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Trace of Existence
2016.1.24 - 2016.3.13
Central Gallery
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From 24 January to 13 March, 2016, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) presents “Trace of Existence,” a group exhibition featuring eight artists from China and abroad located in the Central Gallery. Including painting, video, and installation, the exhibition explores how an artwork’s rhetoric—the “trace” of its creation—is constructed within different contexts and states of existence, as well as through specific life experiences and artistic practices. Taking its title from the exhibition “Trace of Existence: A Private Showing of Chinese Contemporary Art’ 98,” curated by Feng Boyi on the eastern fringes of Beijing, the exhibition not only presents a set of explorations in experimental art, but also investigates the state of cross-cultural interaction at the local and global levels.

“Trace of Existence” is curated by Philip Tinari and Guo Xi. Participating artists include Andrew Beck, Li Jinghu, Liang Shuo, Mateo López, Jon Pestoni, Shi Yong, Koki Tanaka, and Yang Guangnan. Exclusive sponsorship of sound equipment comes from GENELEC.

梁慧圭

Download “Trace of Existence” press release.

 

About the Artists and Artworks

Andrew Beck

Visually reminiscent of abstract painting, the works of Andrew Beck explore the presentation of art in the age of digital imaging. With these pieces, the artist first paints a black block directly onto a piece of glass, then exposes a piece of photographic paper in a dark room to form a graphic pattern of “light.” After the pattern is complete, Beck attaches the photographic paper to the back of the glass. Here, the build-up of layers lends a sense of depth comparable to sculpture, while the incorporation of photographic techniques coupled with the instantaneity of “light” bring focus back to the work’s moment of creation.

Andrew Beck (b. 1987, New Zealand) lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand. He received an MFA from Massey University School of Fine Arts, Wellington in 2010. His recent solo exhibitions include “Redux” (Hamish McKay Gallary, Wellington, 2015); “Platforms” (Hamish McKay Gallary, Wellington, 2014); and “Shadow Subset—Open Window” (Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, 2014). His works have been featured in the group exhibition “The Specious Present” (Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, 2015).

 

Li Jinghu

A long-time resident of Dongguan, China’s leading hub for the manufacture of electronics located along the Pearl River Delta, Li Jinghu is interested in the role virtual representation plays in our daily lives. Waterfall is executed by connecting Android cell phones collected from local residents. Each cellphone plays a recording of water flowing from the donor’s faucet. While the virtual “waterfalls” on the individual screens are derived from actual footage, the “waterfall” constructed by the display of collected cell phones is merely a visual pun. Here, the act of gazing by screen is subject with said “waterfall” providing the context.

Li Jinghu (b. 1972, Dongguan) graduated from the fine arts department of South China Normal University in 1996, and is currently based in Dongguan. His solo exhibitions include “Time is Money” (Magician Space, Beijing, 2014) and “Efficiency is Life” (Magician Space, Beijing, 2014). His works have appeared in group exhibitions, including: “Stone, Wood and Paradise Syndrome” (1933 Contemporary, Shanghai, 2014); “You Can Only Think about Something if You Think of Something Else” (Times Museum, Guangzhou, 2014); “Positive Space” (Times Museum, Guangzhou, 2014); “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2013).

 

Liang Shuo

Inspired by the notion of “fit” (to match or coordinate), Fit No. 8 assembles common household objects, bought from a local market, in random nonsensical ways, creating a stable yet detachable whole. Emptied of everyday function, these readymades take on a new meaning that challenges the standard system of production and consumption.

Liang Shuo (b. 1976, Tianjin) graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2000 and currently lives and works in Beijing. His solo exhibitions include “No Way Between Sky and Earth—Liang Shuo’s Outdoor Project” (Meta Gallery, Shanghai, 2015); “Liang Shuo: The Grand Topology” (Pifo New Art Gallery, Beijing, 2015); The Story of Beginning (Space Station, Beijing, 2014); Art Peddler (Yangtze River Space, Wuhan, 2015); and FIT (C5Art, Beijing, 2010). His works have appeared in group exhibitions, including: “Open Lab—Chinese and Japanese Gardens” (Times Museum, Guangzhou, 2015); “Fervent China—Sculptures Monumentales Contemporaines” (Anciens Abattoirs-Mons, Belgium, 2015); “On The Road” (Guan Shan Yue Art Museum, Shenzhen, 2014); “By The Name Of Dailiness—Chinese Contemporary Art Everyday Discourse and Generate Ideas” (Blue Art Gallery, Cheng du, 2014); Ten Exhibitions (Inside-out Art Museum, Beijing, 2014); “Landscape: The Virtual, The Actual, The Possible?” (Time Museum, Guangzhou, 2014; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2014);

“Superfluous Things NO.4—Liang Shuo” (Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2013); “Portrait of The Times—30 Years of Chinese Contemporary Art” (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2013); “Fuck Off 2″ (Groninger Museum, 2013); and “Space Drawing” (Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, 2013). His artworks have been collected by the Art Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), Museum Het Domain (Sittard), Rijksakademie (Amsterdam), and Eulsukdo Culture Center (Busan).

 

Mateo López

Mateo López’s artistic practice feeds from journeys and encounters and extends to the architectural realm. In the itinerant piece Nowhere Man (2007- ), López uses paper as the main medium, displaying traces of his own life on a single plane in the form of a model. The drawing construction recalls an absent protagonist. Nowhere Man is a work in progress, the epitome of the lifestyle of a wanderer. The paper-made objects of the installation were further used as props for the films El Minutero and Time as Activity. López’s filmmaking and drawing practice attempt to portray the way processes and time can be contained.

Mateo López (b. 1978, Bogotá) graduated from Universidad de Los Andes and is currently based in New York. He has participated in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Program as William Kentridge’s protégé (2012), the Gasworks Residency Program in London (2010), and the FAAP/ MAM’s Artistic Residence program in San Paulo (2009). His solo exhibitions include “A Room inside a room” (Casey Kaplan, New York, 2015) and “Constelaciones” (Medellin Modern Art Museum, 2014). His recent group exhibitions include “United States of Latin America” (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 2015); “Permission To Be Global/ Prácticas Globales: Latin American Art from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection” (CIFO, Miami, Museum of Fine arts, Boston, 2013); “Universes in Universe” 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010).His artworks have been collected by the Museum of Modern Art and Inhotim among other institutions.

 

Jon Pestoni

For a long period of time, Jon Pestoni has been exploring and experimenting in the field of non-figurative painting. His works not only consider the nuances of color, form, light and shadow, but also relate closely to spatial materiality and tension. The exhibition works are all formed by multiple layers. Each layer is a part of the entire work but also function individually—the superimposition of layers accentuates the temporality in the process of the painting and attempts to break the boundaries of two-dimensional representation. These pieces seem to refer to classics of abstract painting—the rough strokes of action painting resting on regular geometric surfaces reminiscent of geometric abstraction, thus realizing a conversation of disparate layers loaded with various messages of culture and art history.

Jon Pestoni (b.1969, St. Helena) works and lives in Los Angeles. He received an MFA from the University of California, Los Angele in 1996. Recent exhibitions include “Jon Pestoni” (David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, 2015); “Day-For-Night Nuit Américaine” (Office Baroque, Brussels, 2014); and “Alex Hubbard, Jon Pestoni” (Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, 2014).

 

Shi Yong

Recently completed with materials used predominantly for construction, Shi Yong’s series “Let all potential be internally resolved using beautiful form” self-consciously evokes a sense post-industrial kitsch. Within each piece, the artist has placed an aluminum rod upon which is written quotations from a personal essay. While only portions of the rods can be seen, inhibiting readers from knowing the literary work in its entirety, the constituent visual pieces are nonetheless arranged according to the sequence of the essay. With the sculptural bodies of the series competing with the literary work for attention, the pieces alludes to the ongoing debate of form versus content within art.

Shi Yong (b. 1963, Shanghai) graduated in 1984 from the fine arts department of the Shanghai Light Industrial School and currently lives and works in Shanghai. His exhibitions include “Essential Matters—Moving Images from China” (Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, 2015); “Myth/ History II: Shanghai Galaxy” (YUZ Museum, Shanghai, 2015); “Hans van Dijk: 5000 Names” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, Witte de With, Rotterdam, 2014); “Shi Yong: Silent Film” (Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K., 2014); “Glasstress 2011″ (Palazzo Cavalli Francheti, Venice, 2011); “Big Draft—Shanghai” (Kunstmuseum Bern, 2010); “Shanghai Kino” (Kunsthalle Bern, 2009); “Think Carefully, Where Have You Been Yesterday?” (BizArt Art Center, Shanghai, 2007); The Second Guangzhou Triennial “BEYOND: An Extraordinary Space of Experimentation for Modernization” (Guangdong Museum of Art, 2005); “The Heaven—The World”  (ShanghArt H-Space, Shanghai, 2004); The Fourth Shanghai Biennale “Urban Creation” (Shanghai Art Museum, 2002); and The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2002).

 

Koki Tanaka

Koki Tanaka’s practice incorporates video, photography, on-sight installation, and public intervention. In recent years, he has produced a series of “collaborative” projects, which organize temporary groups according to a cause. The participants’ reactions to this impetus are captured and are intended for the study of social behavior. In his work A pottery produced by five potters at once (silent attempt), Koki Tanaka invites five people to create a single piece of pottery but forbids them from using verbal communication to complete it. The resulting creative situation is captured with onlookers and filmmakers at times appearing in the frame.

Koki Tanaka (b. 1975, Tochigi) lives and works in Los Angeles. He received an MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2005. Tanaka received the “Artist of the Year” award from Deutsch Bank in 2015 and Special Mention for his contribution to the Japan Pavilion at the 55th International Art Exhibition–La Biennale di Venezia in 2013. His recent exhibitions include “A Vulnerable Narrator” (Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin, 2015); “Parasophia: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture” (Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 2015); “Discordant Harmony: Critical Reflections on the Imagination of Asia” (Art Sonje Center, Seoul, 2015); and “A Piano Played by Five Pianists at Once (First Attempt)” (Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain, Brest, 2013). His work has been collected by M+, Mori Art Museum, and other institutions.

 

Yang Guangnan

Yang Guangnan examines the trivial experiences of everyday life, transforming them into works of sculpture, installation, and performance. The metal box in Action No.3 resembles a window through which the streetscape of Heiqiao Art Village—filmed at a low angle—can be seen. Carried by a cleaning machine, this “window” wanders aimlessly, bouncing back after hitting a wall or obstacle. Indicative of a low-quality industrialism, the work parodies street surveillance, sharing the reactions of those that have been filmed, while completing a circuit that exists between the sites of production and presentation.

Yang Guangnan (b. 1980, Hebei province) currently lives and works in Beijing. He received a Master’s in 2009 from the sculpture department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. His recent exhibition include “Chinese Contemporary Art Invitational Exhibition” (Epoch Art Museum, Wenzhou, 2015); “Poetics of the Country” (Fenmichang, Beijing, China, 2014); “A Room Not of One’s Own” (Space Station, Beijing, 2014); “Groundwork Community” (Taikang Space, Beijing, 2013); “The Young Generation Visual Rhetoric” (Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum, 2013);

“Sans Faute” (QUT Creative Industries Precinct, 2013); “The Memory of Two Cities” (Citizen’s Gallery, Seoul, 2013); “Stepping In Nature: MAM Collection of Chinese Conceptual Photography” (Macao Museum of Art, 2012); “Be natural, Be yourself” (FRAC, Nantes, 2011); Impossible Universe (QUT Creative Industries Precinct, 2011); “Game” (White Box Museum of Art,  Beijing, 2011); “The Third Party” (Platform China, Beijing, 2011); and “Eurekaaaa—Contemporary Art Exhibition” (Ling Gallery, Chongqing, 2011).

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Jon Pestoni
  • Untitled (detail)
  • 2013
  • Oil and mixed media on canvas
  • 198.1 x 152.4 cm
  • Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery.
Works in the Exhibition
 / 4 1
    • Li Jinghu
    • Waterfall
    • 2015
    • Android phones, video, electric phone charger, metal
    • Dimensions variable
    • Courtesy the artist and Magician Space.
    • Liang Shuo
    • Fit No.8
    • 2013
    • Readymade
    • 303 x 103 x 303 cm
    • Courtesy the artist and Beijing Commune.
    • Koki Tanaka
    • A pottery produced by five potters at once (silent attempt)
    • 2013
    • Video
    • 75:00
    • Courtesy the artist and Vitamin Creative Space.
    • Koki Tanaka
    • A pottery produced by five potters at once (silent attempt)
    • 2013
    • Video
    • 75:00
    • Courtesy the artist and Vitamin Creative Space.
    • Jon Pestoni
    • Untitled
    • 2013
    • Oil and mixed media on canvas
    • 198.1 x 152.4 cm
    • Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery.
    • Jon Pestoni
    • Wino
    • 2014
    • Oil and mixed media on canvas
    • 198.1 x 152.4 cm
    • Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery.
    • Jon Pestoni
    • Mayonaise
    • 2014
    • Oil and mixed media on canvas
    • 198.1 x 172.7cm
    • Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery.
    • Jon Pestoni
    • Hot Lunch
    • 2014
    • Oil and mixed media on canvas
    • 198.1 x 172.7cm
    • Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery.
    • Shi Yong
    • Let all potential be internally resolved using beautiful form No.24
    • 2015
    • Aluminum square tube, stainless steel accessories, fluorocarbon metallic paint, aluminum, silk screen print
    • 24 x 200 x 20 cm
    • Courtesy the artist and Madein Gallery.
    • Shi Yong
    • Let all potential be internally resolved using beautiful form No.22
    • 2015
    • Quartz fibre wallpaper, waterproof gypsum board, synthetic resin emulsion paint, polystyrene sheets, imports of photographic paper ultra-precision output, aluminum and polyethylene plastic composite panels, wooden multi-layer board, steel furring channel, rubber, aluminum, silk screen print
    • 220 x 162 x 18 cm
    • Courtesy the artist and Madein Gallery.
    • Shi Yong
    • Let all potential be internally resolved using beautiful form No.20
    • 2015
    • Acrylonitrile-butadiene styrene plastic, aluminum and polyethylene plastic composite panels, wooden multi-layer board, aluminum
    • 110 x 140 x 18 cm
    • Courtesy the artist and Madein Gallery.
    • Mateo López
    • Nowhere Man
    • 2007-2016
    • Drawings and cut-outs on paper, cardboard
    • Dimensions variable
    • Courtesy the artist.
    • Andrew Beck
    • Three Transitions
    • 2015
    • Acrylic on glass with silver gelatin prints underneath
    • 80 x 80 cm
    • Courtesy Hamish Mckay Gallery, New Zealand and Luis Campana Gallery, Germany.
    • Yang Guangnan
    • Action No.3
    • 2014
    • Vacuum cleaner, screen, video, aluminium
    • 33 x 33 x 28 cm
    • Courtesy Leo Xu Projects.
    • Yang Guangnan
    • Look No.2
    • 2013
    • Two-channel video
    • 2:53, 2:45
    • Courtesy the artist.
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Installation Views
Videos
  • Exhibition Preview
    2'00''
  • "Trace of Existence" Exhibition Opening
    4'03''
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