In 2010, a photography commission from one of China’s foremost contemporary art venues, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), prompted Zhang Yuan to issue a casting call on Chinese Twitter to Beijingers born after 1980. Almost two decades after BEIJING BASTARDS (1993), his landmark Sixth Generation film about the artistic underground in 1990s China, Zhang was curious about the new generation of dreamers and strivers in Beijing. Of the 200-odd people who tweeted him back – among them “rock-and-roll musicians, artists, actors, stock scalpers, bodyguards, social workers, university students, the unemployed” (Zhang Yuan) – the filmmaker chose 11. The still and video portraits of the chosen 11, a chiaroscuro of faces and bodies surrounded by inky darkness or the muted browns and greys of the Beijing winter when the photography took place, debuted in an exhibition at UCCA later that year. The stories the young people told of living in the margins of China’s mega-capital subsequently became the basis for Zhang Yuan’s new film, with some of the storytellers now cast in it.
The COB is proud to present for the first time anywhere the complete new work by Zhang Yuan that he has since renamed BEIJING FLICKERS. The Chinatown Business Improvement District has converted two storefronts in Chinatown’s Mandarin Plaza into a pop-up gallery just for the exhibition. Veteran Los Angeles gallerist Lois Lambert (of her namesake gallery and the Gallery of Functional Art) guest curates. BEIJING FLICKERS, the film, will screen on October 23 at REDCAT. – Cheng-Sim Lim [create internal link to BEIJING FLICKERS film program]
Opening reception with filmmaker Zhang Yuan (schedule permitting) starts at 4:00 pm on Saturday, October 20.
Pop-up gallery hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 am-6:00 pm, Sunday 12:00-5:00 pm; closed on Monday.