2018.3.29 – 31 @ Art Basel Hong Kong 2019
Following the theme of Wu Shanzhuan’s eagerly anticipated solo exhibition opening in March, for Art Basel Hong Kong 2019 Long March Space will bring with it a “holiday of painting.” Nine Long March Space artists (Liu Wei, Su Yu-Xin, Wang Jianwei, Wu Shanzhuan, Inga Svala Thorsdottir & Wu Shanzhuan, Zhang Hui, Vivien Zhang, Zhao Gang, Zhu Yu) will each show their paintings.
Liu Wei (b.1972) was born and presently resides in Beijing, China. He was trained as a painter at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou in 1996. Heavily influenced by the instability and fluctuation peculiar to twenty-first century China, in particular with respect to its physical and intellectual landscape. In the years since, with his paintings, videos and large-scale installations, Liu has become a singular presence on the global art stage. Post-Duchampian, and actively negotiating with the legacy of the Modern, his works are known for crystallizing the visual and intellectual chaos of China.
In his recent practice of painting, Liu Wei has realized the restitution of organic forms. Saying that the past series of “Purple” reflected the picture of urban development with an endless amount of possibilities by digitized details, the latest series of “Outdoor” reexamines what is Nature under the anthropocentric view and its natural principles and sequences. The plain yet bold and unrestraint brushstrokes merge into a solid mass of maelstrom, which readily engages the audience and makes them feel drowned. By such a sensorial dilemma, Liu Wei reflects upon painting as being lost, unprepared and reoriented.
Su Yu-Xin (b. 1991) holds an MFA in Fine Arts from Slade School of Fine Art UCL. She lives and works between Shanghai and Taipei. Her painting and other practices focus on the relationships between visual language and other sensorial perceptions. Rather than painting from images or photography, Su’s work often tends to explore the complexity of a moment or a vague perception in life. Su uses painting to construct a delicate alternation of horizons, in which varying distances elicit different paces of observation. The colourful layered surface and multiple-perspectives in her works generate a dynamic vision within each painting. Su’s paintings study how different rhythms, and fundamentally, the fluidity of human experience can operate and be stored inside still imagery. In her practice, the landscape is an in-between place, a traditional frontality in painting, which allows the artist to switch between figuration and abstraction, investigating the concept of new landscape – a mixture of still-life, graphs, digital calendars, fragments of text and memory. The landscape she is depicting is a field of hybrid vision and a contemporary Impressionism that has only come to exist in the present era.
“I live in an era where the impressions projected from things are more complex than things themselves. This is a visual grammar, where each element of the image set forth on the picture plane is extremely clear, but these parts are arranged to create a relationship like the space between unrelated advertisements. These unseeable excesses and connections are so abstract and so difficult to touch.” – Su Yu-Xin
Born in 1958 in Suining village in southwestern China, Wang Jianwei studied at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (1985–87), Hangzhou, China. Known for his investigations into the structures of time, Wang experiments with a range of mediums, including painting, sculpture, video, film, installation, and multimedia theatre. Well-versed in philosophy, he draws from mathematics, data-collection methods, scientific experimentation, and neurology to illuminate a social and mental space he calls the “yellow signal,” an intermediary zone where possibilities for a time-lapsed reality can flourish.
“… my paintings are in a sense a continuation of my work in theatre and rehearsal. The concept of theatre is not space, but rather one of what is contained, that is, you must accept preparation for many as-yet undetermined things, and at the same time not let any “ideology” take the lead in your work. This is simply a state of uncertainty. Besides that, rehearsal alters painting’s original state of stability. The painting has already been completely separated from its original system of criticism, and rehearsal turns it into a force of action. Because painting faces the uncertainty of a multitude of things, my paintings also have no fixed object or clear classification. A person, a tree, a house, a mountain, or any one thing: they all have left behind their original positions and environment, becoming new objects of sensibility.” – Wang Jianwei
Wu Shanzhuan (b.1960) was born in Zhoushan, China. He graduated from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1986 and Hochschule für bildende Künste in 1995. He founded Red Humour in 1985 and Red Humour International in 1990.
Inga Svala Thorsdottir (b.1966) was born in Iceland. She graduated from the Painting Department of the Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts in 1991 and Hochschule für bildende Künste in 1995. She founded Thor’s Daughter’s Pulverization Service in 1993 and BORG in 1999.
Thorsdottir and Wu have been working and exhibiting collaboratively since 1991 and both currently live and work in Hamburg, Shanghai, and Iceland. Curated by Inga Svala Thorsdottir, Long March Space’s first exhibition of 2019 shows paintings by Wu Shanzhuan, which is entitled “Today Became a Holiday.” Wu states his proof of work by painting and painting as a remedy to resist the burnout syndrome of the contemporary.
Zhang Hui was born in 1967 in Heilongjiang Province, he graduated in 1991 from the Central Academy of Drama and currently lives and works in Beijing. He was active in the Chinese contemporary art world of the late 1990s early 2000s, after which in 2004 he founded the Odd Phenomena Group. In his early explorations, Zhang Hui developed artistic creativity focused on action and installation, which his later practice centring on explorations into multimedia theatrical performance.
Zhang Hui takes painting as a mode of investigation to undertake a performative exploration of duration and its relationship to the ideas of time and space. His works conceal eminently readable and bewitching theatricality within them, simultaneously profoundly rethinking the truth and uniqueness of known reality, striving to expand the structure behind real events and their images.
Vivien Zhang (b. 1990) was born in Beijing, grew up in Beijing, Bangkok, and Nairobi, and currently lives and works in London. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL in 2012 and from the Royal College of Art in 2014 with a Master’s in Painting. In 2017, Zhang was featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Asia: the Arts.
“Painting is a place of assemblage for me, where different painterly languages, influences, and references come together in the space of a canvas. Painting is atemporal today; artistic styles have become motifs. Painting no longer follows a linear chronological developmental trajectory, as there is not just one, but multiple directions of movement. This is the result of unprecedented expanding accessibility (via the internet) – to images, to history, and to other artists. In this group of new works, I am continuing to explore the possibility of generating alternative landscapes, with reference to game-scapes. Things I’ve been looking at and thinking about include NASA images of Martian landscapes, algorithms, the varying discrete internet ecosystems, German artist Charline von Heyl… to name a few. They become mashed together in my work, colliding and triggering new meanings as their contexts change.” – Vivien Zhang
Zhao Gang (b. 1961, Beijing) currently lives and works in New York and Beijing. He made his artistic debut as a member of the Stars Group, one of the first avant-garde artist groups to open the era of contemporary art in China when he was just 18 years old. Shortly thereafter he pursued formal art education in Europe and the New York, studying at the State Academy of Fine Art, Maastricht, Holland; Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, USA; MFA, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, USA. Afterwards, Zhao Gang lived overseas for over two decades, developing a diverse body of work as his perspective became distinctively international. Since returning to Beijing in 2006, Zhao Gang has turned his ever-expanding focus toward the entanglement of his personal past with Chinese history and his unique position, at once a native and a newcomer, in China today.
Zhao Gang’s painting practice centres on his thinking upon the problem of Chinese intellectuals during the transitional period. He does not only invoke various personas and images of ancient classical literati and elites from the Republican period but also refers to the historical changes of different regions and diverse cultural conventions, thus retracing the pictures from oblivion yet with deep affections. In the meantime, female subjects are rendered with his sensitive tone, which transcends the collective experience of homogeneity. However, he goes far beyond erotic expressions. By means of painting, Zhao Gang examines the intellectual discourse once invisible and the feminine discourse seemingly popular in modern China, thereby subverting the political discourse and mass discourse as the dominant player.
Zhu Yu (b. 1970) was born in Chengdu in Sichuan Province and was one of the pioneer artists of 1990s conceptualism. In his paintings, conceptual artworks or his early action pieces, it is very difficult to find any similar references to help classify what he is exploring in his artistic language. This independent thinking and deep probing into the semantics of contemporary art is precisely what Zhu Yu aims for in his art.
Zhu Yu’s paintings cannot be understood as simple still life depictions, what the artist is doing is delving into the inherent quality of painting by means of an accumulated bodily practice through various concepts, methods, visual languages and perspectives. From the “Leftovers” series, Zhu Yu continued to research into the language of painting in creating “Tea stains”, “Stone” ” Vestige” and other series over the past decade up until the present. Zhu Yu’s painting attempts to avoid any social metaphors, and from a strict critical practice extracts a unique way of seeing and reconstructing the world.