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Contemporary Art Exhibition Documentation Project II: " Let's Talk about Money--1st International Fax Art Exhibition in Shanghai 1996"

Author: Lu Leiping 2011

Contemporary Art Exhibition Documentation Project II:
" Let's Talk about Money--1st International Fax Art Exhibition in Shanghai 1996"

Exhibition Title: Let's Talk about Money—1st International Fax Art Exhibition in Shanghai 1996
Location: Shanghai Hua Shan Art School Gallery (Shanghai Yi Fu Vocational School - Hua Shan Department now)
Date: Mar.15 - Mar.25 1996
Fax Receiving Date: Mar.1 - Mar.20 1996
Fax Number: 0086-21-62413745 (Ding Yi), 0086-21-62121413 (Zhou Tiehai)
Curator: Hank Bull (Canada), Ding Yi, Shi Yong, Shen Fan, Zhou Tiehai
Artists: 101 artists and organizations.
JAPAN:Akihiko Morishita , IDEAL COPY, Junko Yono, Tetsuo Kogawa;
USA: Debi Hayes-Bartlett, Eduardo Kac, Florida State Universit , Hanna Snyder , Ingo Gunther , Joseph P.Shea , Lilian A.Bell , Reed Altemus,Peter Fend ,Julia Driscoll & Cheryl Hughes;
Canada: Anne Milne, Corsican Joke , Diane Roblin, Fraser S.Finlayson , Hank Bull , Johannes Zits , Marie-Josée Lafortune , OBORO Gallery, Western Front, BIAN Yizhong,John G. Boehme;
Holand: Auke Wassenaar, BBK*GSS , Edward Zajel, Marten Winters , Wim Bors;
German: Io? Bsaffort, Peggy Kames, Peter B?thig, Pietro Pellini + Yola Berbesz , Roland Bergere-France ,REN rong, Klaus Haller & Glorla Meszaros;
France: Jean- Francais Robic, Norman Wade Company, FEI Dawei;
Belgium:Commander G. Lafou,Guy Bleus;
Australia:Jane Dyer,Tony Scott;
Italy: Giovanni Nicolini, Monica Dematte;
Hungary:Artpool,Nemeth Hogyal,Szilvia Reischel,Felado;
Mexico:Armando Rodriguez,Maris Bustamente Mex;
Russia: Vladimir Mroneko;
Argentina:Martin Alejandro Fumarola;
Uruguay: Padin;
Austria:Robert Adrian;
Philippines:Santiago Bose;
China: CHAI Yimin, CHENG Hangfeng, CHEN Yanyin, CHEN Zhen, DING Yi, GAO Hongxiang, GU Lei, GUO Bin, HAO Jing, HU Jieming, HU Zhiying, JI Wenyu, JIANG Chongwu, LE Jian, LI Xiaoyan, PU Jie, QIAN Weikang, QIN Yifeng, SHEN Fan, SHI Yong, WANG Shanxiang, XIANG Nong, XIAO Jun, XUE Song, YANG Peiyun, YIN Jun, ZHANG Haier, ZHANG Ying & SHI Yong, ZHAO Baokang, ZHU Qi, ZHUANG Ji, CHENG Qiang, WANG Yue, HU Jianwei, CHEN Song, ZHOU Tiehai, XU Zhen, HUANG Shaogen, NI Weihua, ZHANG xin, anonyms

After the documentation of "Express Delivery Exhibition Dial 62761232" in 2010,  "Let's Talk about Money—1st International Fax Art Exhibition in Shanghai 1996" is the second Contemporary Art Exhibition Documentation project by ShanghART Taopu. The “Fax Art Exhibition” was held 8 years earlier than the “Dial 62761232”. And the participants, artworks and their contexts vary enormously. However, there is something similar between those two exhibitions. In concept, both fax and express delivery are mailing ways. They are both solutions to transfer information in human civilization, and they try to discuss the relationship between art and medium in different directions. In form, they are both concentrated in the concept of exhibition with small sized artworks at low cost. In terms of participants, both two exhibitions are involved with lots of people. During the “Fax Art Exhibition” in 1996, more than a hundred artists, designers and students from 17 countries participated in it. While in "Express Delivery Exhibition", besides 42 artists and their artworks, 15 couriers who delivered and displayed the exhibition, and the viewers who telephoned to book the exhibition were all the participants. Thus, the “Fax Art Exhibition” will be interestingly compared with the last “Express Delivery Exhibition” by both researchers and viewers.

In 1996, when Canadian curator Hank Bull and Shi Yong, Ding Yi, Zhou Tiehai and other Shanghai artists discussed to hold such an exhibition, using fax as the core medium was soon accepted by the team since fax was the most inexpensive and instant global communication media at that time. Since 1970s when fax machine was invented, it was spread all over the world in 1980s. Meanwhile, it became a medium of art creation. Let's Talk about Money—1st International Fax Art Exhibition in Shanghai 1996 was held in the age of economy globalization when fax was the most popular communication media. It was an exhibition with low cost but the topic was “Money”. Definitely, people have always talked excitedly about money in this economic world. Then, Hank Bull sent out the invitation of “Fax Art Exhibition” from Western Front Art Center in Vancouver, Canada. From March 1 in 1996, artists from different countries sent their works to Ding Yi's and Zhou Tiehai's fax machines (which were the only two fax machines among all the Shanghai artists at that time). The fax copies were then displayed one by one in Shanghai Hua Shan Art School Gallery. The exhibition was opened on Mar 15. Until the end of the exhibition Mar 25, the gallery was displayed full of images and texts about concept of currency and the relationship between money and politics.

After 1996, PC and internet came to China and replaced fax in communication. The 1st Shanghai Fax Art Exhibition became the only one in China. After 15 years, the images and texts on the heat-sensitive fax paper are disappearing day by day. It became a task to save the missing memory of art through scanning, preserving, reading and filing. There are two steps for our work flows. Step 1, we try to reproduce all the fax copy and relevant documents including posters, pictures on the scene, invitations, press releases, catalog scripts and so on. Step 2, in this coming September, we will show some original artworks (The original artworks for fax at that time and unfortunately some of them could not be found any more) and some interviews and researches of relevant curator and artists.

We realize that we can’t reproduce the past in 100% through researching in the old files. In fact, unlearning and losing are a part of history. And the limited document collection, record and preservation are not just to figure the incomplete outline. We would like to consider it as a new start of an interesting art journey.

Lu Leiping
Jun, 2011
The Project is managed by ShanghART Taopu and Hipic Picture study group


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