Tang Contemporary Art is about to launch a brand new group exhibition, Over the Wall: Paintings Tempted by Installation, on May 7th.Curated by Zhu Zhu, the exhibition is ready to present a selection of twenty pieces (sets) of paintings and installations gathered from eleven artists: ChenKe, Chen Yujun, Chusak Srikwan (Thailand), Gao Lei, Huang Yuxing, Li Jie, Li Qing, Ni Youyu, Qiu Xiaofei, Yan Heng, and Zang Kunkun.
These artists are not only using canvas as the media for their paintings but also stone, glass, wood, and even clocks and table boards. They alternatively relinquished the traditional form of painting and turned to the creative application of combining collage with images in an attempt to leap out of the restriction of planarity and reach out to embrace the space, which blur sour established conventional notion of painting and installation. The exhibition title Over the Wall also depicts that the artists are tempted by a richer means of expression and are eager to cross the boundary of media. This is a collection of creative works in one place so as to explore the diversity of the artists’ expressions on “painting installation” for the very first time.
Just as Zhu Zhu , the Curator has described: Although the concepts of Rauschenberg or Kiefer certainly did influence Chinese artists of the 1980s, the morphology of paintings as installations has never been taken as a dominant proposition within the local context. As a result, there has not been an exhibition to explore the subject thus far. Hence, the exhibition “Over the Wall” at Tang Contemporary Art illustrates recent practical achievements through a sectional view rather than following historical traces, so as to address the proposition in transcendence of any controversy in reviewing its legitimacy. These achievements demonstrate how painting, once seated at the artistic throne and dominating the face of every wall, managed to overstep its boundary and coincide with other elements in order to confront the temptation and stimulation of conceptualism, which has been using installation as its core vehicle and spatial dimensions for its visual coverage.
The title A Room with a View is derived from a work of fiction written by British novelist Edward Morgan Forster. The theme of female self-awakening and struggle happens to correspond with that of the artist Chen Ke’s own gender and focus. The room is a metaphor for constraint, whereas the scenery stands for freedom and the other side of the ideal. Although in daily life our physical activity may be confined to a given space and we may also compromise to reality, the spiritual world in us can be a beam of light to flyour mind and soul into the high sky.
In the series A state of similarity, specific settings or object details are placed at a more abstract space or shape for view, presenting an intermediary state between reality and imagination. Chen Yujun has been paying intensive attention to space, family, identity, and individual themes, which can be interpreted as the artist’s affirmation of unknown states or his suspect of the reality. The structure in this series also depicts dislocated existence of spaces, similar to some deceitful memory.
Thailand’s Chusak Srikwan, with a creative inspiration from the shadow play (Nang Talung in Thai), blends traditional art into contemporary art. He makes use of hand-colored puppets made from cattle hideand creates a theatre effect in space. Most characters in his artwork demonstrate distinctive human traits. For the southern Thai audience, drama view is part of their daily recreational activities, and the dramatic stories are usually based on their everyday life, integrating with social ethics and norms.
In L-01 and R-01, Gao Lei’s artwork is produced in the context of forced demolition of vast art districtsin 2009, which together showcase the artist’s repetitive experience with both physical and mental torture when his studio was cut off access to its supply of water, power, and heating in a freezing winterfollowed by several times of hooliganism and police interrogation. One time, Gao Lei had to go and warm himselfat an IKEA store and wherein he fell asleep on a sofa. After he woke up, he found two blocks of table board for seasonal promotion. Mirrored in the two surface colors are his extreme sensibility to exterior temperatures and also his capricious inner emotions.
This series is directly painted onto the reverse sides of a quartz clock with extensively oriented themes, such as a phallic masturbatory toy, figures, and the sky….Instead ofthe common and conventional canvas, the industrial, ready-made materials have been chosen as the carrier, and the combination of material objects enhances their contents and settings. At the exhibition site, the volume-amplified sound of the hour hand’s movementsproduce an effect of a lapse over time.
The video and painting combination in the artworkby Li Jie enhances an illusoryimpression, with a personal enchantment for the viewerwho is thus able to “see the artist’s recollectionsthrough a window”.
The Rural Church describes not so much a religious beliefas a worldly illusion, that is, how the symbol of a belief orcertain elements of power can be witnessed, perceived, and comprehended by us right here and now. Li Qing has collected old wooden windows and timber to assemble into this church complex while painting another ruralchurch behind the window. By means of such a “window” representation, sometimes the painting appears hidden behind while in other occasions, it may pop out, and these are the settings the artist would like to site.
The artwork Dust takes the pictures of starry cosmos as the prototype and makes use ofa piece of proportionatelyenlarged blackboard, some boxesof white chalk, and prepared spray gel as the media. The copying processis itself a dynamic waxing and waningbetween reasoning of measurement and estimation and perceptual hand-drawing. The finished artwork appears a “stabilized” state, but every second witnesses invisible dust onto or off the surface, like the real universe changing at any moment.
The imaginaryand realistic wooden frames in the painting form a semantic circulation whereas the artist Qiu Xiaofei, at his position as a stander-by, through appropriate reclusive withdrawal, gets away from ideological imaging to shed light onthe relationship between heartand matter.
Fond of representational elements, Yan Heng is skilled in application of neutral and innocent symbols and diagrams. In combination of manual painting with installation, humanbody’s drifting state presented in the world of materials on different hardness scales suggests that the environment where we live resembles a centrifugal machine that can fling us into various worm holes.
Zang Kunkun’s artwork shiftsgradually from recombination of public fitness facilities with“punishing instruments” to enhanced application of abstract shaping methodologyand integrated materials. The sociological thematic expression comes asa semi-concealed existence in his artistic voiceof installation art. The embedmentofabrasive cloth and aluminum foilexerts a contrasting effect with the hand-painted effect, and the dazzling LED light further scales up the strong senses of “anti-view” and “anti-aesthetic” appreciation.
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