How do we define something that is 'globalised'? It is an entity that–despite the entire world's crave for it and its 'popular power'–cannot be monopolised by any people, regions, races, or countries. This ultimate form of globalisation in the symbolic and representational sense then begs a new question: Is there a next step for globalisation? As French philosopher Bruno Latour has discussed, the binary of 'Global/Local' has already been forcibly supplanted by the 'Out-of-This-World/Terrestrial'. In these times when fragmentation and post-humanism are accelerating, we need to express our senses metaphorically and reflect constantly on the present, so as keep our control over the boundless future and our own emotions.
The step beyond metaphor (which could also be a step backward, or a more post-modern step) is an 'affective image'. As we confront an increasingly complex world, we would need to be determined yet also proactive in internalising and expressing this metaphor. Hope and anxiety fleet; melancholy and prosperity approach. As Hermann Bahr had written, 'never was happiness so unattainable and freedom so dead. Distress cries aloud; man cries out for his soul; this whole pregnant time is one great cry of anguish. Art too joins in, into the great darkness she too calls for help, she cries to the spirit.' Here, Art calls out to Expressionism, which often uses representational painting for expressing the human soul. Reminiscent of a ghost, art can 'play the role of human', intently stalking the image–the avatar of human souls–to revolutionise continuously. We can see this art, and we may even interact with it.
In the reality before our eyes, information that is homogenised is satiating every aspect of human life. Ironically though, this information cannot fully explain the reality we are in, instead merely distorting the world and levelling the boundary between true and false. Fortunately, amidst this time of estrangement, artists still retain their physical sensitivity. Particularly for the artists in this exhibition who come from different countries around the world, they respond to the present from polyvalent perspectives, but likewise use representational painting as a mean to capture our new reality. The paintings of Jessica Williams, Diren Lee, and Rhiannon Salisbury are situated within a contemporary, unconscious dream. By interpreting dreams and the unconscious, they attempt to reveal and overcome their internal complexities. The multiplicity of consciousness and enlightening experiences are then explored in this peculiar space existing beyond our usual sentients. Gao Hang, Alessandro Giannì, and Jade Ching-yuk Ng focus more on fusing the practice of painting with new media and digital imagery. As reflected in their painted figures who play out new pictorial myths, their works awake a creative passion for the painted form. Marion Bataillard, Hao Zecheng, and Ruby Swinney directly capture everyday settings in their paintings. They endeavour to depict things that are real from their perspectives, which then transcend into peculiar episodes and imaginary emotions by integrating with Surrealist elements and otherworldly, idealised people and scenes. At the same time, they are constantly responding to the relationship between people and the world around them, juxtaposing sentients and memories to create moments of self-recognition.
Through the works of these young artists from around the world, we can witness fluttering, equivocal fragments of a 'Global Song'. The juxtaposition of reality and deterritorialisation, the ambiguity formed by mobility and transitoriness, and the idea that a song could also be an ideology have permeated various spaces and times of styles and art throughout history. Resonating with one another, these notions finally establish a fantasia for the new century. This may be a sensual moment in the Anthropocene, so we might as well experience it with young and flexible viewpoints and articulation.
Press release courtesy Tang Contemporary Art.
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