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Matrix Presents For Your Pleasure-: Matrix 204 Cai Gua-Qiang, Matrix 205 Chiho Aoshima, Matrix 206 Angela Bulloch
April 22 though August 3, 2003
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is pleased to present a new exhibition featuring three artists whose work focuses on the experience of pleasure. MATRIX: For Your Pleasure is an exploration of a particular phenomenon in contemporary art - artists making works that give something back to the viewer.
Despite their use of nontraditional forms and cutting-edge technology, the works that comprise For Your Pleasure illustrate values long sought for in art: glimpses of beauty and moments of pleasure. While every work of art contains the possibility of providing the viewer a transcendent experience, in these three works - Cai Gua-Qiang's Fireworks from Heaven, Chiho Aoshima's A Contented Skull, and Angela Bulloch's Disco Floor Bootleg: 16 - the experience of pleasure is foregrounded.
Chinese-born Cai Guo-Qiang's installation Fireworks from Heaven is a reconfiguration of a piece originally shown at the 2001 Yokohama Triennale. Strands of light will cascade from BAM's atrium skylight and become enormous illuminated orbs seemingly compressed between the gallery floor and ceiling. Visitors will be able to enjoy choreographed explosions as they relax in Japanese high-tech massage chairs controlled by handheld remotes.
Fireworks from Heaven is one of a series of works by the artist that go to extraordinary lengths to ensure the viewer's comfort and enjoyment. In a complex installation at the Queen's Museum of Art in 1997, Cai Guo-Qiang offered the museum audience a Jacuzzi infused with essential oils to soak in; in Shanghai he conceived an immense firework display for the world's economic leaders at the APEC conference; and at the 2000 Whitney Biennial he offered his in-home services as a Feng Shui consultant. In a variety of aesthetic manifestations, an interest in honoring, entertaining, and pleasing his audience is at the center of Cai's work.
Chiho Aoshima uses a giant printer to create large-scale digital works featuring a unique world of big-eyed girls, hybridized nature, and candy-colored environments. Aoshima is part of the "superflat" movement, a term coined by artist Takahashi Murakami to describe the simplified, two-dimensional forms that have become the staple of a hip new visual language employed by a new generation of young Japanese artists. For the MATRIX Program Aoshima has produced a new, mural-size, site-specific image that combines elements of state-of-the-art computer-animated illustration, Japanese manga (comics) and anime (animation), and the formal conventions of premodern Japanese prints. This slick mastery of technology camouflages and seemingly G-rates tantalizing subject matter: nude nymphets, bare bottoms, and seductive couplings.
Angela Bulloch's earliest works were participatory environments that included light and/or sound that reacted to the presence of the viewer. In her most recent projects, Bulloch, a Canadian-born artist now based in Berlin, combines luminous cubes with an electronic unit that controls color alternation and sequence. When static, the visual effect resembles minimalist sculpture - perfect cubes housed in Finnish birch and faced with two panes of glass. In Disco Floor Bootleg: 16, Bulloch's contribution to For your pleasure, the artist uses the signature tune by the disco band Chic, "These Are Such Good Times." Here a bootleg version thumps out its catchy beat while the animated sculpture pulsates intricate patterns of color and light.
On Tuesday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m., all three artists will be at the museum to discuss their work. A reception will follow the artists' talk.