Pace Gallery is pleased to present a new solo exhibition dedicated to Beijing based artist Hong Hao. This exhibition brings together works from two decades of the artist's career, highlighting his most renowned series along with prints, photography, and works on canvas. As one of the key figures in the development of Chinese contemporary art, Hong Hao has observed modern society through keen artistic intuition. His artistic explorations have been closely connected to the shifting value systems of present-day society and how to express these social changes in his work.
Since 2001, Hong Hao has been building his contemporary visual archive, reflecting on society with the series 'My Things'. In this body of work, the artist recorded each day for twelve years through the objects around him and indiscriminately began to scan and categorise them. Through this process, he decouples the objects from the system of value attached to them. Distinguishing the difference between a photograph and a scan, the artist hoards and selects objects and aims to obliterate the distance between human and objects, as well as between objects and machines. Hong Hao removes the space between the object and lens as with a camera by scanning items. A scanner reveals the reverse side of what we see; moreover, it visually flattens the objects, just like the way traditional Chinese rubbings are made from the carvings of craftsmen on stone and bronze objects. The artist believes scanning to be the most rigid approach to reveal the real size of an object.
This method of scanning is also used in the 'Bottom' series. The artist divides objects in consumer culture into two parts. One is the front side of the item that consumers recognise—the key information of the object, its function and value attributes. The other is the bottom, which is underneath and unseen. The images in this series appear to be simply a selection of abstract shapes with different textures making them unidentifiable. In this way, the original packaging and content of the objects are obscured, prompting the viewer to hesitate and reflect on how judge their value.
Recently, Hong Hao has been creating more abstract works by minimising his colour palette to fewer or a single hue and obscuring the outlines of his subjects so there are only visible remnants of edges and shapes of objects. His growing interest in abstraction can be found in the exhibition through his series respectively titled Reflection, Edged, and Everchanging Appearance. As his massive visual archive of consumer society progressed and grew over the decades, it was transformed into a creative vocabulary that the artist continues to draw upon to create his transcendent, conceptual vision. The social relationships between objects have been replaced by spatial and aesthetic relationships, as the objects have come together into abstract paintings forming their own identity within the system of the artwork.
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.