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  • Writer's pictureYefeng Wang

Do You Wanna Play with Me @ Between Art Lab Shanghai

Curator : Sun Qidong

Between Art Lab (Shanghai) is honored to announce the opening of group exhibition Do You  Wanna Play with Me on July 02, 2016, which is curated by Sun Qidong. The exhibited artists are Chen Xiao,Lin Qin,Liu Yue and Wang Yexing. The opening reception will be held on July 2 at 4pm at BETWEEN ART LAB in Shanghai (No. 2361, North bund Art Zone, Yangshupu Road). The exhibition will last until August 1, 2016.


- Sun Qidong

A burning enthusiasm about young artists reigns the art world these days. It is driven by the over-consumption of young artists in the market and meanwhile mixed with the assumption that young artists are generally highly sensitive to the new media and new materials. However, we don’t find this new-hand economics of much interest.

Gatsby was obsessed by the green light from the other shore. So devoted to success, he was not chasing for the life of luxury and dissipation or any desire for wealth, but for the dream of reacquainting with his old lover that filled his mind day and night. The repeated green light symbolizes the desire, dream and the unshakeable determination. The green light has completed such a metaphor: we think we make efforts to achieve the dream, but in reality we just let ourselves be driven by the desire. The boundless ocean of knowledge and those nominally “neutral” researches completely tame some newcomers in the art world, and at the same time “kidnap” the curators and art critics. Young artists dare not to make mistakes. Thus, the “how do artists not to indulge in the palace of knowledge” question becomes the starting point of this exhibition. What connects the works of Qing Lin, Yue Liu, Xiao Chen and Yefeng Wang is not the concept, but the collective consciousness showed in their process of art making: proactively banishing the anxiety from art history and knowledge worship and immersing in the creation of art to obtain long-lasting pleasure and confidence. From their works, we are able to rethink what is artistic research, and how to preserve the astonishing plasticity.

Lin Qing has a particular obsession with the aesthetics of array, which is evident not only in his previous works but also in the arrangement of all kinds of models in his studio. This time we decide to explain his infatuation with order and provocation in a more “indifferent” way. Different from color blocks, lines need to be presented in an more impartial way. The sense of order herein reduces the self-expression of the image and increases the restraint of concepts.

Almost every day in the middle of the night Liu Yue would post a black image to his community in Wechat. The reality of watching relies on the light. Then how the watching experience could be when there is no light? Liu puts fingers between his eyes and the light source, cutting the passage of light to the eyes. In this case the object presented in front of eyes (or brain wave) becomes another perceptual collection. Then comes the work “Red”. How about that “Chicken” which is a bit of an eyesore? It looks like a frozen chicken from a distance, while in a closer view you find it has already been rasterized and became numerous small color blocks.

I saw Chen Xiao’s short film “Sans Souci” in France, which I could not be more familiar with it. A friend of mine in Berlin once told me that in Postam, a city not far from Berlin, there was a palace called Sans Souci. My friend didn’t know it was a French name, which could be translated as “the palace without worries”. I helplessly fell in love with this place that I had never been before, as if all our worldly worries could be swept away in there. Back to France, I shared Chen Xiao this name, and he was also amazed by this translation. In 2014 when he was back to Shanghai for the Spring Festival, he shot a film about a dance hall that only the aged Shanghainese would go. Even in such poorly decorated dance hall, people are so indulged in their dance. Thus Chen Xiao named this work “Sans Souci” without any hesitation once he finished it.

Does art have a history? If the art history exists, then the post-Internet is here to break the falsehood. The post-Internet is not only to describe a particular aesthetics, but also the criteria of production. It requires the Internet to act in the full capacity of human beings. In Wang Yefeng’s “The Drifting Stages”, the first thing we see is the image of dolls with big metal heads. They take meat grinders in hands which continuously eject pink “meat pulp”. The psychedelic visual effect reminds one of drug use, and Wang’s work is exactly a drug without the need to inject. There were several discussions between us regarding the use of color in his work. In the end, he “generously” left the decision to the computer software, and the RGB value finally decides the color. This is obviously in contrast with Lin Qing’s concept of controlling the subtle color differences with the naked eye. Here we can’t tell who is better. It’s just about how a king governs his kingdom.

This presentation is a constitutional convention rather than a contemporary art exhibition. Some curators can hardly wait to take over the scepter from the artists and direct the path forward for them. I am not against that. However, there are still countless dispositions on how to be visible in the intermediate zone between the visible and writing. The reason that an exhibition is able to become an independent existence from the art works themselves is exactly because of the endless conflicts originated from the works, and their dispositions. The more the devices of curator disseminate their power, the more he is facing an artwork that cannot be generalized. And at this moment, we see the reflection of the politics.


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