Not Too Late

Recent Works by Feng Mengbo

BEIJING

September 15 – October 28, 2012

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2012

Ink, mixed media on canvas 布上墨汁和混合媒介

37 x 59 in (94 x 150 cm)

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2012

Ink, mixed media on paper 纸上墨汁和混合媒介

9 x 34 1/2 in (24 × 88 cm)

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2012

Ink, mixed media on canvas 布上墨汁和混合媒介

29 1/2 x 47 1/4 in (75 x120 cm)

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on September 15 of Not Too Late- Recent Works by Feng Mengbo. In recent years it has become apparent that China’s leading video and new media artist is becoming increasingly interested in painting, an activity he essentially abandoned as soon as he acquired his first Macintosh and synthesizer in the early 1990s. Between 1993 when his work was first shown at the Venice Biennale and 2008 when the eight-screen interactive video game installation Long March- Restart was completed, the development of Feng’s work paralleled the extraordinary growth in reach and sophistication of the cyber world, but in 2007 the exhibition Wrong Code- Shanshui revealed an interest in classical Chinese painting and calligraphy that has grown progressively stronger.

Simultaneously with Yi Bite at Chambers Fine Art in 2009/2010 and Journey to the West, 2010, both of which explore different aspects of Chinese visual art, Feng was working on Not Too Late, a much more abstract video that was first shown in Decode: Digital Design Sensations at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 2010 and subsequently at the CAFA Museum, Beijing. Based on the video game Quake III Arena that had been the source of many earlier works, Feng created a new MOD that stripped the original most of its figurative references, revealing lines of force that resemble the forceful strokes of the great maters of calligraphy.

As shown at Chambers Fine Art, the video component of Not Too Late is accompanied by a new series of oil paintings and works on paper that further develop the concepts first glimpsed in 2010. The slowly moving visual drama of the video with its musical accompaniment resembles not only Chinese calligraphy but also the paintings of some of the pioneers of abstraction in the West. Selecting isolated moments from the video to be transferred to canvas and paper, Feng is now able to emphasize their distinctive characteristics by hand, exaggerating the drama when necessary or toning it down if required to. He has managed to tame Quake III Arena until it resembles something else entirely, and then to a degree personalize its visual offshoots until they enter the company of illustrious predecessors too numerous to mention.

A restless experimenter, Feng is currently investigating ways in which his fascination with the cyber world and the video games that have inspired so much of his art might be broadened to embrace more traditional methods for producing unique works of art. Not Too Late is a fascinating meditation on the relationship between the artist and the machine, between mechanically produced forms and those generated by the mind and hand of the artist, between past and present.

北京前波画廊荣幸地宣布将于9月15日起举办冯梦波近作展《不太晚》。冯梦波作为中国最著名和杰出的影像和新媒体艺术家,自90年代初买了第一台苹果电脑及合成器以来就放弃了绘画这一创作手法,然而近几年来他又重拾对绘画的兴趣。从1993年其作品第一次在威尼斯双年展上登场到2008年完成了由八面屏幕组成的大型电子游戏互动装置作品《长征:重启》期间,无论从广度上还是深度上来看,冯梦波艺术创作的进展和网络世界日新月异的蜕变都是相平行的。然而,其2007年的展出《乱码:山水》却显现出他对中国传统绘画和书法的兴趣也日益浓厚。

2009及2010年在前波画廊的展出《一比特》以及2010年的展出《西游记》均从不同角度探究了中国视觉艺术。与此同时,冯梦波也创作了《不太晚》这样一件更为抽象的互动影像作品。此作品最初于2010年在伦敦维多利亚和艾伯特博物馆的《解码:电子设计感知》中展出,随后又巡回到北京中央美术学院美术馆。和许多其他早期作品一样,《不太晚》的创作灵感也来源于电子游戏“雷神三竞技场”。而在此件作品中冯创作了一个新的游戏修改版,删除了原版中大部分的人或事物形象,作品中强有力的线条如似出自书法大师的刚劲笔法。

此次在前波画廊展出的除影像作品《不太晚》之外,还有一组最新创作的同系列油画和纸上作品,揭示了艺术家最初于2010年提出的创作概念的演变。影像作品中缓慢播放的视觉艺术和相呼应的音效,不仅与中国书法有相似之处,同时也让人联想到西方早期抽象艺术家的绘画作品。冯从录像中选出一个个独立截取的时刻,将其转换到画布和纸面上,随后再以手工强调它们各自的独特之处,在需要的时候强化或者弱化戏剧性效果。于是,他从驯服“雷神三竞技场”中表现出一种截然不同的含意,然后又将它的视觉衍生物个性化,直到它们加入到众多杰出前辈们的行列中。

冯梦波对虚拟世界和电子游戏的迷恋曾激发了其多件作品的创作,而他作为一个毫不止歇的实验艺术家,现在正探索着如何扩展并接纳更多的传统手法,从而创作出独特的艺术作品。《不太晚》是对艺术家和机器之间关系的沉思,是对机械化制作的形象和艺术家思想、手工创作之间关系的思考,也是对过去和未来间联系的冥想。

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