This weekend I saw an exciting large video piece called "Yellow Signal" at the Ullen's Center from artist Wang Jianwei.
The piece was exhibited in the tremendous, cavernous back room of the museum and consists of five separated "rooms" with silent projections above each side of each entrance, making it only possible to see two at once. The videos show scenes and settings like a crowded migrant worker's dormitory, a turbulent courtroom scene, a sports arena a military medical examination and a housing community. The sets are all filled with characters acting in disturbing ways in each setting, like frantically practicing ping pong in the sports arena or violently criticizing the accused in the court setting. The characters also move from set to set, creating a "storyline" of sorts and giving the effect that the entire piece is performed live. The color yellow, which is in the name of the piece and is notable in the stage lighting, has pornographic or forbidden undertones in Chinese, so this may also tie in.
Also notable was the Faurschou show of photographs of Lucian Freud by David Dawson as well a painting of said photographer. I remember the last and only time I saw a Freud painting in person I was 16 or so and it was the rather infamous Leigh Bowery series.
|David and Eli, 2003-4|
Not so notable was the preposterously self important Diane von Furstenberg "Journey of a Dress," which features endless paintings and photographs of the designer over the past few decades along with "you go girl" type inspirational drivel slapped all over the walls.
Mung bean pakora with green chutney
I've been cooking lots of Indian food lately for friends, especially Northern styles, and thought I'd share recipes I've come up with from lots of experimentation, online searches and this friendly auntie's website. This is an absolutely delicious snack and can be made in advance and fried and put together when company comes over or if you just want something wonderful.
mung bean pakora
1 cup whole mung beans, soaked overnight
medium onion, diced
teaspoon ground coriander seed
3-4 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
pinch of whole cilantro leaves
teaspoon chaat masala*
1/2 teaspoon asafetida*
oil for frying
In food processor or blender, coarsely grind mung beans until most, but not all beans, are pulverized. Scoop mixture into bowl. Add flour a tablespoon at a time or until batter is stiff enough to form. Add all remaining ingredients and mix together well. Heat a few inches worth of oil in a saucepan on medium. While oil is reaching temperature, roll 1 inch sized balls and pat into fat disks (see above picture) Fry 5 or 6 at a time until outside is deep golden colored, around 3-4 minutes. Set aside on paper towels. (Batter keeps for a couple of days.)
perfect green chutney
chopped cilantro leaves and stems, around 3 loose cups
3-4 chopped small green chili
juice of one whole lemon
tablespoon diced ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon asafetida*
Heat oil in pan and gently fry asafetida and cumin seed. Once the cumin is toasted, remove from heat and allow to cool in pan. Add all ingredients to blender and top with cooled oil and cumin seed mixture. Blend well. Add more cilantro, if needed, to achieve a chunky and less liquid texture. Serve with above pakoras.
* chaat masala can be bought or made from scratch and asafetida can be found in Indian markets. There is no specific substitute, so you can leave them out if you cannot find them.
This performance from artist Gong Linna is the antithesis of the earlier Spring Festival gala video I posted, although it was also part of the festivities. The public really responded to this performance after Chinese pop star Wang Fei posted this particular video on her blog. It went viral, and the requisite parodies and video responses have piled up.
This piece's title, 忐忑 (tan3 te4), is a literary Chinese adjective meaning anxious.