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06.10.2017 → 08.20.2017

N3 Art Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition, “The Pleasures of Adventures” on June 10th, 2017. This exhibition presents some of the most representative works by artists, Ma Ke, Xu He and Zhao Yinou. Each artist’s body of works have established its comprehensive features, on the one hand provides the viewer with rich and diverse aesthetic subjects, on the other challenges our usual ways of appreciating painting. Every one of these three artists has a distinctive quality in their painting, neither one is afraid to be bold in experimenting with artistic notions and approaches in contrast to the current mainstream, as he/she focuses on exploring the individual’s reality. They are inspirational to the current status in contemporary Chinese art. As contemporary China undergoes tremendous change, it tries on the one hand to digest the enormous heritage from its recent history, while fervently embraces the opportunity for development in the global era. Through the mutually reflective and antagonistic dichotomies between tradition and modernity, beliefs and technology, power and freedom, capital and life, the sensible awareness of the individual is being ruptured and reformulated. However, these tugs of war don’t necessarily exist in a dichotomous fashion, but rather as a symbiotic resonance. These entangled and the unresolved issues remnants of the past or incurred at present are lined up in front of us to partake in a dialogue, to mutate, in confusion, disorderly yet radical, and complex. Without a doubt, the momentum of the past is being constantly ground and shattered through these shockwaves, and the individual’s experience becomes more fragmented as technology and reality mixes and clashes. The hope for individual emancipation through the angle of “self-cultivation” may seem difficult, but it might be the only path to attain it. Such historical trend calls for a new artistic morale: to undo one’s inertia with more resolute attitude and greater courage, to reject the superstition and reliance on any technology, medium or methodology, and to attend specific issues in reality with intellectual complex and widened vision. This bold and unconstrained tidal force from reality generates a tremendous amount of energy, whether in the field of creative practice or intellectual production, filled with infinite possibility and unknown, to have the audacity in such unknown open reality, is the necessary course of action for Chinese contemporary artists at this moment.

The so-called being “adventurous” refers to taking initiative of entering dangerous and unknown situations. The “adventurous” artist is the one who proactively combats existing artistic system, its rigid aesthetic tradition, and the vast network of ideologies. It’s not only a means by which to resist a sense of loss and helplessness in the everyday life, but also an attempt to perforate the ubiquitous cast in the art world. Regardless of the approach and language adopted for these “adventurous” paintings, the works are nevertheless filled with doubts and wisdom, as the artists aim at revealing their inner spirits. The expression of painting, corresponds to the artist’s personal sensibilities and one’s deliberate gaze, it’s neither meant to capture meaning nor to complete it, but aimed at destroying or interrupting the formation of meanings and notions. The pleasure of painting is impartial. It’s as much hedonistic as it takes on unforeseen risks. As painting pursues adventures, once it breaks free from the framework of form and the confines of tradition, would it have the opportunity to reach its profound condition. Painting in the present has become a dynamic or even ruptured expansion, that’s being constantly deconstructed and rebuilt, mutated, collapsed and regrouped incessantly. Once the artist has cultivated the characteristic to aspire for differentiation and adventure, would his paintings touch on the profound depth of his own condition, to understand the infinite depth of an individual through painting is the source for ultimate pleasure. The outcome of painting is no longer singular, at least not as a conclusion, but as the artist’s enquiry that shapes one’s actions to filter through reality, a symbolism of the artist’s own self-emancipation, a totem for one’s personal will that marks concrete notions.

This exhibition invites Ma Ke, Xu He and Zhao Yinou, three painters born in the 1970s and have been living in China for most of their lives. All of whom have witnessed the entire course of transition as China shifted from the collective of cultural totalitarianism to modern culture under capitalism.  Their awareness of their respective anxieties is apparent, their understanding of the self is profound, and their experiences with art practice is rich, which let them to deeper dissatisfaction with themselves and a stronger desire for leap forward in their works, in other words, their desire of being “adventurous” is genuine. The compositional grammar and spatial awareness in their paintings manifest on a spiritual level, rather than literal representations of the narrative or artistic notion. These artists are inclined to open up their sensitivities, addressing the state of paintings through the criticism of one own reality by focusing on effectively releasing the individual’s sensitivity and subconscious. They wish to overcome the self, by ways of painting and intellectual positions that are concerned with the actual subjects of “self-cultivation” and “freedom”, in spite of the significant disparities between their awareness of such issues. The works shown in this exhibition are the best proof transitivity and complexity in their practice, whether in unveiling the issues in painting or their specific incurrence, of which are worthy of meticulous examination and detailed discussions. The progress in contemporary Chinese painting no longer relies on the logic of evolution or the subversive spirit of heroism, but the hands-on efforts of the individual, where each artist continues to dig in one’s own set of issues, in itself would constitute as participating in building the new cultural system. In the works of Ma Ke, Xu He, Zhao Yinou and many others, we are witnessing such optimistic prospect, which begins to seem lucid on the treacherous path ahead.

Works

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    • The Pleasures of Adventures