Opening Reception at Pékin Fine Arts: Sat. Sep 3, 2011, from 2 to 6 pm: ALL WELCOME!
Artist Statement: “Chasing Sites speaks to the uncertain reality of making artwork in a fast growing economy. Like many young artists, I drifted along, buoyed by the momentum that propels exhibition venues with limited resources, like an actor in a roaming theatre troupe performing from village to village. The “Anything Goes” attitude that prevails at these venues leads to peculiar relations between the artist, the audience and the organizers, and tends to govern the outcome of such site-specific projects. My reliance on temporary materials in my installations began as a strategy to address lack of exhibit funding, and this motivation later became my way of negotiating access to the use of temporary sites.
While photographic documentation of my earlier installation pieces for group exhibits in Beijing survives, the physical sites of many of my previous installations no longer exist due to the temporary nature of the venue, gallery foreclosure, or threats of neighbourhood demolition.
Working in these conditions, where physical spaces are obliterated and what remains are only memory spaces, provided a turning point for me to reconsider the role of exhibit space, leading me to Chasing Sites as the focus of my first solo gallery exhibit.
My focus shifted from installation back to painting, (my first medium as an art student), as the best means of recording my response to the nature of individual site-specific works. The goal was to revisit the architectural and spatial fields that shaped how I navigated the interior confines of each installation. The paintings are based on the slow and methodical preparation of crafted paper cut outs and wall drawings in public spaces around Beijing between 2007 and 2011.
The paintings are named after each installation exhibition and venue, commemorating the exhibit theme, and sometimes uncovering the lack of an exhibit theme. “Sewn at Segment Space”, for example, plays off the title of a group show in which I participated in Beijing’s No. 1 Art Base in 2007.
The social interactions at each site during installation also influenced my practice, adding new elements and sometimes laying the emotional groundwork, as an art piece evolved from concept to three-dimensional imagery. “Paintings Arrow Factory” and “Smile Angel Foundation at CIGE 2011” share traces of personal stress and longing for organization and structure. “Anti-Mapping at CPU: 798” alludes to the construction and destruction of temporary installations that I experienced in a small gallery that today no longer exists.
Each painting is a map of my installation memories.”