Artists: Jiang Pengyi
Curator: Liu Xiao
At the end of 2019, Jiang Pengyi mentioned that he suddenly realized the "heavy weight" of the beginning of the 21st century, which inspired him to collate the negatives in the past 20 years. So I am interested in how Jiang identified this "heaviness" in this fast paced popular world.
We can find the artist's sobriety and alienation in his documentary works. Records are made at will, but collection and collation are intentional. It is not so much in accord with our imagination of photographers, but more with our understanding of artists, concerning the feeling of diverse changing visual forms, and the high consciousness of shaping the cognitive structure of reality.
As an example, the Microwaved is more like a chronological summary made of images. Since he treats "documentary" as a method, not a "theme", the most prominent feature of this set of works is not the people and things recorded, but the wholeness of the semi-finished status in Jiang's perspectives. The wholeness is the mechanism behind the visual scene.
Even if the image is black and white, it does not affect our understanding of the color, sound, coarseness and hardness: the environment wrapped in steel structure and tower crane, the door man in military coat in front of dead trees and dilapidated walls, luxury car taillights, wireless telegraph poles, the Buddha statue next to the model. These things reflect the invisible decision-making mechanism of urban construction, the words of star architects, the construction industry system of cement and steel bars and the hours of ordinary people. The authentic and rich reality is included in the landscape archives of Microwaved through specific images.
It reminds me of "Non-Finito" which is one of Michelangelo's techniques for sculptural expression. When he deliberately kept the sculpture at a time when it had not been removed from the stone as a whole, we saw the coarse, heavy marble material itself, as well as the sculpture, which presented all his artistic languages.
Every scene in Microwaved can be seen as the wholeness of changing things and the present tense of the world. The Uncompleted presents an overall sentiment of his magnified daily reality, and it is the "heaviness" which has the end of words but not to their message, and is worth the most profound appreciation.
Born in 1977 in Yuanjiang, Hunan Province, graduated from the China Academy of Art and now lives and works in Beijing.
His recent works focus on the media of photography and video. His practical work continues to explore the boundaries of photography, with themes moving inward from early depictions of modern cities and civilizations to the inherent uncertainties of modern existence. He creates large-scale abstractions and polaroid films of sculpture quality, with camera-less photographic techniques, traditional darkroom workmanship and the application of polaroid film materials and found images.
He has won the BarTur Photo Award 2020, the Aletti ArtVerona Prize 2011, the Jury Grand Prize from the Société Générale Chinese Art Awards in 2010, the Tierney Fellowship Award from the Three Shadows Photography Award in 2009. He was invited to the Helsinki Biennial 2012, and nominated for the Prix Pictet, a world environmental photography award. His works can be found in international private and public collections, including the Ullens Foundation, Switzerland; Loire River Contemporary Art Foundation, France; the Terni Foundation, USA; the Asian Contemporary Art Collection Foundation, USA; the UniCredit Art Collection, Italy and Germany; the Bank Aletti Foundation, Italy and the Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum.
Born in 1985 in Guiyang, now lives and works in Hangzhou.
Liu Xiao is an art teacher, curator and editor. She has been devoted in art education with long-time experience in contemporary art curating and visual culture research. Now Liu Xiao is more active as a curator-teacher, emphasizing historical research and visual thinking.
She was involved and curated numerous academic exhibitions, including"Weaving & We: Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art 2016", Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou; "Social Factory: Shanghai Biennial 2014", Power Station of Art, Shanghai; "Fabricate and Progress：West Bund Biennial of Architecture and Contemporary Art 2013", West Bund, Shanghai. As an assistant curator, Liu worked on projects such as "Reactivation: Shanghai Biennial 2012" and "Rehearsal: Shanghai Biennial 2010" and more.
Liu Xiao's curatorial practices focus on modern art education in China, and art creation based on material research, covering sculpture, painting, fiber art, glass and photography. Related projects include"Memorial Progress of People: Sculpture in China 1949-2019", "Casting Golden Course: 15 CAA MA Courses", "Exhibition in Honour of E.H. Gombrich's 110th Birthday", "Records of West Lake: Wang Gong Yi & Yan Shanchun", China Academy of Art Museum, Hangzhou; "Thus Have I Heard: Zheng Wenqing", Shanghai Museum of Glass;"Won't Somebody Bring the Light: Tsun-Shing Cheng", Central Academy of Fine Art Museum, Beijing; "Seeking Historical Traces of Gold Mountains: Zheng Senchi", Guangdong Museum of Art, 2011. Ongoing independent research, publication and on-site social event projects include "National Road"and"Reading at Night".