Galerie Rolando Anselmi is pleased to present Vowel, the first solo exhibition by the Chinese artist Li Gang in its gallery space in Berlin. Seven mixed media sculptures titled Vowel dominate the gallery main room, imposing their swell shape towards the viewers' eyes. The sculptures, each composed by an iron structure which holds horizontally a traditional Chinese pottery, recall the shape of loudspeakers suggesting a relation with the concepts of sound and listening. The word vowel originate from Latin form vox (genitive vocis) and it can be translated as 'voice'; moreover vowel indicates one of the two principal classes of speech-sound which in combination with consonants allows oral articulation. Unlike consonants, vowels can be considered as autonomous sounds: in order to be speeched they don't need intervention of any other sound or vocalisation. Vowels are the most basic particles of a spoken language, they are the speech keystone. It is by this terms that Li Gang plays with those sculptures as sound generators: the different sizes and shapes of the potteries recall the multiple positions made by the mouth in the act of a vowel articulation, therefore the disparate possibilities of its genesis. The absence of an actual sound calls the viewer into an imaginative process, speculating on the presence of unknown vowels categories. In the second part of the exhibition, Sphinx is a mixed media sculpture realised with a steel security window, plaster and hair. Making a clear analogy with the legendary Egyptian monument and using everyday matter, Li Gang wills to create a mythology of the common life. The use of plaster halt the organic and inorganic elements of the sculpture giving an impression of steadiness and monumentality. On the opposite side, the painting Draft explores the relationship between paint and canvas, surface and background. The hand made canvas is realised by weaving thick hemp ropes and creates an organised pattern on which the pictorial matter saturate and desaturate its structure. The depict image, which seems to address to a orthogonal structured architectonic element, creates an additional visual layer adding complexity to the visual and linguistic plot of Li Gang's work.
Li Gang (b. 1986 in Dali Yunnan Province, China) lives and works in Beijing, China. He had solo exhibitions at: Rolando Anselmi, Rome (2017), Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki (2017), Galerie Urs Meile Lucerne (2017, 2014, 2011), Galerie Urs Meile Beijing (2016, 2013, 2011). Recent group exhibitions include: Contemporary Gallery Kunming, Kunming (2018), Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne (2017), Museum of Confluence, Lyon (2017); YiShu8 Art Foundation (2016, Beijing); Louis Vuitton Foundation Musuem (2016, Paris); Gasometer Kulturzentrum (2016, Liechtenstein); The 6th Moscow Biennial (2015, Moscow); K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space (2015, Hong Kong); K11 Art Museum (2015, Shanghai); Palais de Tokyo (2014, Paris).
Press release courtesy Rolando Anselmi.
On the walls of Galerie Rolando Anselmi, pots, apparently from 18th Century China, are mounted onto a metal structure that presents them horizontally, replicating a modern sound system. There is an intentional mirroring of the physicality of the pot and the mouth, so as to resemble a mouth pronouncing a vowel.