special edition of the Phylliidae Study Journal has been created for last year's Phylliidae Convention.

Selected articles are available for viewing.

 

The Phylliidae Study Group from The Institute of Critical Zoologists has been studying camouflage insects for more than 50 years. The group holds regular meetings and presents displays at all the major entomological exhibitions in the world. The organisation places emphasis on study by rearing and captive breeding and has a panel of breeders who distribute livestock of different cultures to other members.

 

 

www.criticalzoologists.org/psg

 

 

 

 

daguerreotypeA Living Leaf - ‘As the wind travels through the foliage, the leaves move to their own life.’
Japanese daguerreotype, 1861, 12.9cm x 18.9cm. Meiji Era.
Collection of the Royal family, and now in the Royal Science Museum in Kobe, Japan.

 

Masahiro Koishikawa proposes that this Japanese daguerreotype (an old photograph) from 1861 is one of the very first depictions of a leaf insect in the modern world.

 

 

 

 

Matsuo Sugano presents Gather

3rd August 2010

matsuraFish in eggs, Small pond in French Alps, 2006, Matsura. A

In 2006, Zhao Renhui and Matsuo Sugano embarked on a project to work with the archives of the Institute of Critical Zoologists. During the project, Matsuo Sugano kept an online journal of his experience while working with the ICZ's archive. A selection of which has been made available here.

 

Gather is a two year collaboration project between Zhao Renhui and Matsuo Sugano.

 

www.criticalzoologists.org/gather

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists presents The whiteness of a whale

21st July 2010

 

customsThe white whale swimming in the ocean depths off the coast of Omishima, circa 1985

152x110cm

Archival Piezographic Print on Aluminium

This is thought to be the only existing image of the white whale, a mysterious creature that had once held the Japanese village of Omishima in thrall. One of the oldest villagers alive, a man called Mr Kazuhiro Nagashima, said that his people had once placed an effigy of the whale in the sea off the coast of Omishima, and it probably still remains there today.

Zhao Renhui & Satoshi Kataoka
A project with The Institute of Critical Zoologists


About the exhibition


Residents of the Southern Japanese seaside village Omishima are often called “The Whale People”, or kujira no hitobito, people who live among whales. They got their name because of their obsessive and bizarre worship of whales and all things whale-related.

 

In 1937, something happened that seized the entire village's imagination: a monk reported a sighting of a white whale along the village coast. Thus the search for the white whale began. The villagers raised funds to build a massive underwater tower in the middle of the ocean, which took more than ten years to complete. They had to cross a five-mile bridge on foot to reach the tower, all in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the white whale if returned.

 

In 1960, a boat with an iconic white whale’s tail was built to carry out more search expeditions for the
white whale. The boat had an underwater viewing chamber which, on a clear day, allowed the villagers
to see up to 5 miles through the ocean depths.

 

Today, few residents remember this way of life, although the watch tower and the boat are still around.
A few still continue the search for the white whale

 

Opening reception, 27 July 2010, Tuesday, 7pm
Jendela (Visual Arts Space) Level 2, Esplanade Mall, Singapore

Refreshments will be provided.


RSVP by 25 July 2010, Sun, to shihan@2902gallery.com or call 6339 8655

 

28 July 2010 - 1 Aug 2010 (Tue - Sun)
11am - 8.30pm (Mon - Fri)
10am - 8.30pm (Sat & Sun)
Jendela (Visual Arts Space)

 

Level 2, Esplanade Mall
1 Esplanade Drive
Singapore 038981

 

3 Aug 2010 - 22 Aug 2010
11am - 8pm (Tues - Sat)
1pm - 6pm (Sun)
Closed on Monday and Public Holidays


2902 Gallery

Old School, 11b Mount Sophia
#B2-09, Singapore 228466

 

eggs

All the Antarctic Minke Whales in the world in 1984, computer analytical image from Godvision II

152cm x 110cm in 24 parts

Archival Piezographic Print on Aluminium

 

Cetacean researchers are obsessed with the total global population of whales. Images from
expeditions are compiled and fed into a program called Godvision to calculate each
species’ population and distribution. In 1984, the program calculated the world’s population
of Antarctic Minke Whales to be 400,500.

 

Image courtesy of The Institute of Critical Zoologists

 

eggsTemple of the whales #2, Omishima, 2005
121 cm x 84 cm
Archival Piezographic Print on Aluminium

 

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists presents A Guide to the Common Flora and Fauna of the World

4th January 2010

 

customsLeft : Australian Customs Service
Right : Artist's Book, A Guide To The Common Flora and Fauna of the World

“We have just successfully smuggled a very endangered gecko through the mail. Or almost.”


A Guide to the Common Flora and Fauna of the World is inspired by a real-life smuggling case where 15 endangered geckos were concealed in hollowed-out books and transported out of Australia, only to be intercepted by the country's customs. Using the mail route for smuggling has been one of the most effective and preferred methods to evade international customs, and wildlife activists have often criticised the loopholes in enforcement in this area.

 

For the M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2010, The Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ) sent similar books containing replicas of the gecko and apparatus giving the impression of hidden life within these packages, from various countries back to Singapore. Part of this exhibition showcases the returned contents and documentation of any procedures and correspondence pertaining to the “trafficking”. Through this, the Institute explores the human/animal relationship through wildlife trafficking, by actively engaging the laws prohibiting that in various countries.

 

Dr Yong's Archive

 

Between 1995 and 2006, Prof Yong worked at the ICZ as a curator of reptiles. His primary research area was in genomics and morphology genetics of reptiles. One of his greatest successes was the creation of ‘albino tortoises’. He often cited a 1981 National Geographic article as inspiration for his research. The article was about the first albino python which was successfully bred in Bangkok. The article also inspired many other people to collect and breed reptiles, thus giving birth to a new industry of reptile collection through out the world.

 

Prof Yong also became a legend in the wildlife smuggling circuit. During a routine archival digitization exercise, the ICZ discovered his archive of books, photographs, documents and research on wildlife smuggling. He had devised hundreds of ways to smuggle reptiles. To the most high-profile smugglers of the world, he was called the bookman, for his ingenious use of tomes to hide animals.

 

Our story of Dr. Yong's archive begins with the discovery of the world's largest encyclopedia, "A Guide To The Common Flora And Fauna Of The World" to be exhibited for the first time. Also in the exhibition are rare documentations and photographs of his experimentation in wildlife smuggling and his work on the genetic morphology of reptiles. Coinciding with the 14th anniversary of the ICZ, A Guide To The Common Flora And Fauna Of The World is an exhibition in the Jendela Gallery, Esplanade (Singapore) that explores a controversial chapter of the human/animal relationship.

 

A Guide to the Common Flora and Fauna of the World is presented and commissioned by M1 Singapore Fringe Festival Singapore 2010 & The Institute of Critical Zoologists, Japan.

 

Special thanks to Dr. Agata Marzec (Estonia), Tristan C (Finland), Dr. Jessica S.F (New York), Dr. Ferran Izquierdo (Barcelona), Ang S.N (London), Dr. Eiffel Chong T.Chin (Malaysia), Z.Y Wong (Beijing), Miriam Seto (Hong Kong), Dr. Agung Nugroho W (Yogyakarta), Dr. Nicholas W (Brisbane) & Zuzana Golierova (Bratislava) for their kind assistance and time for making this exhibition possible.

 

M1 Fringe Festival 2010, Art & The Law

 

7th - 24th January 2010
11am - 8.30pm (Mon - Fri)
10am - 8.30pm (Sat & Sun)
Esplanade - Jendela (Visual Arts Space) Singapore


Silent opening, Thursday, 7th Janaury, 7.30pm - 8.30pm.
Representatives from the institute will be present in the gallery during the silent opening.

 

eggsBirds
121 cm x 84 cm
Archival Piezographic Print
Courtesy of The Institute of Critical Zoologists. (Dr. Yong's Archive)

 

eggs52 cockatoo and macaw eggs
121 cm x 84 cm
Archival Piezographic Print
Courtesy of The Institute of Critical Zoologists. (Dr. Yong's Archive)

 

www.singaporefringe.com

www.criticalzoologists.org

 

 

 

 

New discovery of New Island Species, Biodiversity, Sand dunes and a Black Geyser on Pulau Pejantan

17th October 2009

cormorantWallace's Greater Black Cormorant Diving, 2009
Journey to Pulau Pejantan onboard Sea-Farer II, 11th January

 

wormsGlow Worms, 2009
Day 120, Madura Forest, Weeping Tree.

 

Minute Owl, 2009
Day 61, Camera Trap No.168, Madura Forest

Pulau Pejantan is a remote island of Indonesia. Nick-named Sand Forest Island, Pulau Pejantan is a unique island with extremely unique geographical features and biodiversity. Virtually undiscovered till June 2005, the island boosts a treasure trove of unique species that is found no where else in the world such as the bizarre sand worms which moves about like packs of snakes around the island's dune to the Lantern Fish which greets you in the sea before you reach the island.

 

Isolated in the Pacific Ocean, about 70% of the estimated 600 species found on the island exist nowhere else on the globe. The island is home to such evolutionary oddities as the Ghost Hare, a black and white hound like animal, pale-white reptiles and birds which has adapted to the sand dunes and forest habitat, spiny burrowing ant-eaters, and the rock pheasant, a bird that lives in the sand dunes.

 

Long Tail Paradise Crow, 2009
Day 9, Setting up of Mist Net for specimen collection

 

 

Interview
Dr. Darrel Covman on The Institute of Critical Zoologist's Discovery of New Island Species, Biodiversity, Sand dunes and a Black Geyser on Pulau Pejantan. (read more)

 

...excerpt from the interview,
How has the speciation process on Pulau Pejantan differed from comparable regions?

"Pulau Pejantan is unique in being a stable system regarding the environmental conditions the fauna lives in. There is a thick fog that covers the island from morning to late afternoon and underneath the dunes are black clay and mud, which explains why the geyser is black. The organisms living there are highly adapted to living in these conditions. It is clear that these organisms have their origins on warmer regions, but they have been challenged by strong environmental stresses such as the morning fogs and sand dunes. This means that these organisms have evolved solely on the island, so only species that are able to cope with great temperature and environmental variation would be able to survive. This is a very important driver for the Pejantan species, and was actually corroborated by ICZ’s data. Another characteristic of Pulau Pejantan is the fact that the dunes surrounding its semi-tropical forest is much cooler than the beaches on other islands, allowing easier animal movement between the dunes and the forest. A few species have adapted to life in the dunes and the forest. These are two examples of the main speciation drivers in this region." - Dr Darrel Covman

 

Images from the recent expedition from January to April, 2009 are also available on our website.

 

From now till the 21st of October 2009, selected/limited images from the expedition will be on shown in Gallery 2902, Singapore.

More information : http://www.2902gallery.com

Pacific Lantern Fish surfacing off the coast of Pulau Pejantan, 2009

 

 

The Animal traps collection from the Institute of Critical Zoologist’s Museum is also online now (here)

 

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists at the Substation

29th April 2009

 

if a tree falls in the forest


featuring resident artist, Zhao Renhui

 

 

Snowy Owl

Soon Bo's Cold Room and Shelves, 2008

Tottori Desert

Kings, Tottori Desert Cockroaches, 2008

 

Tottori Desert artist-led expedition, 2008

 

ICZ musuem collection, Taiwan fish memorabilia and Philippines Chicken Trap

If a tree falls in the forest by The Institute of Critical Zoologists questions our views and relationships with animals. They are prey, pets, trinkets, trophies and pests. This exhibition makes subversive changes in the way we observe animals and illustrates how these changes can alter perceptions and interpretations and ultimately question the human to animal relationship.


if a tree falls in the forest, an exhibition curated by the Institute, questions our conceptions and relationships with animals. As Mr Tomo Kawasaki, Director of The Institute of Critical Zoologists, has explained: “the ICZ promotes discussion about the principles and practices of animal spectatorship, animal advocacy, animal killing and animal-related policies across the fields of entertainment, social science, commerce, culture and ecology. We hope that viewers will look upon animals in a different light after seeing this exhibition.”

 

if a tree falls in the forest is made up of three parts: Before the flood is a live performance* that features hundreds of mousetraps springloaded with ping pong balls. Each ping pong ball represents one of the thousands of mouse species in the world. The performance is accompanied by a showcase of the Institute’s collection of animal traps from around the world. Also on show are animal memorabilia from around the globe in the ICZ museum collection.

 

Kings is a collection of rare white Tottori cockroaches, from the Tottori sand dunes of Japan; these creatures exemplify how animals are assigned a certain “status” based on their aesthetic appeal. The specimens are presented with projects by previous artists-in-residence who have been inspired by these curious creatures. They include Zhao Renhui’s artist-led expedition into the Tottori Desert and Sokkuan Tye’s Japanese print.

 

Soon Bo’s Cold Room and Shelves is a series of photographs of animals from the collection of taxidermist and biologist, the late Soon Bo. His love for animals and his skill as a taxidermist resulted in a bizarre collection of specimens, accumulated over many years. Zhao Renhui, member and a resident artist of the ICZ, spent a short time as Soon Bo’s student in taxidermy; for Zhao, “This collection blurs the lines between the natural and the artificial, as the animals stare back at you with questions in their glassy eyes, and an eerie hint of life in their bodies.”

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists aims to develop a critical approach to the zoological gaze, or how humans view animals other than ourselves. Urban societies live in relative isolation from animals, and yet the demands that we put upon animals has increased tremendously over the last century. Animals are agriculture, prey, pets, trinkets, trophies and pests. And while gazing upon them is desirable and pleasurable, our visual apprehensions are not wholly natural; rather, these perceptions produce meanings and values that are culturally constructed. Moreover, in viewing the animal, humans cannot but refract the social and political contexts and values in which such observations take place.

 

2nd to 20th May
11am to 8pm daily
, closed on public holidays

 

The Substation Gallery

45 Armenian Street

Singapore 179936
Admission is free


Opening reception: 2nd May, Saturday, 4pm, The Substation Gallery

Guest-of-Honour: Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo)
Also present, Dr. Tomo Kawasaki, Director, Institute of Critical Zoologists

*Special one-time sound performance by Hayashida Ken with the ignition of more then 300 spring loaded mousetraps.

 

There will be a limited edition catalog for sale at the exhibition.

 

 

Presented by : The Substation &The Institute of Critical Zoologists

Supported by : LEE FOUNDATION & The Singapore National Arts Council

 

www.substation.org

www.criticalzoologists.org

 

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists in Singapore

17th April 2009

This May, The Institute of Critical Zoologists will be having an exhibition featuring works from past and current artists who have worked with our archives.

 

Email : info@criticalzoologists.org with the subject line as : 'Join' to subscribe to our mailing list.

Forest

The Blind, 2009

 

The Institute of Critical Zoologists at Pickford's Museum

23rd February 2009

The Institute of Critical Zoologists and Format International Photography Festival presents :

The Ark Project

Black Gibbon Trap

Document from the Trap Vitrine, 2009

Acusis Cam

Acusis Live Webcam Streaming Feeds, 2009

Unknown Flowerpecker with pressure points marked, possible Meiji period

Traps
Vitrine of Animal Traps

 

EarthwormFrom the Animal Traps Collection, 2009

With the support of Singapore National Arts Council, Derby City Council, University of Derby, Arts Council of England, QUAD and Pickford's Museum, The Institute of Critical Zoologists / Zhao Renhui is proud to take part in this year's Format festival, United Kingdom's leading contemporary photography and media festival. The festival aims to celebrate the wealth of contemporary practice in international photography. The Institute will be showing its museum collection for the exhibition. The objects on show includes original Acusis woodblock prints, animal traps & specimens from the ICZ collection and documents from the ICZ's archive.

Duration : 1st March 2009 - 5th April 2009
Pickford's Museum, Top Floor Gallery
Derby, United Kingdom


"...For this exhibition, our artist in residence, Singaporean Artist Zhao Renhui, has painstakingly selected some representative documents from our massive archives and artefacts from our museum collection.

The ICZ museum collection comprises an extensive inventory of animal memorabilia and souvenirs that can be bought off the internet, tourist trinket shops and gift shops around the world. For Format, we have selected the an important piece from our collection by renowned Japanese zoologist Hayashida Oishi.

The ICZ also has a substantial collection of animal traps. We have chosen to show a snake trap, a gibbon trap and the curious earthworm trap found in a remote village in Nepal.

Finally, one of our flagship projects, Acusis, is being presented in Photocinema. Acusis is a method of extending the lifespan of endangered animals by performing acupuncture on them to induce a state of torpor and decreased physiological activity. Animals under Acusis are revived every five years to reproduce with another revived animal. The television screens show live video feed from web cams installed in our laboratory of the Tomaya Flowerpecker and the Rainbow Trout. The Institute of Critical Zoologists celebrates the reintroduction of more than 200 rare birds, bred at the Institute's laboratories, to the wild by the Acusis Program. The Institute of Critical Zoologists is also taking this chance to celebrate the reintroduction of more than 200 rare Sarina's Flowerpecker, bred at the Institute's laboratories, to the wild by the Acusis Program...."

Hayshida Toko
Chairman, Institute of Critical Zoologists


www.formatfestival.com/exposure/pickfords-house/renhui-zhao

www.derbyquad.co.uk

 

Institute of Critical Zoologists / We decided to go to the zoo but it was raining

15th October 2008

The Blind

The Blind, 2008

The Institute of Critical Zoologists will be holding a public installation entitled "We decided to go to the zoo but it was raining" at the Cify of Levallois, France.

With the kind support of Epson France and the Cultural Board of Levallois, The Institute of Critical Zoologists will be holding a public exhibition at l’Escale, The Cultural Center of the City of Levallois, France. The exhibition was awarded a special mention in the augural Photo-Levallois Festival. The Institute will be showing its annual report and a summary of her projects in this special exhibition. It will consist of 114 documents from the Institute's archive.

 

The exhibition will be held from 17th November 2008 to 13th December 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Institute of Critical Zoologists / Singapore / Renhui Zhao / Yong Ding Li

14th October 2008

Dr Bu

Dr. Cheng Bu, Presentation at Dublin Zoo and Museum, 1999

The Institute of Critical Zoologists will be holding a public presentation at the Singapore National Museum on the 14th October 2008.

The Institute of Critical Zoologists public presentation at the Singapore National Museum on the 14th October 2008.

 

As part of The Institute's engagement with the public, The Institute will be giving an evening presentation of the Institute's recent iniatives, research and projects. Join Artist Renhui Zhao/Yong Ding Li for an evening presentation where he will explore the representations of the animal within the projects of The Institute of Critical Zoologists at the National Museum of Singapore.

 

14th October 2008

National Museum of Singapore, Seminar Room

2100-2200 hrs

Please kindly be seated by 2045 hrs.

 

 

 

 

Tomaya's Flowerpecker breeding tops century

30th May 2008

Tomaya's Flowerpecker, Revival Stage of Acusis, 2008

Tomaya's Flowerpecker, Revival Stage of Acusis, 2008

More than 200 rare birds bred through Acusis at the ICZ's laboratories for reintroduction to wild.

 

Celebrations are taking place at ICZ's museum this week with news that more than 200 rare flowerpeckers have been bred this year for reintroduction into the wild.

In fact, a staggering 226 chicks have been successfully hatched and raised to chicks through Acusis at the ICZ, far more than was hoped and giving a massive boost to the re-introduction project at the Yaeyama Islands.

The project is managed jointly by the Institute of Critical Zoologists, the Veterinary Acupuncture Center in Beijing, the Japan Laboratory of Endangered Species and the Biostatsis Institute in Fukuoka who run the laboratories at the ICZ, who work with hunters, trappers and collectors in the area to allow these beautiful and rare birds to remain in the area.

At the Yaeyama Islands, each batch of chicks is first given a health check by ICZ vet, Nicholas Woo, and then released to the wild. The project began with 1 bird released in 1997, this increased to about 85 in 2002, 105 in 2005, and 150 in 2006. This year’s number has exceeded all expectations.

ICZ's Head of Ornithology, Dr. Yong, who has been in charge of inducing Acusis on the adults said: “It’s just great to have surpassed 200. When we set up the project eleven years ago, 20 birds was the target we’d set ourselves and this is just amazing."

“Obviously, the more birds we can release the better the chance that they will come back and a sustainable population can be created in the Yaeyama Islands."

The Tomaya's Flowerpecker is just one of the few success stories from the Acusis Laboratories at the ICZ. Previous success stories include the successful re-introduction of the Yellow Chested Imperial Finch.

Notes to editors

* The Tomaya's Flowerpecker is one of the most threatened breeding bird species in the world. It started to disappear from Japan more than a century ago, because of the introduction of mechanized and intensive trapping methods. Today this relative of the more familiar Sunda flowerpecker only breeds in the Acusis Laboratories where conservationists have been working intensively with local trappers and collectors to ensure the bird’s continued survival.
* After release the birds will migrate to the Artic and on average 1% will return.
* Breeding is carried out at ICZ's Acusis Laboratories where healthy breeding adults under go artificial hibernation. The adults are revived every 2 years to breed. (The project's mission is to help save endangered animals from extinction. It does this by extending the lifespan of the thousands of animals that are expected to disappear within the next few years.) Breeding takes a total of 39 days, after which the adults are put through Acusis again. The chicks are then fed around the clock on the hour for the first 4-5 days. After 10-14 days they are taken to the Yaeyama Islands for release, once they are health checked and provided they are the correct weight.


The Death Dance, the ICZ acquires lost specimen

1st May 2008

The Death Dance By Hayashida Oishi

The Death Dance by Hayashida Oishi, ICZMZ/113, The ICZ collection

 

Pair of scorpions in amber, circa 1950s, Giant Blue Scorpions in Amber, 18cm x 5cm, On display in Special Exhibits room

The ICZ is delighted to announce the acquisition of one of Hayshidai's Oishi most treasured and copied, widely known as 'The Death Dance'. This small devotional work was made for the late Dr.Ailaimaishua, a founder of critical zoology in Japan. The scorpions was presumed lost until it was sold at auction in London in July 1949. An exchange in collections with a private dealer allowed the ICZ to purchase it in June 2006. This specimen joins a distinguished collection of twenty other specimen made by the scientist in the Museum's collection, each of which represents a different aspect of Hayashida's art and research.

'The Death Dance' is one of the first specimens to apply an imposing Surrealistic composition to an intimately scaled specimen of the Asian Forest Scorpion. The Surrealistic style was established by Hayashida Oishi in his realistic decorations of the Prehistoric Room, Japan and in a few speciemens such as 'The Lost Hands' made just before 1930. In these works he realised a creative synthesis of the scorpions by encasing them in re-worked amber in a permanent death dance.

The purchase of this specimen was made possible by recent legacies to the ICZ and a generous donation by Zhong Yao Ren.

Notes to editors: Some other specimens by Hayshida Oishi in the ICZ collection:

'The Lost Hands', circa. 1930;
'Smallest Bee', circa. 1930;
'The Prayer during his Temptation', about 1960;

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2012, Institute of Critical Zoologists