Opening Reception: April 19, 6 -8 pm
10 Chancery Lane Gallery is proud to present this new series of works by renowned artist Huang Rui. Language-Color is a series of recent experimental paintings by Chinese Artist Huang Rui that explores the relationship between text and color, language and visual experience.
Language-Color, as the name implies, is the text in color and the color in text. Since the 1990s, Huang Rui’s textual paintings have explored the relationship between text and color, increasing the focus on the visual attributes in the experience of painting. In 2006, Huang Rui created Four Reds. At that time, he was acting as the founder and planner for the 798 Art District in Beijing and would often hear the expression “red-hot!” when people referred to the 798 excitement. This intrigued him. The shades of color in this expression reflect the absurdity of changing tastes. In Chinese, the number “four” is a homophone for “death,” and so “four reds” can be read as “die red.” Chinese people have always thought that red is the symbol of vitality, blood, passion, and joy. Chinese people always give red the positive descriptions and ornaments of power.
Huang Rui’s Four Reds rises from the first panel Glowing with Health to the heights of Popular for a Time, and reaches a critical point in that the third painting A Limit Reached. The series ends with the premonition of death in the fourth and final painting Beautiful Women Die Young. This group of paintings represents Huang Rui’s focus on the connection between language, the color of language, and the order of time in his paintings.
Huang Rui often explores the political elements in painted colors. This exhibition also features White Paper, Black List (2007-2012), which reflects the cooperation between color and language, and also the typical style of contradictions hinting to political references.
The series of works, 2011 to 1911: Additional Flags for the New Republic, is obliquely linked to Color Series. Huang Rui recreates proposed flags for the 1911 new Republic of China. The Revolution of 1911 or the Chinese Revolution, was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty. The era was defined by unstoppable and intense change. The elements on these paintings are related to the primeval wisdom of China’s genesis during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods; they are related to the folk legends of remote ages, turning them into iconic symbols of newborn political power.
Huang Rui has made pure text paintings since 1993. These early works were shown at a solo exhibition in 1993 at Ai Weiwei’s studio; it was one of the first “apartment exhibitions.” The exhibition’s theme and form were truly unique, touching on political sensitive topics. Huang Rui paid a price for this exhibition. Apart from the crude political persecution he faced when he was later banned from returning to China, this exhibition and a few of his other solo exhibitions never appeared in any line of text in the history of Chinese contemporary art written by any Chinese critic. However, this is natural in China, and fortunately Huang Rui never lost himself.
In this exhibition, Huang Rui returns to his long-standing practice, a solemn and eternal practice of language and color. Is it still a blank slate, or is it something long passed? Words as painting have represented the most revered tradition in literati painting since the Song Dynasty. Huang Rui firmly believes that he does not need recognition or protection if, at some point in the unknown future, we can master the classics of our ancestors.
Huang Rui is one of China’s most highly regarded artists, one of the founding members of the Stars Group of 1979 and a seminal figure of the Dashanzi Factory 798 Art District. Since co-organizing China’s first public art exhibition in Beijing in 1979, Huang Rui has sought to express art’s function as a reflection of society and its strength in addressing contemporary concerns.
Huang Rui’s works have been shown extensively in China and abroad. In addition to public performances in Hong Kong, Japan, Beijing’s Dashanzi Art District and London, his work has been included in major exhibitions at the Louisiana Museum of Denmark, the Museo delle Mura in Rome, the 1st Guangzhou Triennial, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Beijing.