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Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware

Curator: Victor Wang 王宗孚
chi K11 art museum, Shanghai

[installation view] Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 2016

[installation view] Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, chi K11 art museum, 201

Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware
Curator: Victor Wang 王宗孚
chi K11 art museum, Shanghai
9 November – 8 December 2017

chi k11 art museum and the K11 Art Foundation presents Neïl Beloufa: Soft(a)ware, the first institutional solo exhibition in China by French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa, guest curated by Victor Wang 王宗孚.

Artist Neïl Beloufa’s interweaving of technology, material, video and politics takes on new implications when it is presented within the context of China, where capital, the Internet and online communication are regulated, and thus has different contemporary significance. Beloufa’s installations often combine moving image systems embedded within multi-sensory installations. The artist works like an editor, splicing together snippets of film, and his immersive environments echo elements of his videos, moving between film and the physical world. This networking of information and material is also pertinent to an understanding of the current instability of the present, and how such interweaving of socio-technological forces shape our lives today.

Taking up half of the space of the chi K11 art museum, the exhibition is divided into three parts: ‘Life as Data’; ‘Real Estate’ and ‘Soft(a)ware’. Each section showcases earlier and newly commissioned artworks that are presented for the first time in China. These different exhibition stages explore how sovereignty and the digital interrelate in the context of technological expansion and neoliberal hybridization. These spatial divisions offer an individual reading of each artwork and section, whilst their spatially successive unfolding encapsulates but one of many systemic relationships in place that mobilizes our precarious global system: an interconnectivity between land, atmosphere and data.

In ‘Life as Data’ we show for the first time Beloufa’s work 'Data for Desire' (2014), which attempts an understanding of attraction and the actions and decisions of a group of people, predicted through the use of mathematical formulas, reflecting the algorithmic method increasingly used by corporations to track consumer choices and preferences. The film moves between various scenarios, from a house party to a classroom, where a group of mathematicians assigns numerical values to each interaction. Presented alongside the video will be an extended environment, 'Rationalized Objects' (2016), a series of sculptures that expand spatially on the content and context of the film. Occupying their own semi-digital space, these data-like sculptures create a stage within which the video may be experienced. The exhibition display for this section adopts visual merchandising display strategies that are commonly used in the retail industry.

Presented in ‘Real Estate’ is the work 'Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life' (2014), a kinetic sculpture that moves through the gallery on a railway track system. With video projected onto its movable panels, the sculpture refracts images throughout its interior and into the gallery space. The video, filmed using staged interviews, describes the ideal urban lifestyle, highlighting such important elements as a good patio view, a work-life balance, eating out, engagement with nature and power napping. Set in a North American city centre, the video cuts between scenes of urban development and individual stories, promoting the appeal of living in these urban centres. The video illuminates the notion of misunderstood utopias or dystopias as extensions of Beloufa’s custom-built environment. Beloufa’s combination of industrial material and digitally projected stories of urbanization also illustrates the growing relationship between the erasure of land and the expansion of the virtual space.

In ‘Soft(a)ware’ we enter a semi-transparent technospheric dome that covers the ceiling of the gallery, 'Untitled' (ceiling) (2016). Here the works occupy an infrastructural space between environment, architecture and network. These sculptures dangle above the viewer, creating an enclosed climate which is streamed live, drawing attention to the relationship between data and our physical environments. Moving towards the notion of being ‘Soft(a)ware’ and expressing a new-found subjectivity in our networked realities: an interconnectivity of agency in the selection and assemblage of information from physical and digital media used to create an understanding of the contemporary world.


Frieze: Critic's Guide: Shanghai

Art Radar Journal

The Art Newspaper, Shanghai

最独特的当代艺术展——关小:弹性睡眠/Neïl Beloufa:软.见&hack space即将全新开幕

Chinese Version

chi K11美术馆和K11 Art Foundation推出法籍阿尔及利亚艺术家尼尔•贝卢法的中国首次机构个展:《尼尔•贝卢法:软•见》,特邀策展人为王宗孚。


本次展览占据chi K11美术馆的一半空间,共分为三个部分:“数据生活(Life as Data)”、“房地产(Real Estate)”和“软·见(Soft(a)ware)”。各个部分都展示了贝卢法早期和近期受委托创作的作品,每件作品均在中国首次展出。展览展示不同阶段的作品,旨在探索在技术扩张与新自由主义融合的大环境下,主权和数字领域是如何产生联系的。展览分为三个独立部分,使参观者能够单独欣赏每个部分的作品;而三个部分在空间上又是连续的,但众多系统性关系中的其中一段关系将我们岌岌可危的全球系统调动起来,即土地、氛围和数据之间的相互关联。

在“数据生活”部分,我们首次展出了贝卢法的作品《欲望数据》(Data for Desire,2014年),这件作品试图探析一群人的兴趣所在及行动和决策,通过数学公式计算进行预测,反映出越来越多公司采用算术方法来探知消费者的选择和偏好。影片在各种不同场景中切换,从家庭聚会到教室,一群数学家为每个场景中的每次互动指定数值。影片旁边将展示一件延伸作品,《合理化对象》(Rationalized Objects,2016年),这件作品由一系列雕塑组成,在空间上扩展了影片的内容和背景。和雕塑作品一样,这些数字作品占据着各自的半数字空间,打造出独特的展区,让参观者能够深入感受视频片段的精妙之处。该部分展览采用零售行业常用的视觉陈列显示策略。

“房地产”部分展示的作品是《巅峰、决心、热情、变迁及生活》(Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life,2014年),这是一件移动雕塑,在一条轨道上不断在展厅来回穿行。投射到雕塑的可移动镶板上的视频片段,将穿过雕塑内部折射到展厅的空地上。这段视频汇集了不同阶段的采访视频,刻画了人们理想的都市生活方式,凸显出一些重要的生活元素,如风景秀丽的露台、生活和工作的平衡、愉悦的外出就餐、拥抱自然以及唤醒活力的日间小睡等。这段视频将背景设定为北美某个市中心,场景在城市发展和个人故事中切换,激发人们在如此美妙的城市中心生活的愿望。作为贝卢法对理想生活环境探索的延续,本视频片段展现了人们对乌托邦或反乌托邦式生活的误解。贝卢法将工业材料和以数字投影方式展现的城市化故事相结合,描绘了土地消失和虚拟空间扩张之间的伴生关系。

“软·见”部分则引领参观者进入一个半透明的技术球状圆顶,该作品名为无题(天花板)(Untitled,2016年),覆盖了展厅的天花板。作品占据了环境、建筑和网络之间的基础设施空间。这些雕塑悬挂于参观者眼前,形成一个封闭的环境,参观者可在其中观看视频直播,旨在吸引人们关注数据和现实环境之间的关系。接着将人们的注意力吸引至“软·见”的理念,并传达出网络化现实中的一种全新主观性概念:主动从 物质和数字媒介中挑选和收集信息之间的互联互通,以及利用所获取的信息加深对当代世界的了解。

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