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Transmitting the Ancient, Installation view

Transmitting the Ancient

Installation view

Transmitting the Ancient, Installation view

Transmitting the Ancient

Installation view

Chambers Fine Art is proud to announce the opening of Transmitting the Ancient, the second solo exhibition devoted to seminal conceptual photographer Hong Lei. Renowned for his mysterious, cerebral simulations of classic Chinese paintings, the artist presents a suite of still life photographs that forefront the means of their own construction.

In the Speak, Memory of… series, Hong Lei presents arrangements of artificial flora and fauna, merging the arts of sculpture and photography. Fake flies hung from black thread gather around a pomegranate branch, spray of bamboo, or sprig of pine tree (within which coils an imitation snake.) Bright plum blossoms splash across the space of the image, their deceptive vitality fixed in photographic emulsion. Scholar’s rocks, meditative objects cherished by the intelligentsia, bid to retain their imaginative grip in two-dimensional reproduction.

With their thematic connection to scholarly seclusion and reflection, many of these images attest to, as Hong Lei says, “an attempt to record an image of Zen contemplation.” Yet this is a very 21st century Zen – a Zen of the spectacle, facsimile, simulacrum, and ruse. Riffing on multiple levels of artificiality, the photographs fuse different modes of concentration into a single complex engagement. The contemplation of an imaginary scholar presents itself at the level of motif; that of the artist in the flaunting of artifice; and that of the spectator confronting a work of contemporary art.

Such layering of time, memory, and perspective is characteristic of Hong Lei’s photographic practice. For Hong Lei’s Narrative: An Alternative Beauty, his first Chambers Fine Art solo show in 2003, the artist displayed photographic doppelgangers of Song Dynasty paintings. Traveling to the original sites, he framed the exact views, creating ghostly mimics of classic masterpieces as beautiful in their own right as they are fascinating in their dialogue with the past.

A colorist of remarkable intensity, Hong Lei arranges his motifs with a highly disciplined sense of composition. Transmitting the Ancient engages, reflects, and re-invents Chinese classicism, positing a contemporary neo-classicism of rich sensuality and sly dialectics.


在题为《说吧》的系列作品中,洪磊将复制的花卉和动物模型并置,以挑战雕塑与摄影两种媒体的界限。在这些作品中,苍蝇用黑线掉着,在石榴枝,竹子或蛇状松枝 的四周悬挂着。鲜艳的梅花占据整个作品的画面,因为照片的 欺骗性 使它们显得更加栩栩如生。其他作品中,被文人所青睐的供石也成为了激发观者想像的源 泉。

这些作品的主题一方面与文人雅士的休身和养性息息相关,同时 也是洪磊所说的“捕捉禅思图像"的结果。但这种禅思又代带有强烈的当代感,表现了二十一世纪的奇观性,模仿性,幻像性,甚至欺骗性。这个系列的作品将不同 的艺术表现手段融合,在不同层次上反应“不自然性"。这是一位想像中的文人对自己的反思,是艺术家对不自然的反思,也是观者面对艺术作品时的反思。