Polit-Sheer-Form! at Queens Museum presents for the first time in a US Museum the work of Polit-Sheer-Form-Office (PSFO).
PSFO is a China-based art group established in 2005 by artists Song Dong, Hong Hao, Xiao Yu, Liu Jianhua and curator/critic Leng Lin. Born in the mid-1960s, as children PSFO‘s members all experienced the late Cultural Revolution, a period of Communist ideological orthodoxy that powerfully affected the preceding generation. Drawing on this personal history, PSFO‘s artistic practice strives to create a collective way of life while removing the political content historically associated with it.
In its activities and artworks, PSFO attempts to create a framework—albeit tongue-in-cheek—for collective life in today’s consumer-oriented China. Within this framework, individuals may find the ties that bind them to others. At the same time, “sheer form” without content allows room for the individual to grow.
With elements installed throughout the Museum’s first floor spaces and west façade, Polit-Sheer-Form! is both a survey of works created by PSFO during its nine years of existence, and also a single project that integrates the individual artworks with the site.
The Queens Museum spaces are given an architectural form evocative of the Socialist era meant to bring viewers directly into the collectivist imagination. Among the works on view, Library and Fitness for All especially invite the audience to experience the joy of being together, and the performance piece Do the Same Good Deed, taking place at lunch hour on Monday, November 3 in Times Square, a special commission with Times Square Arts for this exhibition, is also the first time the group has reached out to engage masses of people in its personal, collective ways.
Polit-Sheer-Form-Office (PSFO) is a China-based art collective founded in 2005 by artists Hong Hao (b. 1965, Beijing), Xiao Yu (b. 1965, Inner Mongolia), Song Dong (b. 1966, Beijing), Liu Jianhua (b. 1962, Ji’an), and Leng Lin (b. 1965, Beijing). Each PSFO member has a significant and successful solo artistic career, and PSFO represents an opportunity for them to experiment with another way of making art over an extended period of time. PSFO is a highly adaptable organism: when they come together, they adjust their roles, fitting into the collective through their greatest strengths to become units in a greater whole—as the propaganda of their childhood might have encouraged them to do. According to them, members enjoy absolute equality and are willing to set aside the self as the condition for fusion onto the collective. On a foundation of deep understanding and trust, the roles and responsibilities of the group’s members can change to fit the situation. The collective derives its creativity from this equality and adaptability.
Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing) will dedicate to Polit-Sheer-Form the collective’s largest institutional survey in China to date with the exhibit Fitness for All, starting November 21, until January 4, 2015.