Tipping Point – CFCCA

Text by Marcus Barnett

Tipping Point, at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art displays work by three UK-based artists: Jamie Lau, Cindie Cheung and Andrew Lim. A product of group dialogue between Lau, Cheung and Lim, through their involvement in the first-step graduate programme, the CFCCA have provided them with their first major showcase.

The exhibition is concerned with processes and making. At the heart of the exhibition is an ongoing discussion regarding the meaning of sculpture, exploring ways to express wider concerns and thoughts rather than to simply traditionally replicate and sculpt with orthodox sculptural material.  Each artist’s own practical input to this discussion is displayed, showing a slightly off-kilter but compelling take on their self-development.

In Blanks Reborn Scientific, Andrew Lim continues his curiosity with everyday objects. With previous works involving experiments with disposable cups, plastic sheeting, and other such quotidian things, Lim’s latest offering involves a typewriter ribbon blown against a white wall by four large electric fans, suspended in a permanent dance. It may be said that Lim’s material manipulation demystifies to a certain extent the process of literary creation, allowing for an altered conceptualisation of the ribbon’s purpose and potential.

An impressive bloc of material focusing upon the commodification of the female form is provided by Cindie Cheung, whose Teeth (version 1) highlights questions of body commodification and the stylisation of the female form. Through several television screens, Teeth focuses on a woman, cameras lingering around her body and face in a ghoulish state of conscious imitation of the stylisation and pushing of women in the advertising industry. The learnt movements from Cheung’s subjects combine with footage of an empty strip club and an ethereal space replete with bright lights and smoke machine. Adorned on the walls are framed, isolated pieces of jewellery, with metal fingernails providing a particularly menacing deconstruction of ‘glamour’ – once hooked to a wall, objects offered as implements of sexual desire and beauty are rendered sterile, redundant and industrial.

With seeping tension being a crucial tenet of Tipping Point so far, Jamie Lau offers the most audacious theoretical angle in his claim to represent ‘movements in larger narratives that are often beyond our comprehension to unfold’ in his work. The sculptural work in question, based on a Florida man swallowed by a sinkhole that emerged beneath his home, is a large wooden structure sustaining a cup over blackness. Inertia pervades the piece, with the intention of the work being to lock the spectator in a state of limbo, a numbing situation whose final conclusion the viewer is unsure of.

Though perhaps at points the theoretical underpinnings to the work may perhaps appear a little ham-fisted or laboured, Tipping Point is nevertheless an impressive effort. An exuberant examination on motion and creation, as delicate as it can be raw, one would find it difficult to walk away from the space without positive impressions.

Tipping Point continues at the Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art, Manchester until Sunday 16 March.

Marcus Barnett is a writer based in Manchester. He is a co-organiser of SPRING, a series of conferences, debates and happenings  exploring the contemporary Left.

Published 14.03.2014 by Ali Gunn in Reviews

524 words