Xu Sheng: A Spring Party
Source:Artintern Author:Xu Sheng Date: 2014-04-14 Size:
The new exhibition at A Thousand Plateaus Art Space consists of two parts...

The new exhibition at A Thousand Plateaus Art Space consists of two parts: one part is on the first floor, to show the artist He Gong’s recent works during the past two years; the other part is on the second and third floor, to show a group exhibition of several artists including Guo Wenhao, Li Yin, Li Yongzheng, Meng Jin + Fang Er, Qi Lan, Tang Ke, Xiao Kegang and Xie Zhengli, work media include painting, installation, photograph, video, etc..

Under the amiable theme of “He Gong and My Friends”, the exhibition tries to present the differences between generations, life backgrounds, life experiences, creative individuals, etc.. The two parts act in cooperation with each other. Choosing He Gong, who was born in 1950s, as a reference point, in the way of sampling, it presents the creation states of artists at all ages, as well as the their relationships with their life backgrounds and experiences.

As an artist born in 1950s, He Gong has quite a different youth from today’s young artists. The real life gives him a personal understanding of those days, so he is well aware of the significance of art to the reality, and has almost all thoughts on the relationships between the two. Therefore, his works always convey an experience of “thick”. In the meantime, the years of study experience abroad makes him rethink about the reality he’s facing in China and his existing way with the individual identity of a Chinese contemporary artist through a more detached perspective. Not only that, he doesn’t simply copied the American abstract art, but integrates the rebellious spirit and the passion for life and freedom into his own life and art, and uses it to support the confrontation between ideal and reality, and shapes his own art characters in the process; this kind of confrontation and shape is full of suffering and energy; however, it’s not necessary for us to be concerned for the suffering, cause for an artist, the most important thing is the visible mental strength formed in life.

In fact, He Gong adheres to his creation in deep thinking and uncompromising idealism, which makes him become a unique scenery in China’s contemporary art field. Among his recent works, his thoughts on the times and individual existence turn restrained. Or this kind of thinking is no longer the contents of his expression, but the background, which allows his paintings gain more freedom more broadly. In nowadays, He Gong’s life experience and artistic trajectory is impossible to be cloned for the younger artists. Cause times change so rapidly in China, the artists of the new generation can only imagine He Gong’s youth life. On the other hand, He Gong’s way of facing the age and life reflects his inner world, which is intrepid and delicate, decadent and dangerous, Utopian and floating. It’s the quality of his inner world, but has nothing to do with the age. This is also the reason why his works are keeping admiring vitality today. His works have become valuable references, because this kind of reference aims at the inner world, the external background is no more than a mirror reflecting his temperament. For the younger artists who were born in 1970s or 1980s, although it’s an eternal question that how to face the age and how to face the different life and social states, it needs some unprecedented answers, while He Gong’s answer is not finished yet.

Therefore, in this exhibition, with historical background as a special background, we can survey and enjoy the creation of He Gong and the younger artists from a special perspective of view. A Thousand Plateaus Art Space invites different artists who were born in 1970s or 1980s, to let their works participate in a party that is worthy of talking about.

Among the artists of the part of group exhibition, as an artist born in 1980s, Guo Wenhao has obviously been influenced by the concept trends and language experiments. Built on graphical expression, his paintings explore the relationship between the basic structure and symbolic language of painting. Among his presented works, the creation “The Man Who Couldn’t Restrain His Anger” lasts from 2009 to 2014. During this period, he keeps painting down to the lowest level. But in his new creation in 2014, the images have been totally broken, his works look for balance between the freedom of abstract expressionism and the normalization of linguistics. Li Yin, who was also born in 1980s, is always developing his poetic painting style in steady state. His presented works continue the optical expression of the delicate feelings in life. “Gemini in Riverbed” is a complete setting-like presentation of his travel memory. It’s more closed to his works of the past two years. While in the works such as “Court” and “Pegasus”, the situational elements are independent and presented in an abstract pose. Or he is exploring deeper emotion and imagination in a way similar to “close-up”. Li Yongzheng was born in 1970s, on unique personal grounds, he involves his philosophy passion and thinking through the works, and with the help of materials, he tries to coalesce the complex opinions into simple forms. In his recent work “Look! Look!”, there forms a thoughtful silent interaction between the the viewers’ reflection and the slowly emerged bubbles. It suggests the viewers explore and feel their existing way, and leads them from the exhibition site to another psychological space. In the meantime, the work is more concise than before, but it differs from minimalism’s sense of material. Men Jin and Fang Er have overseas study background, they are both life partners and partners in art. Their presented series works “Every Room is Illuminated” and “Don’t Touch Me!” reflect the veiled criticism of the reality. Artworks that criticize the reality can be seen everywhere in China’s contemporary art, but they combine the attention to reality and the purification of formal language, and try to make the works’ critical value more blurred in the framework of aesthetics. It is actually combined with the reflection of politicized art. Qi Lan was born in 1970s, but his unique and profound Chinese culture foundation, as well as a deep understanding of European and American art makes his works surge between the realistic idea agitation and lofty cultural context, and show his deep understanding and application of the tradition. His paintings use a variety of techniques, interspersed with the game-style references or review to Chinese and European art history, disruptive, but always reflect the mature aesthetic accomplishment. Thang Ke, who was also born in 1970s, has a deep understanding of Chinese traditional culture. But he hasn’t chosen to present the two-way surging between destruction and continuation, instead, he depicts the plants and landscapes around him in an extremely peaceful way. Those melons or fruits are all from his long-term cultivation and observation to his miniature garden, so that the silent subjects reveal his long stretches of feelings to the nature. At the same time, his concise and accurate presentation of painting space makes the image light and stable, vision and heart could gradually get unified. Xie Zhengli of the younger generation creates on the basis of rich visual experience and knowledge base, her works are full of rich and varied thoughts and emotions. In a new way, her works of the past one year continue to explore the visual structure of painting. In works such as “The Hidden Leaves”, she picks flowers as the theme, to externalize the inherent strong emotions, and to ensure the adequacy of this kind of externalization with his unique painting technique. In her works such as “Butterfly”, she performances her iconic butterfly specimens with a new composition similar to blooming, to convey a kind of vitality blowing against our faces. As an experienced artist, Xiao Kegang has also been divorced from the mainstream of experimental art, and explored the more traditional expressionist painting. His recent portraits return to the most simple brushwork composition, reduce the performance of brushwork to the lowest level, but at the same time keep the brushwork composition of expressionist painting. All of this make the works’ overall vision beyond the performance of the brushwork and become a presentation of the inner world. The figures don’t possess the basic aesthetic perception, but they become a record of the painting process, and leave room for imagination.

In this exhibition, we can not only see works with experimental nature of materials, but also see works always seeking for breakthroughs in the field of painting. All of them present a new diversity of contemporary art development: today, no materials or media can be on behalf of any position by themselves, they are no more than the artists’ personal choices and expression methods. The world of information technology has digested many cultural barriers, at the same time, with unlimited optional information and reference, individual character shaping is facing unprecedented challenges of unlimited cases. In this paradox, young artists always bear less burden given by the times. They always connect their emotions with contemporary art in a more personal way, their hearts are always presented in the works in a more intuitive way. Meanwhile, the artists have to be unprecedentedly independent and confident, cause the individualization of art makes all trends fake. Facing this change, senior artists can always present a richer sense of depth and texture in the evolution of the work.

One on the presented artist Qi Lan has quoted his conversation with one friend: “I asked my friend: ’what do you think of the contemporary critics’ evaluation of you?’ His answer was full of wisdom: ‘Theorists can easily conclude an era while artists find their existence only in the cracks of history. ‘” In nowadays, with art developing, for any artist, the cracks of history become infinitely narrow, so that the artists could only find them from the inner world; or, “the cracks of history” itself has become irrelevant. Because of this, the choices of art become so abundant. In this seemingly not-so-special spring, it makes us look forward to the story of the future. What’s presented in this exhibition is no more than a luminous detail of this vast prospect.

Related Links:

[Editor] 孙雯