Kung Fu – Motion Videos

Similar to Jayna’s post, I was also looking at one of my favorite art blogs Colossal. I found a video titled “The Physics of Kung Fu Brought to Life Through Motion Capture Visualizations” by Tobias Gremmler. This first caught my interest due to the curiosity I have in the Chinese martial art. In class we talked about visual art being created in Eastern countries but we never really talked about the hundreds of fighting styles that show up in artists 2D work. Gremmler was able to capture this art form in an entirely new light through motion sequence shots. There are various animations the artists uses to turn the movement into structure and closer look at the physics of kung fu.

After watching the video I started to look at the lines created by the motion of the kung fu and how similar they looked to ink. (You might be rolling your eyes saying “just because this is a video about a Chinese martial art does not mean we should associate it with ink”). But seriously during the first half of the video, the colors created in the video the dark blacks and whites and the seemingly brush stroke quality of each motion leads me to think this. I researched the artist, Tobias Gremmler and there is not much information on him. He is a German artist but has studied and given lectures/workshops in Hong Kong, China. This specific video was commissioned by International Guoshu Association for an Kung Fu exhibition, initiated by Hing Chao. The exhibition focuses on the legacy of Hakka martial arts in Hong Kong. The Kung Fu Masters whose motions has been captured are: Master Wong Yiu Kau (Variation 1-3) and Master Li Shek Lin (Variation 3,4).

The image above on the left was included on his website but the interpenetration on the side was in German, but that looks like a classic ink gesture drawing to me. The image on the right is of a still from the video showing the gestured strokes through the HD camera. These similarities are striking to me. I wonder if the artist was intentional about making the video look like ink paintings because of the depiction of the art form. Could we have put this video in our gallery along with Zheng Chongbin? This artists is not Chinese or actually using ink at all does that matter?


Andy Warhol – Ai Weiwei: National Gallery of Victoria


I brought up a few weeks ago that I had been following Ai Weiwei on Instagram and how he as an artist really addresses many of the issues we bring up in class about contemporary global art. Researching him I found currently he is doing an exhibition with Andy Warhol! At the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, this exhibition is running from December 11th, 2015 – April 24th, 2016 (it’s open for another week if anyone wants to go).  This exhibition was created to present the work of two influential artists one in the twentieth and one in the twenty first century, in a way that creates dialogue and correspondence. It explores modern contemporary art, life, and cultural politics.

Ai Weiwei lived in the United States from 1981 through 1993 and was highly influenced by the modern artists of that time such as Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp, and Jasper Johns. Ai Weiwei took a lot from Warhol’s conceptual approach and even bought Warhol’s book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). But separately both of these have been redefining the role of ‘the artist’ though their documentation of contemporary society and everyday life. Andy Warhol is known for his Pop Art style, with iconic images exploring ideas of consumerism, fame and media, and politics and capital. Ai Weiwei is known for is contemporary art and social activist work. His work addresses many critical global issues of our time such as tradition and modernity, human rights, freedom of speech and individual vs state.


I had never thought of the similarities between these artists work but there are many ideas and works that tie them together. In one critics review of the exhibition by Sasha Grishin, she writes that Ai Weiwei became “China’s Andy Warhol”, comparing the similar lifestyles and art they make. The reason why I was originally so interested in this exhibition was because here is a Chinese artist who is highly influenced by the West and is being compared an artist who created such highly influenced American art.

Here is a link to see other work that is included this exhibition.