Art Materials Collaborative (AMC)

2022 – ONGOING

In 2022, the M Art Foundation and MACHANG, an art group in Shanghai, announced the launch of Art Materials Collaborative (AMC), a new initiative to implement their shared mission of supporting contemporary artistic practice and art production in the context of the sharing economy and sustainable development.

• AMC aims to recycle, research, reserve, redistribute and reallocate the used materials in contemporary artistic practice and art production.
AMC believes materials to be fundamental to artistic practice and art production. Selected, transformed, reorganized and represented by artists, materials embody ideas and concepts in the process of art making. Thus, art is conveyed through objects to be viewed, discussed, analyzed, and circulated. However, when the objects’ function as artworks terminates, materials are detached from the artistic value. How can we re-imagine the afterlives of materials?

• Material as agency
The captions of artwork always limit our understanding of materials to the composition of substances. AMC takes materials as an agency to raise our awareness of the dynamics of materials concerning their provenance, production, representation, and circulation:
1. How do materials undergo sensory and transformative changes through contemporary artistic practice and art production?
2. How to evaluate the observability of materials to the viewer?
3. How do sharing and recycling of materials facilitate interdisciplinary studies in the contemporary world?

• Knowledge circulation: a library of materials
In the warehouse of MACHANG, one of the initiators of AMC, used materials arrive every day. Each material has a unique history of being selected, transformed,
used, and, eventually, forgotten. The staff at MACHANG sorts those materials by categories, gradually building up an archive that epitomizes the commonly-used materials in contemporary artistic practice and art production around Shanghai and the Yangtze River delta region.

AMC aims to systematically organize this archive and develop a new mechanism to recycle, reserve, research, redistribute and reallocate the materials. A library of materials of contemporary art will emerge from this process, facilitating the generation and circulation of knowledge on material science and practice.

• Alternative economy in the material exchange
When materials are deformed and de-contextualized from the environment in which they constitute the body or parts of contemporary artworks, they become useless objects of ‘non-art’ in the current economic system. Through the initiative of AMC, those materials can be reformed and re-contextualized, thus re-entering into artistic practice and art production, and become works of art again.

In the process of redefining the usefulness of materials and turning ‘non-art’ into art, AMC intends to create an alternative economy that liberates practitioners of contemporary art from fixed production costs and gives new value to the used materials, prompting the ‘rebirth’ of art.

AMC calls for all contemporary art practitioners’ participation to build a new model of sharing and collaboration, challenging the status quo of the supply-demand chain of materials in the current economic system of contemporary art.