Meditation

Chen Siping, Dong Yuan, Fu Xiaotong, Lao Tongli, Li Xuwei and Wu Wei

BEIJING

November 26, 2016 – January 18, 2017

Chen Siping 陈思平 (b. 1986) 

Roaming Series No. 1 游系列1号

2016

Steel 锈钢

39 1/4 x 11 1/2 x 11 1/2 in (100 x 29 x 29 cm)

Edition of 6, 2/6版

 

 

Dong Yuan 董媛 (b. 1984)

Four Seasons 四季

2015

Acrylic and water color on canvas 布面丙烯,水彩

23 1/2 x 59 in (60 x 150 cm)

Fu Xiaotong 付小桐 (b. 1976)

207,240 Pinpricks 207,240 孔

2016

Handmade paper 手工宣纸

30 1/4 x 64 1/4 in (77 x 163 cm)

Lao Tongli 劳同丽 (b. 1982)

Desire of Libido No.2, 丽比多之欲 – 02号

2016

Pigment on silk 绢本工笔重彩

54 3/4 x 107 in (139 x 272 cm)

Li Xuwei 李旭伟 (b. 1979)

Dust

2016

Water-based material, scratching and engraving on canvas 布面、水性材料、刮刻

21 3/4 x 13 in (55 x 33 cm)

Wu Wei 伍伟 (b. 1981)

Untitled 无题

2015

Oil on canvas 纸上绘画

55 1/4 x 43 1/4 in (140 x 110 cm)

 

 

Chambers Fine Art is proud to announce young artists group show Meditation, which opens on November 26th at our Beijing gallery. Five artists are presented in the exhibition: Chen Siping, Dong Yuan, Fu Xiaotong, Lao Tongli, and Wu Wei. With the recent decades of economic growth in China, artists have had to respond to a rapidly changing environment. Surviving the stress and anxiety in this environment, all the while resisting external temptations, has created pitfalls for young Chinese artists, threatening to limit their creativity. Artists are trying find novel ways to move forward; yet, in today’s globalized world, it is challenging to be unique. Moreover, it is very difficult for artists to surpass previous masters in technical skill. Thus, the theme or concept behind the art has become an essential element to foster a breakthrough in creation.

As a result, often the focus of today’s exhibitions is on the social, cultural and historical background of artworks. This provides a comprehensive view, and it also places the work within the historical development of an era. However, for this show, we have chosen a different approach. The young artists presented in our show take their inspiration from their own unique personalities, interests, and daily experiences. What connects them is their working process, a state of meditation or “dreaming” that can be seen as a counter-balance to the anxiety in today’s reality.

Meditation, whether for religious or spiritual purposes, or as a method of relaxation, requires one to focus the mind for a period of time. It is through this focusing, or ‘clearing’ of the mind, that one can create a space that provides stability, and a connection to their true self. For French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, making art was akin to meditation – it was a way to cope with emotion – a tool to keep her sanity in an uncertain world. Indeed, art-making can serve as a means of self-connection, and for certain artists, a way to harness true self-expression.

The artists presented in this exhibition seem to effortlessly, and in some cases purposefully, tap into this state of meditative calm in order to create their art. Their ability to do so is remarkable, given that this is a group of relatively young artists who have grown up experiencing the frenetic, fast-paced changes that have characterized contemporary China. Their works, each with an inherent meticulousness of its own, demand the audience themselves to slow down, to examine from alternate angles, and appreciate over time the individual processes by which these pieces came into being.

Chen Siping’s minimalist architectural forms resemble miniature, industrial cityscapes that are at once stark and elegant.  Reminiscent of more agile, less rigid interpretations of Constructivist structures, Chen’s use space creates a balance that reveals architectural elements – a set of stairs, a delicately curved arch – as one makes their way around the piece. The artist’s keen sense for spatial relationships is evident in his work, to the point where the empty space itself becomes an important component of his work.

Dong Yuan’s compositions, by contrast, are devoid of space, and instead filled with a sea of overlapping colors. Upon closer inspection, it is in fact creatures and characters of all kinds populate her canvases, some in human form, others resembling animals or monsters, and all of them with cartoonish sets of eyes staring every which way.  It is impossible not to become enveloped by her compositions. Dong Yuan provides the most direct references contemporary society, with her depictions of Chairman Mao on the 100 renminbi note, himself unknowingly comprised of a writhing mass of creatures, representing the greed-obsessed, ‘awful side of human nature’. 

Fu Xiaotong uses a needle to perforate sheets of hand-made xuan paper until landscape images emerge from her carefully orchestrated excavation of the surface of the paper. Working with extreme precision, her creation process becomes akin to meditation, with each repeated movement allowing her to enter a state of pure self-expression.

Lao Tongli works with a traditional Chinese brush, creating webs of overlapping colored lines, immediately bringing to mind natural root systems, blood vessels, or corals, that seem to extend infinitely. Extremely labor-intensive, the artist views his work in part as an exercise in patience, and actively tries to “enjoy the physical labor” involved with his creation process. Mindful of the spiritual connotations in his meditative approach to painting, Lao Tongli tries to “find freedom and nirvana” through his work.

Li Xuwei takes pre-prepared canvases and then uses a burin, or small engraving knife, to etch small lines into the surface. The tiny etches coalesce into undulating mountainous forms, composed of viscous swirls and waves, creating a sense of constant movement. An alternate series of work reveals an elegant and overlapping set of kinetic elliptical swirls, almost Twombly-esque at first glance. Upon closer examination these seemingly fluid strokes are in fact made up of Li’s tiny, etched lines. 

Wu Wei presents a diverse set of works, each meticulously executed in its own way. In one, what appears to be a cross-section of magnified cell structures radiate outward, the circular forms becoming intertwined as they ‘grow’ into one another.  Wu’s Golden Bodies, according to the artist, ‘signifies the pursuit of Nirvana in Buddhism’. To create this piece, the artist began by tracing the curved outlines of human and animal hairs onto paper, and then applying pigments made of gold powder to the outlines, thereby enlarging each silhouette. After repeating this process over and over, the curved golden lines meld into and on top of one another, creating a delicate, 3-dimensional abstract form.

北京前波画廊荣幸地宣布将于11月26日举办年轻艺术家群展《静修》,参展艺术家包括陈思平、董媛、付小桐、劳同丽、李洁、李旭伟和伍伟七位艺术家。随着中国经济和科技飞速的发展,我们同时也看到了艺术家在面对这一环境时所发生的变化。生存的压力、外界的诱惑与艺术创作上的瓶颈,多重的枷锁带来的极度焦虑和躁动不安,几乎所有艺术家都在思考着如何独辟蹊径。然而,在全球化的今天,独具匠心似乎已经成为了一种奢侈,艺术家很难再从绘画技巧或是媒材上超越前人,因此,如何寻求一个具有突破性的创作主题或题材成为了关键因素。

 

通常来说,我们会更加关注艺术家在作品中所涉及的社会叙事,文化或历史背景,因为它们不仅题材宏大,更记录了一个时代的发展。而此次展览,我们选择了另一个截然不同的视角,展览中的几位年轻艺术家的创作题材都源自于个人性情和趣味,或从日常经验中获得,更为值得一提的是他们的创作过程,通过如神游或修行般的重复与繁复工作以平衡现实世界所遭遇到的种种不安。

 

陈思平(1986年出生于福建)极具节奏感和秩序感的雕塑《游》呈现并传达了机械时代的文化语境和美学理解。他的雕塑作品没有现实物像的来源,而完全依靠天马行空的想象,螺旋和冷峻的几何元素在错落的空间中结合,让他在畅游的同时诠释了建筑的美感。与充满极简元素的雕塑不同,董媛(1984年出生于辽宁)的作品《四季》和《呐喊》由成百上千个奇幻的形象组成,这些形象每个都各不相同却互相关联,甚至身体共用同一部分。这些神秘的形象来自艺术家长时间盯着空画布所捕获的形态,并迅速画了下来,有些形态被描绘下来后甚至艺术家也无从知道是什么,她的整个创作过程似乎是在演绎一场意识流,毫无章法却形象生动。

劳同丽(1982年出生于广东)作品中的树纵横交错,重叠并缠绕绵延,犹如血脉;李洁(1970年出生于河南)作品中的螺丝钉被无限重复地堆积和穿插,并精心营造,重新彰显物性;付小桐(1976年出生于山西)作品中的山河由成千上万个不同方向的针孔组成;李旭伟(1979年出生于内蒙古)作品中的点线面皆由刮刀在涂有颜料的表面一笔一笔刮刻而成。他们几位艺术家每件作品都饱含时间和劳作的意义,如苦行僧般的修行过程宁静而致远。

伍伟(1981年出生于河南)的作品里将他对生命的思考结合了起来。在《金身》作品中,通过描摹散落在白纸之上带有自身生命特征的毛发,并用金粉反复沿着被描摹下毛发的边缘轮廓逐渐扩大,直到不同外轮廓线相互触及,犹如磁场般在毛发的周边不断放大和流动。《光与黑暗》中放大了与人类生命息息相关的疾病病毒的形态,并赋予金属颜料的光感,同时借用星空的观看和呈现方式,将生命的不可预知性凸现出来。与此相呼应的还有艺术家通过将类似动物身体的纸质皮毛赋予反常形态和色彩的《皮毛》作品,也是对生命脆弱和不可预知的探索。

我们相信,艺术家在经历过身体的苦修和心理的挣扎后会碰撞出更多的可能性,而这些细微的可能性,也许正是我们在对未来和未知世界的探索。

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