Song Ta 宋拓

Song Ta. Now the Young People – What the Fuck Are They Talking About?
2016, single-channel video, 6’41’’

I’d really like to know what they’re all talking about. That’s right, we can ask two Hong Kong middle- school students to talk about politics while they have sex. That’s right, no matter what, even if they have nothing left to say, they should keep on talking.

–Artist statement

A conceptual artist, calligrapher and curator, SONG Ta’s works are rooted in his observations of everyday life and social realities. He works with photography, video, installation, painting and performance, among other mediums and adopts a relaxed, jocular attitude in his practice. His work often weaves together systems of administration and bureaucracy with transparency, and seeks to provoke and antagonise the established boundaries between institutional and commercial definitions of art.

in Times Art Center, Berlin

Song Ta is a young Chinese contemporary artist, known for his work that often intertwines systems of administration and bureaucracy with transparency and visibility, and tests boundaries between the institutional and commercial definitions of art. Song Ta was born in 1988 in Leizhou, Guangdong Province and graduated from the Painting Department of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2010.

Testing the Power of Institutions

In his practice, which includes photography, video, installation, painting, and performance, Song Ta uses the juxtaposition and linking of different relaxed, comedic forms to introduce modes of thought aimed at established institutions, knowledge systems, and power structures. Rooted in the artist’s observations of reality, Song Ta includes political discourses and symbols in his work in order to draw attention to viewers’ understandings of political thought and aesthetic standards. By not using common visual language or a clear conceptual focus, Ta Song is liberating viewers from weighty artistic discourse, and in that way is allowing the viewers to appreciate the light humor and mild political tone of his work. Enjoying the conceptual freedom that art allows him, the artist adopted relaxed, comical attitude in his variously playful, jocular, and self-amused research of reality. This research is also a sincere and serious inquiry – the absence of heavily stylized visual aesthetics in much of Song Ta’s work is rooted in the conceptual rejection of authority, but also in the concrete rejection of object ostentation that governs much of contemporary art creation, collection, and criticism.

Read more of this excellent review of Song Ta’s work by Dea K.

Why do they never take colour photos?, 2016
Fiberglass, Fibreglass, Limewash
780 x 400 x 320 cm

Song Ta’s humorous installation centres on a political figure that has become synonymous with China itself, both nationally as well as internationally. The work consists of a grey, large-scale bust of Chairman Mao – copied from a well-known sculpture ubiquitously seen throughout China – and absurdly transported to the grounds of the Cass Sculpture Foundation. Song is a member of the so-called ‘post-80s’ generation of Chinese citizens who did not experience the Cultural Revolution first hand. Thus, his personal impression of the Great Helmsman has only ever been hazy at best. This is reflected in the formal presentation of the sculpture itself: like so many monuments throughout the world, Song’s sculpture of Mao is leeched of colour and vitality, and in addition, Song has sprayed the surrounding vegetation a neutral shade of grey to match. In typically ironic fashion, Song has created a picture-perfect monument– inviting visitors to photograph themselves in front of this ‘readymade’ black and white image of an historical figure, and playfully asking us to question our own relationship to cultural memory and national identity in an era of spectacle and simulacra.

read more @ Cass Sculpture Foundation