Shao Fan (Yu Han)
Rabbit Portrait - Jiawu 1, 2014, detail
Galerie Urs Meile Beijing is honored to announce Shao Fan (Yu Han)’s exhibition Big Rabbit +. This exhibition will concentrate on the artist’s intriguing, traditional ink explorations of animal portraits with contemporary sense. Since his childhood, Shao Fan has been immersed in traditional Chinese culture and has searched through its long history for things that suit his contemporary style. He easily makes use of traditional ink, oil paint, sculpture, design, architecture, and even gardening, among other forms of media in his practice and artistic language. Shao Fan’s works are restrained, full of tension and profound cultural features. With his usual careful perspective, Shao Fan expresses his attitude toward everything in today’s world.
Raising a number of rabbits in his garden made Shao Fan want to paint their portraits. Shao Fan has repeatedly interpreted the subject of rabbits in his paintings, but to the artist, rabbits are the same as any of the other subjects. He hopes that through animals he can view the self.
“I try to look at rabbits not through the eyes of a human, but through the eyes of a rabbit.” As the artist puts it, only by looking at rabbits through the eyes of a rabbit can you feel that the animal—seen by human eyes as “small”—is presented in the painting in a manner that is full of self-confidence, eye-to-eye with humans. According to the artist’s description, everything has a soul. Exposed before the surreal, large-scale portraits, the massive size and strangeness of the painted images causes the audience to re-examine itself. Ultimately, his endless, craftsman-like layers of brush and ink portray those vulnerable rabbits in an extraordinarily large, resplendent, and inscrutable way, which also causes a strange, nearly tangible, visual feeling to emanate from the painting.
If you look carefully, you realize, that the rabbits that have sprung from Shao Fan’s brush are composed of calligraphic strokes. Entire rabbits are composed of countless accumulated brush strokes, and each stroke is inscribed like a breath. To the artist, this is like a form of Zen meditation. Art critic Heinz-Norbert Jocks wrote in an epilogue to the conversation with Shao Fan in 2014: “His drawing on calligraphy as well as the special manipulation of Western oil painting reveal that Shao very much takes his time.” Ruth Noack wrote in the critic for his new exhibition catalogue: “In Shao Fan’s paintings, painterly planes and calligraphic traces are bound together in harmony.”
The vast majority of Shao Fan’s paintings have no light source. To him, the contrast in expressing shapes or certain images is already enough of a presentation. Thus, the world Shao Fan articulates is quiet, not loud. It is sincere, rather than dazzling, as if time and space have stopped. The viewer can clearly feel this hopeless classicist’s love for traditional culture’s symmetry, righteousness, and impartiality, as well as his persistence in developing a kind of personalization in this contemporary art environment. A catalogue published by the gallery, with a text by Ruth Noack (curator and critic, Berlin) will accompany the exhibition.
Shao Fan, Zi: Yu Han, was born to a family of artists in Beijing and has lived there ever since. From his youth, he studied painting with his mother and father. His recent exhibitions include: Chinese Whispers, Kuntsmuseum Bern and Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland (2016); A New Dynasty—Created in China, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Denmark (2015); “Secret Signs” Chinese contemporary calligraphy exhibition, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany (2014); De la Chine aux arts Decortifs, Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, France (2014); St. Moritz Art Masters, St. Moritz, Switzerland (2013); Confronting Anitya: Oriental Experience in Contemporary Art, Palazzo Michiel, Venice, Italy (2013); Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA (2013); Go Figure! Contemporary Chinese Portraiture, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia (2012); as well as the First Beijing International Design Triennial, National Museum of China, Beijing, China (2011). Numerous museums around the world, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Peabody Museum of Salem in the United States, The National Art Museum of China, The Victoria and Albert Museum in England, Hong Kong’s M+ Museum, and The Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan, among others, have been collecting his works since 1988.
Life is Porn, 2015,
Galerie Urs Meile Beijing is honoured to announce the opening of The Day is Yet Long from our up-andcoming artist Chen Fei (*1983 in Hongtong, Shanxi, China). This is his second solo exhibition since he began working with Galerie Urs Meile and his first soloshow in Europe. The exhibition will feature a series of works that the artist has created since 2013. Chen Fei’s main creative media is painting, and he particularly loves a “super flat” creative technique that is straightforward and clean. Under bright and beautiful colours and clean, almost mechanical lines, a simple visual disguise is created. With consistently strong narrative characteristics, disturbing emotions leak out.
Chen Fei’s works have been mostly autobiographical. His expertise is the choreography of the scene. Those scenes of daily life could not be any more common but, because of tedious detail and character arrangement, often bring out a compact tension and an unexpected sense of drama. Chen Fei has an almost paranoid discipline towards detail. Because of this, he injects a strong sense of realism and the feeling of a film still into his work. Viewers standing in front of the canvas often back away out of discomfort. However, in spite of this, they are often still “kidnapped” into speculating on the canvas’ psychological narrative and characters.
In the series of works of all the same size (180 × 240 cm each) that we are exhibiting this time, he often imbeds himself in the paintings as characters: as a bare-chested shop owner or as ‘police officer’. Chen Fei mocks himself without mercy. A backdrop of obvious nudity and images of genitals signify lust, ugliness, etc. as a kind of abstract experience. Chen Fei’s works are filled with purpose and visual elements, often referred to as “bad taste”, yet they affect the viewer’s eye in a strange way.
His quirky imagination takes the plain and ordinary and adds attractive imagery and tension, and his paranoia towards detail and “accuracy” makes his scenes’ arrangements surprising, yet highly believable. At the same time, he gives the viewer the excitement of breaking through an ugly, false mask. Chen Fei’s fine painting method determines that his painting is a slow, almost boring, process. But in this kind of month and year-long exploration, he gives his own movie script the perfect subtext and gives the viewer a sensory experience of discomfort that does not fade.
A catalogue published by the gallery, with a text by Karen Smith (Art Critic, Curator, and Executive Director of the OCAT museum in Xi’an), will accompany the exhibition.
Chen Fei (*1983 in Hongtong, Shanxi, China) graduated from Beijing Film Academy Fine Art department in 2005 and currently lives and works in Beijing. The artist’s recent exhibitions include the solo exhibition Flesh and Me (2014) at Galerie Perrotin’s Hong Kong space. Group exhibitions include: The Civil Power—Beijing Minsheng Modern Art Museum Opening Exhibition, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, China (2015); A New Dynasty—Created in China, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Denmark (2015); 1199 People, Long Museum, Shanghai, China (2014) as well as 1st CAFAM Future Exhibition, China Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum (2012). In 2012, he received the Martell Art Fund’s „Focus on Talents Project“ award.
Die Galerie Urs Meile freut sich, in der Einzelausstellung The Day is Yet Long neue Werke des chinesischen Künstlers Chen Fei (*1983 in Hongtong, Shanxi, China) in der Galerie in Luzern zu präsentieren. The Day is Yet Long ist die zweite Ausstellung des Künstlers seit Beginn der Zusammenarbeit mit der Galerie Urs Meile und gleichzeitig seine erste Soloshow in Europa. Im Zentrum steht eine Werkserie, die der Künstler seit 2013 geschaffen hat. Chen Feis künstlerisches Medium ist die Malerei. Er erschafft technisch hoch versierte, narrative Bilder, die zwischenmenschliche Beziehungen und Emotionen thematisieren.
Chen Feis Arbeiten sind meistens autobiographisch. Er hat ein besonderes Geschick für die Komposition von Schauplätzen, die zunächst sehr alltäglich wirken. Durch die Anordnung der Figuren sowie die fast schon peinlich genaue Ausarbeitung der Details werden jedoch oft starke Spannungen und eine überraschende Dramatik erzeugt. Seine Werke sind sehr realistisch gemalt und erinnern an Film Stills. Betrachter treten aus Unbehagen oft einen Schritt zurück und versuchen trotzdem gebannt, die psychologischen Hintergründe und die Geschichten der abgebildeten Figuren zu verstehen.
In der aktuellen Werkserie (je 180 × 240 cm) wird der Künstler in Form von Selbstportraits Teil der Bildmotive. Er nimmt dabei verschiedene Rollen ein – vom Ladeninhaber bis zum Polizeioffizier. Politische Anspielungen, spottende Kommentare zu bestehenden Moralvorstellungen und selbstkritische Aussagen sind Teil seiner Werke. Die Malereien von Chen Fei bergen einen tieferen Sinn und zeigen viele visuelle Elemente, die an “bad taste” erinnern und den Betrachter besonders in ihren Bann ziehen.
Vom Einfachen und Gewöhnlichen ausgehend kreiert er Bilder, die dank feinen Details und spannenden Kompositionen überraschend und doch äusserst glaubwürdig erscheinen. Gleichzeitig ermöglicht er dem Betrachter einen Blick hinter die hässliche, falsche Fassade. Chen Feis feiner Pinselstrich lässt auf einen langsamen, fast langweiligen Arbeitsprozess schliessen. Doch genau mit dieser Methode und durch die langjährige Recherche verbergen sich in den filmischen Szenen Botschaften, die den Betrachtern sinnliche und auch unangenehme Erfahrungen ermöglichen, die nicht so schnell verblassen.
Im Rahmen der Ausstellung veröffentlicht die Galerie einen Katalog mit einem Text von Karen Smith, der Kunstkritikerin und Direktorin des OCAT Museums in Xi’an.
Chen Fei, 1983 in Hongtong, Shanxi, China, geboren, schloss sein Studium 2005 in Peking im Fine Art Department der Beijing Film Academy ab und lebt und arbeitet heute in Peking. Seine letzte Einzelausstellung in Hong Kong, Flesh and Me (2014), fand in der Galerie Perrotin statt. Seine Arbeiten wurden zudem in folgenden Gruppenausstellungen gezeigt: The Civil Power—Beijing Minsheng Modern Art Museum Opening Exhibition, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Peking, China (2015); A New Dynasty—Created in China, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Dänemark (2015); 1199 People, Long Museum, Shanghai, China (2014) sowie 1st CAFAM Future Exhibition, China Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum (2012). Im Jahr 2012 gewann er den „Focus on Talents Project“ Preis des Martell Art Funds.