posted by Phil Akashi Studio on Sunday, March 26, 2017
As a finalist of the Arte Laguna Prize in the section “Sculptures and Installations”, Phil Akashi won the Special Prize “OPEN” with his installation "the Circle of Time". The Arte Laguna Prize is an international art award organized by MoCA Italia and aimed at enhancing Contemporary Art. This major collective exhibition is taking place in the historical location of the Arsenale in Venice from 25th of March till 9th of April 2017 with all the finalist artists. The prestigious venue in the lagoon city hosts the exhibition of 30 works of painting, 30 sculptures and installations, 30 works of photographic art, 10 videos, 10 land art projects, 5 performances which will be performed live during the exhibition's opening ceremony.
With the Special Prize “OPEN”, Phil Akashi is invited to come back to Venice and to participate to the prestigious sculptures and installations exhibition "OPEN" in September during the 57th Venice Biennale 2017. Since 1998, many important artists like Keith Haring, Bernard Venet, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Yoko Ono, Julian Schnabel, Marc Quinn, Dennis Hopper, Mimmo Rotella, César, Arman, Niki de Saint Phalle, Richard Long have exposed to OPEN.
The international jury of the Arte Laguna Prize 2017 is composed of museums and foundations directors, independent curators and art critics:
- Paolo Colombo, art advisor for the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art (Turkey),
- Nav Haq, senior curator at M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp (Belgium),
- Salvador Nadales, curator at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Spain),
- Tamara Chalabi, chair and co-founder of the Ruya Foundation (Iraq),
- Igor Zanti, curator and art critic (Italy),
- Emanuele Montibeller, direttore artistico Arte Sella (Italy),
- Suad Garayeva, curatorial director of Yarat Contemporary Art Centre (Azerbaijan),
- Ilaria Gianni, curator and art critic (Italy),
- Flavio Arensi, art critic (Italy),
- Fatos Ustek, independent curator & writer (United Kingdom),
- and Alma Zevi, curator and art critic (Italy).
THE CIRCLE OF TIME
Ink on fine art paper, bamboo, hemp rope, leather, and metal with seal imprints with Chinese characters:
冬/“winter”, 春/“spring”, 夏/“summer”, 中/“middle”, and 秋/“fall”. Venice Arsenale 2017. 4 x 4 x 3,35 m
The installation “The Circle of Time” (2016) is part of the Ying Yang Handover series (2013, ongoing) in which Phil Akashi investigates the politics of power and democracy. Using a metaphor to compare the handover of Hong Kong to China with one of the hallmarks of the traditional Chinese philosophy, the theory of the Five Elements* (五行), Phil Akashi engages the viewers in a meditative experience about the global crisis of democracy.
The heart of the installation is a traditional Chinese circle fan representing the harmonious and gradual integration of Hong Kong with the motherland. The fan is composed of five hundred thousand seal imprints with Chinese characters relative to the five seasons of the Five Elements*. In his own language, the artist observes and tries to understand how a “one country, two systems” should become a “one country, one system”, in a cyclic and harmonious transition, just as one season hands over to another.
By hanging an empty bamboo sandglass representing 50 years of time, tied with BDSM leather and rope, on top of the circle fan, the artist infuses a sense of fragility and ephemerality to the political promises, creating a poetic and symbolic sense of emptiness. Since the British handover in 1997, the constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping, ”One country, two systems" guarantees that Hong Kong's economic and political systems will not be changed for 50 years. For many observers, the reality is far more uncertain as the due date of 2047 seems to come ahead of schedule.
"By presenting this poetic yet provocative installation, I hope to both challenge the fragile state of democracy in the world as well as to bring awareness about the importance of freedom of speech and active participation, as citizens, in politics and civic life.” Phil Akashi
* The Five Elements, which are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal, represent the tangible activities of Yin and Yang as manifested in the cyclic changes of nature, which regulate life on earth. These elements correspond to energy, also known as Qi (气) in each season. Water dominates in winter (冬) and nourishes plants and trees (wood) in spring (春); wood makes fire in summer (夏) which burns into ashes to form earth in late summer (中); late summer is the fifth season and is seen as a transitional time (中); earth is the source of metal in autumn (秋); metal can be melted into liquid or condensed to water. This is the cyclic and natural order.