Tang Contemporary Art is delighted to announce its representation of the post-80s artist Leng Guangmin in Asia, alongside his first solo exhibition with us "Shells garner Lingering Light" at Hong Kong H Queen’s, opening on October 13, 2023. This exhibition will showcase 18 of the artist's latest works.
Since Leng Guangmin's first exhibition "Hive · Becoming II, See the Appearance: The Solo Exhibition of Leng Guangmin” in 2013, he has conveyed the concept that the surface represents everything – we do not need to explore any underlying meanings, as they are uncertain and void. Contrarily, the surface is always there, incredibly clear, just like how after a certain stage of research, all studies need to return to this most objective starting point. Leng Guangmin consciously concretizes this surface, constantly endowing it with certain characteristics such as "material," "hard," "fragile," and "lacking vitality and emotions." Gradually, a concept of "shell" is formed. At this moment, his work is no longer like a flat wall but can extend into any object or image. It is the artist’s fundamental work now to combine objects and images in a certain logical order. And because of the attributes of the "shell," Leng often creates a landscape of alienation, described as "gorgeous yet hollow," "fading without emotions," and "broken yet quiet." It has become a world unique to the artist’s understanding.
Leng Guangmin's solo exhibition "Shell, like the wings of a cicada" at the beginning of 2023 officially introduced the concept of "shell" and explained its characteristics. This current exhibition, " Shells garner Lingering Light," then reminds us of the spatial structure within each composition: light passes through the gaps between the "shells" and fades away, while the light on the shells remains, allowing us to take a glimpse of the whole. These gaps between the "shells" bring to mind the Chinese phrase "sparse enough for horses to run through, but dense enough to block the wind." It is precisely this strong contrast of rhythm that the artist hopes to incorporate into his paintings. These shells are combined in different forms, sometimes converging and sometimes disintegrating, creating a sense of process that is intertwined with the logic of image construction. Different logics give rise to different series of works, ranging from calm restraint to intense resonance. For example, the "ice cream" series exhibits more restraint, while the "birds" series is more intense.
It is not difficult to see that there have been significant changes in Leng Guangmin's creative approach in recent years. Around 2017, the artist began experimenting with subtraction in his artworks, which led to a constant self-doubt: when objects in the paintings are abstracted to a certain degree, does the space for language become limited, restricting the possibilities of materials and imagery? Therefore, the year 2020 became a turning point for Leng. He started to explore the concept of addition in his works, introducing new linguistic changes that allowed for more serendipity and expressive potential of materials. In his new works, the imagery becomes more abundant, and he demonstrates a more proficient mastery of the use of previous techniques. The gaps between lines cut out pixelated mosaic scales, while the logic of image weaving resembles the latitude and longitude lines of cartography – all of which has constituted his distinct personal language.
In Leng Guangmin's context, "class" is defined as a clue for constructing images: an image has different levels of variation, such as size, speed, and temperature, and they can all alter the rhythm of changes equally, just like the equality of life. Nonetheless, in reality, there may be hierarchical differences among different species, or even within the same species or population. The artist weaves these differences and factors like "size, speed, temperature" into the rhythm of image elements, forming a composition that is guided by the natural order of objects and the images themselves.
Although Leng Guangmin's creative process always starts from the "surface," his in-depth research and execution with various materials and tools make the surface of his works rich in layers. The image is a condensed reality, a peeling image that fragments the real world, but the objects themselves remain free. A flower, a couple of leaves, a pile of seashells—they are spacious yet full of power, presenting a harmonious negation. The unfamiliarity of the original objects forms a thin membrane of perception between them and the viewer. As the exhibition theme suggests, light passes through the folds, through the gaps in the painting, and falls on the surface of the objects, lingering within our gaze.
TIME Mixed media on canvas 50 x 35 cm 2022
Withered leaves No.1 Mixed media on canvas 50 x 35 cm 2022
Withered leaves No.2 Mixed media on canvas 50 x 35 cm 2022
Fruits Mixed media on canvas 50 x 35 cm 2022
Face-like mountain Mixed media on canvas 75 x 50 cm 2021
The black butterfly Mixed media on canvas 120 x 120 cm 2022
Staggered shells Mixed media on canvas 150 x 120 cm 2023
Hunting Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2023
Cut a hollyhock (shell) Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2023
Cut a hollyhock (kernel) Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2023
Blue macaw Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2023
Green macaw Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2023
Black sweet Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2023
Gold cutting Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2023
Black goddess Mixed media on canvas 200 x 150 cm 2022
Find a volume Mixed media on canvas 200 x 300 cm (200 x 150 cm x 2p) 2022
Red beach Mixed media on canvas 200 x 300 cm (200 x 150 cm x 2p) 2022
The birth of godness X Mixed media on canvas 235 x 555 cm (235 x 185 cm x 3p) 2023
b. 1986, Qingzhou, Shandong Province, China
Leng Guangmin was born in Qingzhou, Shandong, in 1986. During studies in the department of oil paintings at Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, Leng spontaneously explored his path to break the traditional paradigm of oil painting creation and became one of the most significant painting artists of the 80s generation. In contrast to accumulated paints and strokes, he chose to open a brand-new physical space in the image with the movement of slicing. Slicing is not only his creative method but also his attitude toward art, which is keen, determined, and resolute. With relatively consistent painting skills, the artist keeps dissecting materials and images guided by some clues but has no clear themes. The ubiquitous tension formed by confrontations, the opposing but complementary colors, the level and scraped materials, the hard-edged and gradient textures, and the conformal and negative structures are the incomparable attractions of his paintings. They enable the artist to refine the inner order behind the numerous and complicated objects, which can be manifested with images only in a highly abstract and endlessly changing state. His critical solo exhibitions include: "Shell, like the wings of a cicada", MAHO KUBOTA GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan, 2023; Personal Project at West Bund Art & Design Fair, Shanghai, China, 2019; "Ripples", MAHO KUBOTA GALLERY, Tokyo, Japan, 2018;Leng Guangmin: Perfect Destruction, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2017; Leng Guangmin: Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2014; Hive · Becoming II, See the Appearance: The Solo Exhibition of Leng Guangmin, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2013 and so on.