Contact 接触 art exhibition celebrates travel art, travel writing, comics, illustration, oil paintings, and cultural connections. The exhibition was inspired by the writing of British travel writer Jan Morris and opened with a charity art auction for Kenyan schoolchildren.

Opening Reception of “Contact” 接触 Art Exhibition 
Dates: June 30 – July 30
Opening Reception/Charity Auction: 6.30 pm, June 30
WangDe Art Space 
No. 8 Nanxianzi Lane, Pingjiang Street, Suzhou

Contact” follows in the tradition of British travel writer Jan Morris, sharing contact between cultures. The exhibition contains comics, illustrations, and paintings by Dave Alber.

Art curator WangDe writes:

“‘Contact’ is a noun of varied nuances, not all to my taste. . . .  In a lifetime of travel and literature I have written relatively little about people. Places, atmospheres, histories have figured far more in my all too often purple prose. But people everywhere, nevertheless, have been sparks of my work, if only in glimpses–a sighting through a window, a gentle snatch of sound, the touch of a hand–and it is mostly such fugitive moments and observations, scattered across half a century and forty-odd books, that I have here gratefully plucked out their literary obscurity.”
Jan Morris 

Jan Morris 简·莫里斯

These words come from the preface of Contact(2009) by Jan Morris, one of Britain’s greatest post-World War II travel writers. Her vivid sense of humor and precise observation of details are memorable and philosophical.

Like many expats around the world, Dave Alber, living in China, comes across as appropriately candid, appropriately polite, and expresses his simple happiness after his experiences. These subtle expressions after observation have the capacity to wake an observer to the joy of “traveling alone”, which can all-too-often become deeply buried within memory’s already indistinct, though indescribably gorgeous moments.

The theme of this exhibition follows in the path laid out by Jan Morris’ Contact, as a tribute to her travel writing, which contains extraordinary insight and immortal expression.

This is what art is all about.

这是二战后英国最伟大的游记文学作家Jan Motris 简·莫里斯2009年为自己的《接触》而写自序中部分节选。鲜明的幽默感,精准的观察那些微不足道的细节,都在她的描绘中令人回味无穷,并充满哲学意味。与很多旅居世界各地异乡人有着很多相似的气息,旅居中国的Dave Alber给人的印记:适当的坦诚、不失分寸的礼貌、精简的表达浮光掠影后的独自欣喜。这些细微观察后的表达,总是会唤醒起已被深深掩埋“travel alone”后的欢喜雀跃,以及那些远去的斑斓瞬间。这次展览主题沿用Jan Morris 简·莫里斯的《Contact 接触》以此致敬她看似只言片语的随意书写,暗藏着非凡洞察力和不朽表达。

With friendly understanding, a demonstration of respect, and a conscious avoidance of the narrow-minded rejection of the “foreign”, Dave Alber’s artwork exudes a light joy, but also offers the humorous perspective of an “American traveler”.

友善的理解,尊重的表达,不狭隘排斥是Dave Alber艺术作品透出一份轻盈的喜悦,当然也参杂了一个“美国观光客”诙谐的视角。
《He Xiangu何仙姑》

The importance of travel can be realized when you discover the beauty of diversity recognized when maintaining an inclusive attitude. I remembered last night… 5 years ago in Kyushu, looking at drunken Japanese people in a wine house trying to open a tie and I instantly understood the valuable foundation of what it means to live together as “harmonious people”. Similarly, the art of this “foreigner” Dave Alber also offers a glimpse into the cultural corners of our own Chinese society.

旅行的意义在于你是否真的带着包容的心态去发现多元的美,5年前在九州最后一个夜晚,望着居酒屋里揭开领带怀贪杯日本人瞬间理解“和民”的价值根基。在Dave Alber《外国人》里也能窥见中国社会的市井文化一隅。

“Mandarin fish” is a common Chinese dish, for example, but in Dave Alber’s eyes, it has an indescribable meaning. It’s like you’re sitting on a noisy Hong Kong street, and you cannot clearly see the red and green signs or the cold skyscrapers.

《Gue Yu桂鱼》是中国人餐桌上家常菜,在Dave Alber的眼中一瞬间却有了难以明状的意味。就如同你坐在噪杂的香港街头,而眼前红红绿绿的招牌和冷峻的高楼却显得模糊不清。

Perhaps we spend too much of our lives obsessing on brief moments of contact with ourselves, no matter how superficial or enjoyable. However, purpose and meaning have been scattered before us in a path of discovery, waiting to be explored in the enlivened moment… and afterwards, enjoyed as the warm afterglow of your own subjective discovery. — WangDe


— WangDe

The CONTACT art exhibition created an environment of narrative space… and contained the following pieces of Travel Art and Travel Writing: