Frieze Los Angeles plans Asian-focused film series with Katsuhiro Otomo’s ‘Akira’

Venus Lau photographed in Shanghai in 2018.
(JJYPHOTO / K11 Art Foundation / Galerie Nächst St Stephan / Katharina Grosse / VG Bild-Kunst)

Frieze Los Angeles, which is gearing up for its sophomore showing Feb. 13-16 at Paramount Studios, on Tuesday announced Chinese curator Venus Lau’s plans for an Asian-focused Film & Talks series at the art fair.

Lau is the artistic director of Hong Kong’s K11 Art Foundation, a nonprofit developing and promoting contemporary artists in China.

Visibility and invisibility — related to individuals and identity, but also to social, political, technological and economic forces — is a theme running through the program, as is the idea of Los Angeles as a place where cultures from around the world intersect.

“The broader concept of the screening is the ‘in-betweens,’” Lau wrote in an email. “The middle grounds between day and night; present, past and future; life and death; public and private spaces. The liminal spaces between visibility and invisibility is just one of those.”

Cao Fei’s “Asia One” (2018), will kick off the series on Thursday afternoon, the fair’s opening day. The film, set in 2021, takes place at an automated “logistics center” in China and centers on a relationship that develops between two humans and an AI robot.

One series highlight, also on Thursday, is the screening of Japanese director Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1988 animated cyberpunk feature, “Akira.” The film, which is based on Otomo’s same-named manga, is set in a post-apocalyptic, war-torn Neo-Tokyo and follows a biker gang leader and his psychic friend who rebel against the establishment.


Adrián Villar Rojas’ “The Most Beautiful Moment of War — El Momento más Hermoso de la Guerra” (2017), will screen on Sunday. The Argentine artist’s site-specific installation “The Theater of Disappearance” was on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Geffen Contemporary space in 2017. His nearly hour-long “The Most Beautiful Moment of War” is the final part of a trilogy that collectively explores the ongoing evolution of man, Earth and nature.

A grouping of shorts by Canadian artist Jon Rafman, along with Chinese artists Tao Hui, Cheng Ran and Wong Ping will screen on a loop for about 40 minutes on Thursday afternoon.

Another selection of shorts juxtaposes the work of French artist Cyril Duval (Item Idem) and Chinese artist Yang Fudong. The 40 minutes of film will screen continuously for three hours on Friday afternoon, followed by Lau in conversation with Fudong that evening and the curator in conversation with Duval on Saturday night.

Los Angeles, Lau said, is the perfect backdrop against which to present this particular program. “L.A. is a diverse city with a very specific culture, it is a good place to think about in-betweens.”

Screenings and talks will primarily take place throughout the run of the fair at Paramount Theatre, with some events held elsewhere on the Paramount lot. Tickets will be available at Frieze Los Angeles.

Hollywood’s fantasy industry, Mexican American representation, African American visual culture — these are some of the themes of Frieze Projects 2020.