Artists: Chen Ruofan, Etsu Egami, Kaito Itsuki, Wang Xuebing, Wang Xiyao, Yan Bingqian
Curated by Lu Xiangyi
3.18 - 4.17, 2021
On the 18th of March 2021, Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present “Low Fever,” the Hong Kong space’s first group exhibition of women artists born in the 1990s, on March 18. This show will present more than twenty works by six artists: Chen Ruofan, Etsu Egami, Kaito Itsuki, Wang Xuebing, Wang Xiyao, and Yan Bingqian.
Artists born in the 1990s grew up at a time when information technologies were developing rapidly, bureaucracy was being reduced, and knowledge was being shared in an egalitarian way. They matured as previous generations were establishing comparative methods for them. This generation of artists has now made its way into the contemporary art scene, and in a moment when gender has become a global focal point, women artists of this generation no longer merely articulate the distance or antagonism between the sexes in their paintings. Their methods are diverse meta-expressions; taking advantage of their times, these women artists have had the ability to make breakthroughs in meta-painting and “sexist” painting. More than any previous generation, those born in the 1990s find themselves in an intermediate state. When faced with attacks from both the past and future, what kinds of languages or attitudes should they employ? They keenly and casually move their brushes across the canvas, and their sensitive pre-emption of knee-jerk reactions to the “youth crisis” presents as a low-grade fever.
A low fever is a physical symptom that can be felt. Whether an artist confronts the larger predicaments of our era, the environment outside of art, or the issue of art itself, this feeling can be painted. Art is always a multi-sensory experience of the world, and sensation and the body are naturally enmeshed with one another. In a chapter entitled “Painting and Sensation,” Gilles Deleuze wrote, “What is painted on the canvas is the body, not insofar as it is represented as an object, but insofar as it is experienced as sustaining this sensation.”
Etsu Egami paints her Rainbow portraits with flowing colors, clean compositions, and strong brushwork. She has studied and lived in many countries around the world, and she has explored the essence of communication through personal experiences of mishearing and misreading. She believes that the language of rainbows really resonates with her state of mind; it has become a symbolic language for communication that has gradually permeated her painting style.
With ropey, relaxed lines and bright colors, Wang Xiyao conveys living passion and movement to the outside world, through the limited space and form of the painted canvas. Within the process of painting, she focuses on maintaining a relationship between the canvas and the body despite unbounded physical displacement. Balanced movement, the tension produced by movement, the resilience created by an internal tautness and control, and the support and complementarity of this resilience allows her to find and contrast balance and imbalance in the intervals between energies.
In White Peach’s microscopic compositions of obscure bodily forms and in Unknown Sense’s minute considerations of humanity’s existence between technology and reality, Chen Ruofan explores the digital through muted tones and a fusion of new media and traditional techniques. She asks: In a cyborg human society, how much of life can truly be felt?
Wang Xuebing is inspired by the use of high-contrast colored lighting in Dario Argento’s horror films, which strengthens the visual effects of color and light. She paints the handbags, jewelry, and fashions from luxury goods advertisements; the objects are relocated and made ambiguous, and their unbalanced or absurd proportions in the paintings make them seem oversized, fragmented, or thick. She explores the possibilities between the worthless and the luxurious, as well as the multiplicity of fictions and realities.
In her paintings, Kaito Itsuki creates new mythological figures and fictional organisms. They symbolize the states of the human soul, and by highlighting the deformity or alienation of these states, she reflects the process of human self-identification. She discusses how people should create their own specific identities and use mythology as a metaphor to analyze some of these unintelligible human behaviors.
Sequences of people and things can change, and Yan Bingqian chooses to describe them in a restrained way. Atmospheric linear brushstrokes, indistinct substances, and extremely emotional visual rhetoric coexist in her work.
b. 1994 in Tokyo, Japan
Etsu Egami graduated with a B.F.A. from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) specializing in Oil Painting in 2016. She graduated with an M.F.A. at CAFA under the mentor of artist Liu Xiao Dong and studied in HFG in Germnay. She is now in New York dispatched as talented artist by Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan Government.
Growing up in United States and Europe, and currently living and working in China, Etsu Egami experienced various communication barriers she encountered as a result. She felt that languages can “only be sensed, not explained”, thus becoming more interested in the discipline of language and communication. Etsu’s works comprise of various media forms, such as voice, video and drawings, through which she strives to question human’s instincts and the authenticity of communication. Curator of Pompidou art center Julie said about her , “I saw all these specificities as a source, not only of misunderstanding, but also of creation and richness in people’s relationships. ”. Chinese curator Feng Bo Yi also said “Etsu’s creation is about the concept and the significance of ‘communication’. Through the paintings and videos which embodies these mishearing games, as well as the evolution of times, the clashes between civilizations, we acquire a discourse on the barriers in language communications, and subsequently even trigger a crisis.”
Etsu Egami had her solo show in museum, Entrance gallery Vol.1 EGAMI Etsu in Chiba City Museum of Art,Japan (2020) and many countries. She also had many group shows in Asia, including: VOCA2020, Ueno-Royal museum, Japan (2020), Negotiating Space: I Never Thought You Were Like That – Third CAFAM Biennale, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2016); Neither Here nor There, Yuan Dian Art Museum, Beijing, China (2016).
Between 2012 to now, Etsu won numerous awards. Most recently she is nominated as Forbes 30 UNDER 30 in 2020 and finalist of Asian Art Prize of Sovereign Art Foundation in 2019.
Etsu Egami currently lives and works between Tokyo and New York.
b.1993 in Henan, China
Wang Xuebing received her BFA from University of California, Los Angeles in 2016 and MA from Royal College of Art in London. She now lives and works in London. Wang's paintings explore a twisted view of modern consumerism through the lens of luxury fashion and other objects of desire. Taken down from the spotlights and high pedestals, peeled off from massive billboards and commercial campaigns, the trending garments portrayed are trapped, marginalized, displaced, and obscured in the paradox of scale, location and value, examining the possibility to transform the non-valuable into the valuable, and to discern fictions from realities.
B.1996 in Hubei, China
Ruofan Chen, based in London, is currently studying MFA sculpture at the Royal College of Art. She holds a BFA degree with honor from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Her work crosses the boundary between traditional media and technology. She first uses 3D modeling software to render the object, then represents virtual images in physical form. While questioning the limitations and possibilities of digital and traditional art, she criticized today’s over-reliance on technology. Chen has held a solo exhibition in at Powerlong Art Center, Xiamen (2020), Paper Gallery, Manchester (2020); and participated in extensive institutional exhibitions, including Yuan Art Museum, Beijing (2021), West Bund Art Center, Shanghai (2020), Wells Project, London (2020), Southwark Park Galleries, London (2020), amongst others.
b.1992 in Chongqing, China
The artist Wang Xiyao was born and raised in 1992 in Chongqing, China. After graduating at the Sichuan fine art Institute, she is studying currently at HFBK Hamburg under Werner Büttner. Wang´s work relies on abstract expressionism and combines clear structures with her specific gesture.
b.1993 in Shanghai, China
Yan Bingqian graduated from University of Shanghai for Science and Technology with a bachelor’s degree in 2015. She currently lives and works in Shanghai.
b.1993 in Hokkaido, Japan
Kaito Itsuki is a painter born in 1993, in Sapporo, Hokkaido, and is currently based in Tokyo and New York.
Kaito's hometown of Sapporo had few opportunities for seeing art in person so much of her aesthetic influences came from anonymous images floating around the internet, video games, or comics. Staying in Sapporo until she graduated from a local arts high school, she then studied painting at Tohoku University of arts and design. Kaito also studied cultural anthropology, comparative religion and youth cultures which provided inspiration for the themes of her art works. Afterwards, she received a MFA from Kyoto city university of arts and in 2019, moved to Tokyo and then NYC to pursue her art career.