Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre and +3 Gallery jointly present More Than Meets the Eye, an exhibition that sets sights on the binary opposite imagery of 'far' and 'near' to review +3 Gallery’s growth and development over the last decade since its inception. Featuring 28 renowned artists/groups from China and abroad, this exhibition showcases an array of their iconic works or latest pieces to art collectors and the public from February 11th to April 2nd.
Taking camera angles in Photography as the starting point, with ‘far’ and ‘near’ as imagery in the process of artistic creation, this exhibition explores issues including the artists’ multi-leveled observation, creative methods, and their relationship with subject matters. The narrative is being developed and centred around four dimensions, namely ‘Light and Shadow’, ‘Dialogue on Body’, ‘Oriental Imagery’, and ‘Medium and Beyond’.
Light and Shadow
Photographers make use of images to capture light and shadow that are difficult or even impossible to be detected by the human eye. This practice returns to the original definition of ‘photography’ – writing with light. Ken Kitano’s latest project is a continuation of his fascination with light. After half-a-year-long exposure, the traces of light are tracked, as if the rotation of the earth is engraved on the photos through countless lines. Zhang Jin’s Nano Copper series is derived from his background as a Ph.D. in Chemistry. He uses medical X-rays to develop images of branches, clothes, and other elements in everyday life.
Dialogue on Body
‘Far’ and ‘near’ also denote the photographer’s observation and relationship with his/her subject matter, which can be expressed through metaphors or in a straightforward manner. Nobuyoshi Araki’s Erotos #07 is a close-up shot of the inside of a flower. The structure of the stamen is enlarged until it occupies the entire image, creating a unique sense of power with sexual metaphors. Works created by Ren Hang and Liang Xiu are considered direct records depicted by the human body. Ren Hang’s photography embodies an aesthetic of spontaneous snapshots and surreal images, which for example is realised by entangled bodies. In another way, Liang Xiu makes use of her own body to illustrate the intertwining of pain and desire, and the burning emotions become a portrait of her state of being leading a life on the fringe of society.
The oriental imagery is discovered and interpreted through the camera lens of not only Luo Bonian, a photographer of the Republic of China era who pursued pictorial photography in the 1930-40s, but also Koo Bohnchang, a South Korean artist who reshapes the aesthetic of simplicity in line with Confucianism through his long-term project of photographing Joseon white porcelains. Moreover, drawing on the technique of cavalier perspective in ancient Chinese painting, American artist Michael Cherney segments his panoramic work into folded pieces, with each becoming a single part to be preserved in the album, a way that enables dual perspectives of partial and overall viewing at the same time of the work. Other Chinese contemporary photographers develop works in response to the status quo and state of mind. For instance, Zhang Kechun’s latest series The Sky Garden, in which he captures the moment while exotic trees and rocks are being lifted into the air, serves as a symbol that visualises the process of China’s urban construction. Adopting certain digital techniques, the landscape shaped by Shao Wenhuan in the Floating Jade series brings about an ideal world that exists only in the imagination of literati.
Medium and Beyond
Photography as an established medium seems to speak a designated language, however, this exhibition seeks a breakthrough. Some works on display attempt to challenge the stereotypes and conventional norms of photography, or even provocatively confront the current trend in contemporary art. Following the same creative method in his early career, Mo Yi continues the practice of incorporating the presence of self into the process of artistic creation. The photographs presented in this exhibition are taken with a GoPro device tied to the artist's right foot — a record of his personal experience in art fairs with a clear gesture of provocation to the current art scene. Cai Dongdong formulates what he calls ‘photo-sculpture’ with handwork such as collage-making, folding, and piercing involved in his creative practice. These works go beyond the planar structure, searching for the potential that a single photograph can possibly reach.
From the perspective of viewing, the binary opposite imagery of ‘far’ and ‘near’ is more than the difference between distance and vision; the set is not only an important indicator of visual presentation but also the internal logic of photograph making. ‘Far’ and ‘near’ can also lead to divergent viewing experiences, such as intuitive shock and alienation. In this exhibition, we hope to transcend the opposite relationship between 'far' and 'near', so as to inspire the viewer to exceed the visual threshold and reach the inner world behind the material appearance — those that are often overlooked will eventually be discovered through the 'eye' of the camera lens.