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Suprematist Space : Cai Lei Solo Exhibition

Curator: Cui Cancan

10.15 - 11.19, 2022

Seoul

Press

Cai Lei I Suprematist Space

Curator: Cui Cancan

2022.10.15 - 11.19

The most important issue in Cai Lei’s work is “space”. It is the charm of the sculpture work itself and the testament of the artist’s conceptual thinking. At the same time, it is also a vessel that ultimately contains personal feelings and reality. 

The most important expression in Cai Lei’s creations is “perspective”, which gives various forms and perceptions to space. He constantly compresses, folds, stretches, and pulls the relationship between time and space, guiding the viewers’ gaze to a specific place. However, it is not the “perspective” itself that Cai Lei considers important, neither is the linguistic play of “perspective” that is commonly seen in art. Instead, it is the perception that “perspective” creates, and the emotional change created by distance and gaze.

Cai Lei’s work can’t be said as a simple development of formalism. Although what we see in his work is the space depth, the perspective shrinking, and the sculpted space, but the length, order and rhythm come from the real life and experiences of the artist. It is originated from the memories of several generations of people, and it can be experienced in all spaces and eras. The sculptures on the walls, floors, and corners evoke the memories of one day in the 1980s in the yard. The sunlight shining down at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the narrow kitchen with tiles from his childhood, or the corner of the room in Kafka’s novel, the narrow flat hallway that appears in Eastern European movies… When we look at Cai Lei’s work, we will subconsciously recall the past memories about space. At that moment, what the viewer experienced and perceived would completely be connected. In this process of connecting, the space, perspective, and texture that you experienced in the past would bring you into the depths of your memory.

Cai Lei’s simplification of the difference between abstractionism and minimalism in terms of form is by no means intended to use form as a mystery “emptiness” and “geometric creations”. He redefines and creates reality through the expression of space, perspective, and materials, and by doing so making “abstract” technique became a realism close to psychology and feeling. It starts from “reality” and “physical experience”, and eventually becomes the highest emotion transcending physical and emotion. This emotion is not only the highest form, but the highest spirit. It transcends the denial of form after modernism. The form is denial of a long history of form.

Time always has a texture, and the texture of space also derives from time. It could be long, and it could be short. If we put the reality of a moment in a time of a day, the reality would become so strong that it would do more than compress the space we have. Alternatively, if we put the reality in a time of 10 years, the reality of that moment would just be a flow of memory, and the moment would seem extremely short. If we set the time to a thousand years, everything would be nothing more than the admiration that microorganism burst in an instant. In Cai Lei’s work, the perspective of a particular focus, the texture created by the weathering of time, always draw us into the time distance. The flat space, flowing gold gleam, and very close distance draw us into collective memory. But at the same time, it constantly pushes us out of the collective memory, making us feel as if we were in a completely different world. In this process, we would stare at ourselves and meet ourselves.

At different times of the day, as the light falls into space and removes the scene of the story, the “space” and “time” of Cai Lei’s work reveal themselves. The movement of light is the only trace of change in the work., although some degrees of loneliness permeate this revelation. It would reveal the story and uncover the secret. In a pure space, in a kind of simplified rhythm, we would be able understand more easily the meaning of history. The highest emotion leads you to enter metaphysical thinking transcending reality.

Social properties of shabby houses, reinforced concretes, gilded lusters, reliefs, interior spaces, buildings, theaters, and spaces are expressed in Cai Lei’s various creative stages. They are connected with various experiences of reality. Those experience may be the memories of many people looking back on times, and they may also be someone’s secret memories. There are also broken stairs or remaining structures. However, these diverse perceptions eventually become the best language. Through dimensional reduction, ambiguity, scene division, square meter, unit, and space methods, the structure of cubism and the starting point of abstractionism and the expression of minimalism are combined. They are combined to form a completely new relationship of proportion, order, and structure in Cai Lei’s works. And finally, climbing the stairs, starting from the experience, to reach the highest space and time. 

Works
Unit 20220920

Unit 20220920

Bronze, 24K gold leaf 192 x 50 x 50cm Pedestal : 25 x 54 x 54 cm

Beyond Freedom 20220707

Beyond Freedom 20220707

Bronze 177 x 82 x 68 cm Pedestal : 65 x 82.5 x 69 cm

0102#

0102#

Acrylic on canvas 180 x 152 x 5 cm

209#

209#

Acrylic on canvas 120 x 120 x 5 cm

In Ambiguous Sight 20180101

In Ambiguous Sight 20180101

Acrylic on canvas 250 x 150 x 25 cm

Unit 20220925

Unit 20220925

Bronze, 24K gold leaf 160 x 82 x 48cm Pedestal : 60 x 82 x 48 cm

Inside & Outside 20220503

Inside & Outside 20220503

Bronze, 24K gold leaf 83 x 37.5 x 16.5 cm Pedestal : 123 x 42.5 x 21.5 cm

205#

205#

Acrylic on canvas 180 x 68 x 4 cm

Inside & Outside 20220502

Inside & Outside 20220502

Bronze, 24K gold leaf 83 x 37.5 x 16.5 cm Pedestal :123 x 42.5 x 21.5 cm

Inside & Outside 20220501

Inside & Outside 20220501

Bronze, 24K gold leaf 83 x 38 x 16 cm Pedestal : 123 x 43 x 22 cm

Inside & Outside 20220505

Inside & Outside 20220505

Bronze 101 x 70 x 22 cm Pedestal : 102 x 73 x 25 cm

6.72 Square Meters

6.72 Square Meters

Acrylic on canvas 210 x 105 x 11 cm

Unfinished Home 20220408

Unfinished Home 20220408

Cement 25 x 22 x 8 cm

Unfinished Home 20211025

Unfinished Home 20211025

Cement, Steel structure 90 x 30 x 120 cm Pedestal : 90 x 30 x 80 cm

Inside & Outside 20220507

Inside & Outside 20220507

Bronze 74 x 55 x 20 cm Pedestal: 117 x 61 x 27 cm

Unfinished Home 20220406

Unfinished Home 20220406

Cement 65 x 26.5 x 6 cm

In Ambiguous Sight

In Ambiguous Sight

Acrylic on canvas 180 x 110 x 17 cm

Frame No.2

Frame No.2

Stainless steel baking varnish 180 x 115 x 50 cm

Artist
Artist
Cai Lei

Cai Lei

b.1983 in Changchun, Jilin province, China.

 

Cai Lei’s works explore the relationship between illusion and space. From his interest in planarity, he carves out an illusory conceptual space which oscillates between the second and third dimension for his creations. Working in both painting and mixed media sculptural relief, light plays an important factor in enhancing this illusion of depth. Painted spaces of interior hallways or corners simultaneously protrude and recede depending on the viewer’s experience of the work.


Cai Lei graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sculpture at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. An award winning young artist from the 80s generation, he has exhibited internationally including the Yangtze Art Museum (Chongqing), Foundation Taylor (Paris), Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), CAFA Museum (Beijing), Poly Art Museum (Beijing), Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art (USA), Today Art Museum (Beijing), and Museum of Contemporary Art Bonn (Germany). His solo exhibitions experience: “23 Square Meters”(2018), Whitestone Gallery, Taiwan; “Échelle des plans”(2016), Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing; “In Ambiguous Sight, Unaccompanied”(2016), Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong, China; Group Exhibitions: “Motif and material”(2017), Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong; “Among”(2015), Museum of Contemporary Art Bonn, Germany; CAFA Postgraduates Graduate Exhibition”(2015), CAFA Museum, Beijing, China.

Curator
崔灿灿.jpeg

Cui Cancan

Cui Cancan is an active Chinese independent curator and critic.

He has won CCAA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award) Art Review Award for Youth, Critics’ Award in Chinese contemporary art by YISHU, Annual Exhibition Award by Art Power 100, Nominee for Lincoln Curator Prize by TANC Asia Prize, The Best Artist Solo Exhibition of the Year Award by Chinese Contemporary Art News, Best Exhibition Award by Gallery Week Beijing, Annual Curator Award by Art Bank, et cetera.

Since 2012, he has curated almost 100 major exhibitions, including group exhibitions like Hei Qiao Night Way (2013), Rural Wash, Cut and Blow-dry(2013), FUCKOFF II (2013), Unlived by What is Seen (2014), Between the 5th and 6th Ring Road in Beijing (2015), The Decameron (2016), Rip it Up (2017), Spring Festival Projects (2018) , The Curation Workshop (2019) and Nine-Tiered(2020). He has curated artists’ solo exhibitions such as Ai Weiwei, Bao Xiaowei, Chen Danqing, Chen Yufan, Chen Yujun, Feng Lin, Han Dong, He Yunchang, Huang Yishan, Jiang Bo, Li Binyuan, Liu Gangshun, Liu Jianhua, Li Qing, Li Zhanyang, Ding Muer, Ma Ke, Mao Yan, Qin Qi, Sui Jianguo, Shijiezi Art Museum, Shi Jinsong, Shen Shaomin, Tan Ping, Wang Qingsong, Xie Nanxing, Xia Xiaowan, Xia Xing, Xiao Yu, Xu Zhongmin, Xu Xiaoguo, Zong Ning, Polit-Sheer-Form, Zhang Yue and Zhao Zhao et cetera.

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