The Foundation

The Troy House Art Foundation was established in London in 2017 by Shanghai-born artist and producer Yuan Gong to encourage exchanges in contemporary art and culture, particularly between Europe and Asia. To this end, Troy house|art is a multimedia platform currently spread across four locations in China and Great Britain. Responding to the transformed cultural and social environment of the post-pandemic world, these platforms support aesthetic and environmental research and the production of experimental art, photography, video, and film that both reflect and comment on these changing circumstances. The Troy House | Collection of contemporary time-based/digital art from different parts of Asia will also continue to grow along the same lines.

 

Vision + Mission

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VISION

 

Considering the production of different art forms as additions to knowledge, Troy House Art forges links between cultures past, present and future across the world as a basis for further research in aesthetic, social and scientific development. Through this it seeks to encourage a better informed and resourced critical global art practice, to which more diverse and critically aware audiences can respond.

 

MISSION

 

By providing multi-levelled platforms for the creation, display and publication of research and different art forms, Troy House | Art facilitates the production of experimental, risk-taking, multi-media art projects that consider the relationships between consciousness, ideology, memory, technology, ecology, empathy, and the environment. The art, and knowledge, produced as a result will be transcribed, actually and virtually, in both experiential environments and educational forms that are designed for both live and online audiences.

(by David Elliott, 2021.6.25)

Founder & Director

Yuan Gong (born Shanghai, 1961) is an established artist in China where he is known as a pioneer of forms of cross-disciplinary work that critique cultural, social, and political development. He graduated in fine art printing from the Shanghai Publishing and Printing College in 1980, at a time when, after the severe restrictions of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), the whole country was opening itself to new cultural influences. This led to an incredible burgeoning of the arts as well as to the development of a previously non-existent art market. Like that of many of his contemporaries, Yuan Gong’s early development as an artist entailed an exhumation and digestion of submerged collective memories as well as a search for new and truthful forms of personal expression.

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During 2004-5, Yuan Gong studied archaeology and museology at Peking University and subsequently began to incorporate archaeological methods and references into a series of works that compared the settlement and functions of a royal site during the Zhou dynasty (1050 -771 BCE) with current peasant rights for land in the same area and the State’s recent disruption of them. During 2008, after a long collective art project initiated in Tibet, he produced controversial works that related to both the Tibetan uprising and to the effects of the disastrous earthquake that took place there in the same year. In 2009, he returned to formal education and graduated in 2012 with a PhD in The Theory of Art from the Chinese National Academy of Arts in Beijing.

 

Throughout this time, he has developed his practice as an artist, researcher, designer, and producer by focusing on the way in which art not only reflects social development but also plays an important part in memorialising and moulding it. Drawing on the epic, didactic and critical performative elements in Bertolt Brecht’s Lehrstücke (Teaching Sketches) in theatre, and on Joseph Beuys’s idea of Social Sculpture in the visual arts, Yuan Gong has re-energised specifically Chinese philosophical and aesthetic conventions of social discipline, harmony, and natural balance by placing them within a contemporary framework of engaged critical thought.

 

To this end, Yuan Gong’s work employs many different sensory forms and media. Operating at an interface between conceptual art, performance, and fine art, he addresses – in China and elsewhere – basic existential questions concerning social and personal development, and the impact on them of trauma. His natural scepticism has also led him to question the limitations of any artwork or art exhibition, as well as those of the art system itself.

 

Increasingly, Yuan Gong has worked on collaborative projects and networks with other artists, communities, and institutions as a way of transforming art and aesthetics to face the challenges of our time; his establishment of Troy House | Art in different parts of the world is a fundamental part of this initiative.(by David Elliott, 2021.6.25)

Yuan Gong’s work has been exhibited in the Chinese Pavilion, The 54th Venice Biennale, 2011; Voice of the Unseen, The 55th Venice Biennale collateral event, 2013; Mechanism, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, 2013; The 3rd Asia Triennial, Manchester, UK, 2014; Secret Signs, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany 2014; Belle Haleine - Scent of Art, Tinguely Museum, Basel, Switzerland, 2015; 3rd Ural Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia, 2015; Bitterness, Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, China, 2015; The Adventures of JOJO, Chelsea College of art and Design, London, UK, 2016; I am Hamlet!, Bluecoat Contemporary Art Centre, Liverpool, 2016; Momentos, Dunhuang Museum, Gansu, Chinese National Academy of the Arts, 2017; This is Shanghai, Cunard Building, Liverpool, 2018. His works are in the collections of the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou; the Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan; the Arthur Sackler Museum, Peking University, Beijing; The White Rabbit Collection, Sydney; and the Uli Sigg Collection of Contemporary Chinese Art in Castel Mauensee, Switzerland.

Projects Curators

In 2017, the Foundation launched Troy House Art | Jinxi in China (known locally as the Points Centre for Contemporary Art), an ongoing programme of artists’ residencies and related exhibitions set in historical buildings in the ancient town of Jinxi, near the ancient city and gardens of Suzhou. In 2020 it founded Troy House Art | Monmouth in Wales in a derelict, Grade II* listed, seventeenth century mansion, with extensive riverside grounds, which is in the process of conservation and conversion to provide exhibition spaces, artists’ studios/residencies and a research centre. At the same time, Troy House Art | London, a series of smaller galleries and meeting rooms situated in Vauxhall, has also been established as a London base. The Foundation’s future plans include the establishment of Troy House Art | Kent, an eco-research centre for artists and environmentalists, set in Kentish woodlands by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

 

As the basis for all its programmes Troy House | Art is initiating exhibitions, artists’ residencies and exchanges, performances, conversations, educational programmes, and other public and community events. What they hold in common is their identification of art with social, ethical and scientific concerns, and their use of historic buildings, sites, and special natural settings, as integral elements for the production and display of contemporary art.

 

[1] Troy House Art was originally named the Fortress Contemporary Art Foundation. In 2020, it was renamed the Troy House Art Foundation after the name of its newly acquired Welsh hub in Monmouth. (by David Elliott, 2021.6.25)

 
 
 
 
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David Elliott is a writer, curator & museum director.

His practice has been shaped over the years by his presence in Asia where he was previously Founding Director of Mori Art Museum (2001-2006), Director of Istanbul Modern (2007) and Vice-Director/Senior Curator of the Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art in Guangzhou (2016-2019).