Ben Houge and friends in Suzhou

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4451474556_b1db4b01e1.jpgAfter my preface to the QSBS post, Andy wrote up pop punk band White Eyes' show here, so I don't need to bother with that one. Instead I want to write a little about a show I went to in the day time on Saturday at the True Colour (though they may not use a 'u') Museum out in Suzhou. It was arranged by the multi-talented Ben Houge for the opening of his Point of Departure show at the gallery, which is the result of his six month residency there.

I've been lucky enough to know Ben for a while now and I'll be sad to see him leave (he's heading back to the States), but this was a fitting farewell from him. It showcased a lot of his immense talent as well as demonstrating his ability to switch between a wide array of genres and mediums without seeing a dip in the quality of his art.

A quick word about the gallery though. It's an incredible space. It's kind of in the middle of nowhere in Suzhou (though a metro station will open near it next year), but that actually makes it a better space in some ways - I quite liked the isolation of it. It's a huge space, apparently the largest modern art museum/gallery in China, and is well designed. In short, it's well worth a visit and if you go before December 6th, you'll be able to catch Ben's exhibition. 

'Self Portrait, Dusk at the Point of Departure' is a fascinating video work that I don't want to say too much about as you really have to see it. Besides, Ben himself explains it much better than I could here. There's also a range of other works which are equally mesmerising, including some of his 29 Giraffes series and the brilliant 'Shanghai Traces' (pictured), which you can also see installed at Glamour Bar.

To celebrate the opening of this show, Ben drafted in some help from sound artists Xu Cheng (one half of Torturing Nurse), Yao Dajuin and Wang Changcun - all of whom gave absorbing performances. In between their sets, Ben played himself, performing three different sets of music: ambient electronic/sound, piano-led renditions of Jay Chou songs and numbers by John Cage among others and finally a brief set of his own pop songs. It was a great show and a reminder of why Ben will be missed when he leaves China.

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