I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Galerie Urs Meile will focus on a selection of new works by emerging and established contemporary artists. Our presentation will include works by Mirko Baselgia, Anatoly Shuravlev, Julia Steiner, Not Vital and Yang Mushi, and by the following artists.
Shao Fan (b. 1964 in Beijing, China): The first European retrospective YOU at the Ludwig Museum (Koblenz, Germany) provided a comprehensive overview of over 30 years of Shao Fan's artistic practice. The exhibition is currently on display at the Suzhou-Museum (Jiangsu, China). From the way he formulates his unique artistic language and format, Shao Fan occupies a distinctive position in the Chinese contemporary art scene. He converts traditional themes and uses for his ink paintings as well as his oil paintings highly personalised painting methods to transform familiar subjects such as the hare, the monkey, and the mountainous landscape into monumental formats. Rabbit Portrait - Wuxu 1 (2018, oil on canvas, 250 x 160 cm) will be on show at our Art Basel Miami Beach booth.
Cao Yu (b. 1988 in Liaoning, China) often takes her own sense and body perception as a starting point for her works. Her practice incorporates sculpture, installation and video. Canvas 180607-180619 (2018, sign pen on canvas, 50 x 50 x 15 cm) belongs to a series of works where the artist patiently follows all the vertical and horizontal linen threads of the canvas, colouring them with sign pens. As a result, the canvas itself becomes the centre of attention and the object of the piece. The artist graduated in 2016 from the Sculpture Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. In 2018 Cao Yu has been awarded tothe Young Artist of the Year at the 12th Award of Art China and had a solo show in the Zhuzhong Art Museum in Beijing.
Meng Huang (b. 1966 in Beijing, China): In his new series of paintings, Meng Huang pays tribute to his longtime friend, Liu Xiaobo. In his paintings, Bōlàng (纕') or 'waves' is a metaphor for the act of forgetting, like BO12.25 (2018, oil on canvas, 155 x 180 cm). The act of erasure is simultaneously one of inscription: Meng is recording-witnessing-the movements of the waves, making their momentary states somehow fixed and permanent. The paintings also play a more, subtler role though. Meng Huang's waves figure the act of writing in the Chinese tradition, using ink and water. Especially as exemplified in water calligraphy-the practice of writing calligraphy in water on the ground-the permanence of the art arises not from the inscription, which is inherently ephemeral-ultimately even for oil paintings-but its ongoing practice by the calligrapher: the act of remembering through repetition.
Ju Ting (b. 1983 in Shandong, China) works are characterised by coalescing two conventional art media: painting and sculpture, and obscuring the boundary between the two. Tones in Ju Ting's oeuvre are also essential. They are used in a way that combines nostalgia with the clarity of contemporary machine production. Ju Ting has always been partial towards pigments that denote the past. These combinations exude moods which can be subtle, and also dramatically different. Given the sensuous charge of dynamic tones in the works, one can hardly ignore the texture- one of butter cream-meets-silica gel. This charge of dynamic tones can exemplary seen at her work Untitled 090218 (2018, acrylic on board, 194 x 195 x 11 cm).
Michel Comte (b. 1954 in Zurich, Switzerland): As one of the most distinguished pictorial designers of his generation, Comte regularly straddles the lines between the realms of painting, video installation, sculpture, design, and film with a deep understanding and fascination of the use of light. Comte's latest body of work was produced in collaboration with local craftsmen in Beijing and Jingdezhen, the city renowned for its porcelain production. With these works, he continues his experimental practice in pigment painting, installation and contemporary photography as well as his ongoing examination of environmental concerns such as climate change and the resulting glacier meltdowns. Five of his porcelain works Erosion (2018, porcelain, rock salt, rock flour and mineral pigments, each 33 x 33 x 10 cm) will be on view at the booth.
Rebekka Steiger (b. 1993 in Zurich, Switzerland): In her first solo exhibition 猫头鹰-virages nocturnes Rebekka Steiger presented recent paintings and works on paper created during her residency at Galerie Urs Meile in Beijing. She continued her usual creative style, but the change of the physical space to a foreign country also brought her more mind freedom and openness, while the failure of her accustomed navigation system opened up more possibilities. Through layer-by-layer colour rendering, Rebekka Steiger transforms her perception of emotions and atmosphere into mysterious and delicate art pieces, achieving unexpected visual results. The 'contradiction' between abstraction and representation, the expressive rendering of strong colours, as well as the presentation of figurative content without imposing a straight narrative on the viewers' interpretation, is what not only makes the painting itself intriguing, butalso unsettling. At Art Basel Miami Beach new works will be on display. We will present the work Untitled (2018; oil, tempera and pastel on canvas, 240 x 180 cm).
Galerie Urs Meile shows a solo presentation The God of Small Things (2018) by emerging Chinese artist Zhang Xuerui (b. 1979 in Shanxi Province, China). The title derives from an Indian novel written by Arundhati Roy. It tells a story from the perspective of a child, thus the narration is seemingly through a magnifying glass. The smallness and fragmentation that the child sees makes the abstract, integrated and reasonable world seem dubious. In Zhang Xuerui's artistic expression, 'small things' refers to the imperceptible existence that is temporal, relational or sensitive.
The formulas of Zhang Xuerui's paintings are clear: colours and grids. She imports the grid-layered composition onto the canvas, and uses it as a guide to fill in the colours. In the end, shifting colours appear while the grids fade into the background. Yet, she does not wish to align to Western abstract painting, colour field painting, or monochrome painting, all of which are confined only to the composition of colours, to let colours manifest themselves. The colour, to Zhang Xuerui, is a key to the manifestation of 'space' on canvas. Her pursuit for the colour is on a metaphorical level, for the purpose of revealing 'space' vividly on canvas, and her intuition informs her that her 'space' can only be articulated via languages of colour while the grid is introduced as the vehicle to organise the colour gradient. The project is a micro context the artist builds meticulously, where the order and subtlety of perception make a conversation.
In the project of The God of Small Things, there are four paintings of various sizes and colour patterns on display, for example 216 201808 (2018, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 180 cm). Each of them contains a horizon that locates at different positions on canvas, either up, centred or down. However, the hanging position of each painting unifies each horizon to the eye level of the artist. The parts above and below the horizon on each painting are mirrored, just like the sky meets the sea on the horizon, and the sea reflects the sky.
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