2024 Dual-City (Shanghai × Shenzhen) Group Exhibition "Resonate with Fragmentation"Jan 06 - Mar 09, 2024
Cheng Tingting, Chen Jiajun, Hu Longxiang, Xiong Haoqi, Xu Siyi, Wang Yuxiao, Zhou Tianyu
Exhibition Time / Location
2024.1.12-2024.3.9 Shanghai 102, Bldg 18, No.50 Moganshan Rd., Putuo District, Shanghai
2024.1.6-2024.2.29 Shenzhen 201A, L2, Sea World Culture & Arts Center., 1187 Wanghai Rd., Shekou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Ginkgo Space is honored to announce that a dual-city (Shanghai × Shenzhen) group exhibition will be held at the beginning of 2024. This exhibition features seven young artists: Cheng Tingting, Chen Jiajun, Hu Longxiang, Xiong Haoqi, Xu Siyi, Wang Yuxiao, and Zhou Tianyu. The spaces in Shanghai and Shenzhen will showcase their artistic explorations under different perspectives.
How to understand the creative works of young Chinese artists today? This is perhaps the first question that comes to mind when we step into an exhibition composed of works by artists born in the 1990s or even the 2000s, especially in the post-pandemic era, a time of rebuilding. This inquiry usually carries two potential assumptions: one is the assumption that they share some kind of common spiritual outlook, and the other is the potential expectation of whether this spiritual outlook can bear the spirit of the times. The sense of mission and macro perspective in the writing of art history is often habitually used to examine the present. However, the exhibition “Resonant with Fragmentation” attempts to temporarily set aside this generalization, presenting the creative aspects of seven young artists from a level perspective and an attitude without preconceptions. The neutral term “fragmentation” here refers to the shaping of cognition and the impact on artistic language by the fragmented flow of information in the era, while “resonance” does not imply a consistent rhythm but rather points to a dynamic sense and an organic relationship of mutual influence.
Perhaps a more effective way to understand them, rather than categorizing them, is to see how they perceive themselves. Urban youth Xiong Haoqi, for example, feels a certain awkwardness when he started his artistic career, describing his situation as “neither here nor there”. His experience of studying in the United Kingdom has brought about continuous self-correction. The motivation to explore outward eventually led to the desire or evasion of “returning to the place that trapped him.” He expresses this through the imagery of a tree, symbolizing the longing for solidification or change, the ebb and flow. The weighty colors emphasize the gravity of the scene, while the limbs stretching out like branches resemble the daily resistance to burdens, revealing another strange sense of detachment and lightness. The contradiction, perhaps, lies in the position of the self in life.
Chen Jiajun depicts his own face and body in a flat style with a distinctive cartoonish quality, complemented by a light color palette. The gentle temperament of his works exudes a natural affinity, and the eyes staring directly at the viewer not only express a desire for resonance but also hint at deeper and unfathomable emotions. In some other pieces, Chen Jiajun portrays subtly disturbed natural scenes where textual symbols and symbolic elements construct an ambiguous semantic space, concealing within it the desires and psychological states of sexual minority groups. Creating a psychological self-portrait with a calm and candid brushstroke, Chen Jiajun avoids indulging in narcissistic narratives but rather stops at pointing out the nuances in everyday details. His work presents a captivating and refreshing quality.
Cheng Tingting’s new work continues the interest in natural history that she previously demonstrated in her solo exhibition “Deep Dive” at Ginkgo Space. Ready-made images, text, and totem-like brushstrokes layer and blend, as indicated by the compound term “Astrozoology”. The artist “aims to establish a connection between traditional symbols and modern science fiction imagination, creating a synthetic cultural entity.” Influenced by artists such as Barbara Kruger, Cheng Tingting is deliberate in reflecting on the role of women in the construction of traditional culture. By exploring the ways in which established images shape our perception, she also explores the ambiguity and mysterious aura of ready-made information in her works. This gives her art a contemporary and enigmatic quality reminiscent of modern witchcraft.
Hu Longxiang’s works present a style deeply influenced by tribal culture and traditional folk crafts, while the texture of the materials used in his creations evokes a sense of cybernetic biophilia, where fragility coexists with vitality. Similar to many young peers, Hu Longxiang draws inspiration from the rich cultural products he encountered during his upbringing, ranging from action figures to film media and more. The artist himself seems to act as a filter for collective knowledge and aesthetic experiences. The filtered content is then woven into individualized epic slices using easily accessible and malleable synthetic materials such as plastic or glue.
Flesh, bones, keratin, and the merging of animal or human tissues... In her paintings, Wang Yuxiao reveals an almost obsessive fascination with anatomy. Through a medical and dissective observation, she allows the viewer to glimpse the unfolding drama in the psychological space through the proliferation, parasitism, and recombination of organisms—scenes of unrest, nightmares, or satisfaction. These emotions stem from the artist's understanding of relationships, and as many as there are ways for individuals to interact within a system, there are as many possibilities for interpreting the works. Therefore, these pieces are enigmatic yet warm, reflecting the myriad interpretations inherent in the artist’s exploration of the dynamics within systems.
The abstract forms and minimalist colors in Xu Siyi’s works do not make them appear monotonous; on the contrary, they evoke extensive contemplation on binary dialectical relationships, such as black and white, positive and negative shapes, the internal and external spaces of the cavity. In addition, these paintings and sculptures exhibit fluid and organic forms, reaching the viewer’s sensory nerves in an intimate manner, fostering boundless associations within the artistically evocative realm with an Eastern aesthetic sensibility.
Zhou Tianyu has created some indescribable life forms that are brightly colored and exhibit a cartoonish style. However, they simultaneously convey a sense of anguish: they appear inseparable from their surrounding environment, constantly colliding in the cramped world as they search for a space to survive. These works continue a certain tradition of modernist painting in both visuals and essence, exploring existential themes related to the limits of individual consciousness and freedom in a chaotic yet hopeful pictorial space.
For these artists, this exhibition may well be the first few puzzle pieces of their future artistic landscape. From this perspective, understanding the term “fragmentation”, there is reason to remain open and optimistic about what has yet to unfold.
Article written by: Zhu Wenqi
Poster Design: Cheng Tingting
About the Exhibition Artists
Cheng Tingting, born in 1993 in Hubei, China, obtained a Bachelor's degree in Art from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in 2016. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Art at Carnegie Mellon University and resides and works in Pittsburgh, USA. Cheng Tingting is a multimedia artist, engaging in film, painting, sculpture, sound, and performance. She activates cultural archives in various ways, forming contemporary witchcraft to connect with the audience. By creating a sense of ritual, she deploys it as a resistance to the commodification form. Her multidimensional works often mix natural, artificial, and folk materials, exploring the strategy of consumer images as propaganda tools and capitalist advertising. By breaking the official narrative of commodity fetishism, she attempts to fictionally construct cultural relics from the animacy of all things in a contemporary archaeological manner, exploring their ideological and relational poetics in the present. Recent solo exhibitions and projects include: "Deep Dive," 2021, Ginkgo Space, Beijing; "Frankincense," 2020, Gene Gallery, Shanghai; "Warm Current," 2019, 798 Children's Art Museum, Beijing; "LOW FEVER," 2017, Wuhan Beilu Yujia Mountain, Wuhan; "GLOOM - ART021 Non-profit Unit," 2017, Surplus Space, Shanghai; "GLOOM," 2017, Ginkgo Space, Beijing.
Stanley Chen, born in 1997 in Sydney, Australia, graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2020. Moving between cities internationally, Chen’s experience triggers his concentration on the fluidity in identities, seeking between cultural homeland and spiritual territory. Chen's autobiographical paintings detach himself from the present, transforming into concrete illusions, allowing the examination of himself and his surroundings with a stranger-like perspective. Those illusions often appear vulnerable, clumsy and androgynous.
Hu Longxiang, born in 1999 in Hunan, China, graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art (BFA, 2021) and the Royal College of Art (MA, 2023). Hu Longxiang's aesthetic creation is rooted in the dynamic interpretation of visual experiences and material culture. His work advances new folk culture research guided by material transformation, layered narratives, and dimension modulation. His research project expands on the reduction and alienation between individual material choices related to folk customs. In the context of the blending of polysemous materials and cultural heritage, the project explores how material memories and ethics function as a symbolic collection system, processing information and creating meaning for folk customs in small communities. Through a tablecloth or a curtain, he captures the flowing rules, norms, and encrypted cultural codes in material furnishings, depicting the struggle traces of folk survival and its aesthetic autonomy.
Xiong Haoqi was born in Wuhan, China, in 1997. He received his MA degree from the Royal College of Art. He currently lives and works in London. He is fascinated by the relationship between clothing ornamentation and the skin. For him, ornamentation likes tattoos, parasitically exists on clothing, and clothing, like thorns, embeds itself in the skin. Xiong Haoqi projects this relationship into the pictorial relationship between fingerprints and flesh, trees and land, skin and tattoos, to reflect on his own situation.
Xu Siyi, born in 2000 in New York, graduated in 2023 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her works encompass various media, including sculpture installations, ceramics, clothing, and painting. The works focus extensively on the perception of the body in relation to space and time, as well as the relationship between "self" and "non-self". For example, ceramics, a hand-molded medium, creates a positive and negative physical space between it and our bodies, like a mold. Sculpture resembles the human body, fabric acts as the skin outside the sculpture, and ceramics represent our physical bodies. When ceramics go beyond the concept of perfection, surpassing glaze and aesthetics to become primitive and bare, the delicacy and fragility of the medium construct tension within Xu Siyi's works. Her new works question aesthetic standards by exploring geometric distortions of the body, interpreting the relationship between medium and symbols, expressing an irregular and unconstrained embodiment between humanity and society.
Wang Yuxiao, born in Shandong, China, in 1995, graduated from the Royal College of Art in the United Kingdom in 2023. In her recent painting practice, Wang Yuxiao focuses on the sense of boundaries when we, as independent individuals, establish relationships, and the creation of a "safe space" for the vulnerability of oneself/others. She believes that this space is the key to achieving balance. In the "safe space", the mutated, possessed, and nowhere-to-hide "self" becomes a host, and the "self" becomes a parasite. Shells and sheaths, fragments of bones, will ultimately become part of this space. The vitality of Wang Yuxiao's works lies in the whispering mutual symbiosis among these relationships, constantly generating new paths of reproduction. The relationships between living organisms exist in various forms, whether it be a parasitic relationship of unidirectional nutrient absorption or a symbiotic relationship of mutual dependence. However, we often unconsciously "parasitize" others to satisfy ourselves, smoothing out the wrinkles of inner unrest, seeking a state of safety and tranquility.
Zhou Tianyu, born in Shanghai, China, in 2000, graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art with a Bachelor's degree in oil painting in 2023, currently residing in London, UK. Zhou Tianyu's main focus is on exploring the relationship between abstract painting and representational narrative. Therefore, her paintings often feature characters and illogical, anti-gravity, and artificially created spaces that are difficult to distinguish between authenticity and falsehood, making it challenging to determine identity. She intends to delve into the philosophical question of the "existence or non-existence of things." Her exposure to both Eastern and Western education during adolescence has filled her creations with self-contradictions. Her experiences of shuttling between two places have also led to a more complex understanding and skepticism of the concepts of family and homeland. The uncertainties about individual identity and reflections on the societal concept of family are projected into her artwork. Sometimes, her creative purpose is for self-analysis and self-questioning, while other times, it serves as an interpretation of herself. Transforming her emotions into tangible forms and turning them into narrative roles is her resistance to Western abstract expressionism and a veil of modesty when facing viewers.