Ambiguous Ambassador

Works by Tseng Kwong Chi

NEW YORK

October 1 – November 2, 2002

Lake Ninevah, Vermont

1985

Modern gelatin silver print, Edition of 25

20 x 16 in (50 x 40 cm)

Monument Valley, AZ

1988, Modern sepia-toned print, Edition of 15

14 x 11 in (35 1/2 x 28 cm)

Kamakura, Japan

1988

Modern gelatin silver print, Edition of 25

20 x 16 in (50 x 40 cm)

Paris, France

1983

Modern gelatin silver print, Edition of 25

20 x 16 in (50 x 40 cm)

Tseng Kwong Chi: Ambiguous Ambassador is held to coincide with the 30 th Anniversary season of Ping Chong & Company at La MaMa. Born in Hong Kong in 1950, Tseng Kwong Chi arrived in New York in 1978, after studying in Vancouver and Paris. He died of AIDS in 1990 of age 39.

A welcome addition to the East Village art scene, Tseng Kwong Chi started dressing in the Mao uniform that symbolized a potent stereotype for western observers. As participant and observer, Tseng made a series of group portraits of the artists who gravitated there, including Kenny Scharf, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and above all Keith Haring. As an exotic intruder, he documented the more fashionable festivities at the Metropolitan Museum such as Diane Vreeland's The Party of the Year for his Costumes at the Met portfolio in 1980.

In his most extensive series - East Meets West (also known as The Expeditionary Series) Tseng was both photographer and subject. Between 1979 and 1990 Tseng traveled all over the United States and throughout the world, inserting his own image in front of famous landmarks.

In 1990, Tseng's sister, the acclaimed choreographer-dancer, Muna Tseng collaborated with distinguished experimental director Ping Chong in SlutForArt, a tribute to her talented and beloved brother. Incorporating dance, sound and the photographs of Tseng Kwong Chi, SlutForArt has been described by Muna Tseng as a personal elegy that is also a tribute to "the death of the art community and an era ravaged by AIDS." It won the prestigious "Bessie" Award (New York Dance and Performance Award) in 1990 for Muna Tseng and Ping Chong.

As a photographer and unorthodox performer, Tseng Kwong Chi was one of the most pungent commentators on the eighties, the decade that coincided with his mature work. As a self described "inquisitive traveler, a witness of my time, and ambiguous ambassador," it now seems that he was ahead of his time in his grasp of issues of identity and cultural imperialism that have become so important to contemporary artists worldwide.

10月1日前波画廊将举行《曾广智─暧昧大使》的展览,届时张平公司(Ping Chong & Co.)也会在La MaMa剧院庆祝其30周年记念。曾广智(Tseng Kwong Chi)于1950年出生于香港,在温哥华和巴黎学习后于1978年来到美国。他1990年不幸死于爱滋病,享年39岁。

中山装是西方人印象里中国人的典型形象。曾广智的这种装束使他很快受到纽约东村艺术圈的欢迎。他作为参与者同时又是旁观者,拍下了一系列聚积在那里的艺术家的相片,其中包括肯尼薛夫(Kenny Scharf),简米协公交车(Jean-Michel Basquiat),安迪沃和(Andy Warhol),而最重要的恐怕是凯西哈林(Keith Haring)。作为具有异国风情的“入侵者”,他记录了在大都会博物馆举行的一些时尚庆典。比如他在1980年的作品“大都会博物馆中的时装”系列里捕捉了戴安菲澜(Diane Vreeland)的《今年的宴会》展览活动。

在他最大规模的系列作品《东方会见西方》里(East Meets West),曾广智既是摄影师又是被摄影的对象。从1979年到1990年他周游美国和世界各地,将自己的影像直接插入着名的名胜古迹之中。

1990年曾广智的妹妹,舞蹈艺术家和编导曾筱竹(Muna Tseng)和着名的导演张平(Ping Chong)合作,创作了名为《为艺术堕落》的作品,综合运用舞蹈,声音和曾广智的照片,作为她对其深爱的哥哥的纪念。曾筱竹说《为艺术堕落》是她个人的惋歌,来回忆“一个艺术群体的逝去和一个被爱滋病蹂躏的时代的衰亡。”这件作品为曾筱竹和张平赢得“Bessie”奖,即纽约舞蹈和表演奖。

作为一名摄影师和一名“异教”表演者,曾广智的作品成熟于八十年代,并成为那个时代辛辣的诠释者。他将自己描述为“好奇的旅行者,时间的证人和暧昧的大使。”现在看来他走在时间的前面,已经领会到诸如身份,文化霸权主义等对今天世界各地的艺术家来说非常重要的问题。

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