Tang Contemporary Art Bangkok is proud to announce the opening of the group exhibition Open Islands on April 25, 2019. The exhibition will present painting and installation works by nine young Chinese artists: Gong Jian, Liu Zhan, Ma Wenting, Qi Lei, Wu Wei, Yesu (Zhang Fan), Zhan Chong, Zhang Yingnan, and Zhang Zhaoying.
The work of every one of these artists is an island of recollection, experience, and feeling. Due to their different experiences, these artists have created disparate modes of existence and storytelling.
The Square Space series of paintings by Yesu (Zhang Fan) captures impressions of everyday life. He selects hanging lamps, animated characters, and domestic scenes from his childhood, and by copying them and reshaping them, he separates psychological narratives from everyday scenes and emphasises the internal experiences of a perceptive individual. Qi Lei's recent work depicts labouring people in outdoor settings. Everyday scenes set against a background of purplish-red trees take on an unreal quality. With his obscure painterly language, he expresses existence as stumbling along in the rush of reality, recounting his own internal anxieties and those of other people.
In a developed industrial society, products become forces that control everything in life, and the individual exists to consume. People are immersed in fantasies of material gains, and in the course of competitions and transactions, they exploit themselves and become possessed by material things. People's true needs are engulfed by consumerism, and people become increasingly estranged from one another, feeling the threat of absurdity, emptiness, and ambiguity in the bottom of their hearts. A materialistic, alienated world places these pressures on humans, and the work of artists cannot escape reflecting on real issues.
Ma Wenting's work draws on the pictures that permeate our society. She juxtaposes and layers representational images and abstract, geometric blocks of colour, dismembering reality by throwing perspectival principles and spatial relationships into disarray. These juxtapositions of entirely unrelated images become seemingly real visions that also contain a good dose of irrationality. By inserting and entangling objects, she contrasts and mingles the truth and absurdity in our realities. The memories and life experiences of moving around the city as a child are the creative inspiration for Zhang Yingnan's work. He uses minimalist, massive, and cold modern architecture to reflect his feelings as an individual existing in society. The spaces overwhelm the figures, highlighting the estrangement, isolation, myopia, and unease of the crowded lives common in modern cities.
These nine artists begin from personal experience, affirming the value of their memories and perceptions. The exhibition reveals private emotions and reflections on society, transforming them into memories shared with the viewer.
This exhibition took place at the gallery's former location in The Peninsula Plaza, Bangkok. Press release courtesy Tang Contemporary Art.