Shanghai - Shipyard 1862, rebuilt from the 150-year-old Xiangsheng Shipyard, is reopened. Founded in 1862 in Shanghai, Xiangsheng Shipyard stands on the banks of the Huangpu River and has witnessed change in the city for a century and a half. Under the design of Kengo Kuma, the building will bring cultural and artistic atmosphere to the Lujiazui Financial District. On the third floor of the Shipyard 1862 building, four galleries from New York, Beijing and Shanghai (ShanghART Gallery, Boers-Li Gallery, Fou Gallery, Tong Gallery+projects) will present a unique “Shanghai Story.” Each exhibition is independently curated by the gallery, and artists from different cities in different eras will tell the evolving story of the city.
Fou Gallery is pleased to present Renqian Yang’s solo exhibition Urban Microcosmos, including her recent ceramic installation, sculptures created in Jingdezhen, and early abstract works on paper. Yang finds inspiration in negligible fragments of urban life. She transforms things that we usually ignore but live with such as light bulbs, water faucets, and nails into unique ceramics and paintings. These objects are intended to keep things together, but now become useless and unconnected. Yang grew up as an artist across different cultural backgrounds. Born in Xiangtan, Hunan Province, she graduated from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and went to the United States to study at Syracuse University. She obtained her M.F.A. in Ceramics in 2014 and now teaches at the State University of New York at Oswego. From the migration of the “ant tribe,” to the global phenomenon of urban sprawl, and the continuous dismantling and reconstruction of urban landscapes under high-speed development, Yang transforms the cities of her memories into miniature universes. As Yang says: "Constantly traveling between the U.S. and China, I witness an endless feast of construction without a beginning or an end. Buildings are being disintegrated and regenerated constantly; we are always influenced by the cities we live in. We deconstruct nature, we allow those artificial mountains and rocks to become part of our life, but seem to forget what a real rock looks like."
The Landscapes Deconstruct series depicts a Chinese urban scene that is constantly deconstructed and rebuilt, torn between tradition and modernization. The installation features irregular ceramic blocks that represent tall buildings scattered about the city. The blue-and-white landscape depicted on each piece carries the memory of traditional Chinese porcelain. As a whole, they are placed on tables like a three-dimensional map to be viewed as a classic Chinese garden. Tapio Yli-Viikari, Professor Emeritus at the School of Art and Design Architecture at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, compares the work to traditional Chinese landscape paintings, saying, “Miniature garden stones are randomly covered with fragmented blue and white landscapes. They offer associations to landscape escapism."
Renqian Yang, Landscapes Deconstruct III, 2018, Porcelain, fire to 1300C, gas reduction, Various dimension, 12 pieces © Renqian Yang, courtesy Fou Gallery
Renqian Yang, Landscapes Deconstruct I, 2018, Porcelain, fire to 1300C, gas reduction, Various dimension, 12 pieces © Renqian Yang, courtesy Fou Gallery
The pieces made for the Fabricated Construction series look like abstract paintings at first glance. However, with a closer look, these slip cast works are actually made from assorted hardware scraps. The buildings we live in may look identical, but the history and memory of each family is unique – light bulbs, water pipes, faucets, nails, door handles, keys, screws, and other components of a family, all cast in clay. Yang explains: "These ordinary objects from our mundane lives share our memories. They are often hidden, like our emotions and spirits, and are invisible to us. When examined in detail and amplified, they carry a new meaning."
Renqian Yang, Fabricated Construction 12, 2018, Porcelain, fire to 1300C, gas reduction, 0.4 x 19.7 inch (dia.) © Renqian Yang, courtesy Fou Gallery
The black-and-white Space Deconstruction series embodies a contrast: a dichotomy between a cold, black industrial civilization and a warm, white traditional culture of craftsmanship, like the contrast between the geometric and organic, rational and irrational. For Yang, these works exist in the unnerving space between the organic and the mechanical: "Those seemingly natural-looking rocks and stone create a spiritual space where we live now. We are like actors who want to escape from black-and-white movies. We can't touch the real world. Thus we seek warmth in accidental glimpses of nature, and our hearts swell because of the novelty of color.”
Renqian Yang, Space Deconstruction 4, 2018, Porcelain, fire to 1300C, gas reduction, 13.4 x 7.9 x 5.9 inch © Renqian Yang, courtesy Fou Gallery
The exhibition also presents some of Yang's works on paper with her early reflections and diagrammatic experiments in ink brushstrokes. These seemingly abstract, asymmetric, and irregular shapes evoke mental images of urban sprawl: uncontrolled development and demolished natural landscapes. These works on paper seek a balance between man-made constraints and uncontrollable natural chaos.
上海 – 由百年历史的祥生船厂改建的船厂1862焕新启幕。始建于1862年的英商上海祥生船厂矗立于黄浦江畔，见证了一个半世纪以来的上海风云变幻。而在隈研武的设计下，它又为陆家嘴金融城带来了文化和艺术的气息。在船厂一至三层，来自纽约、北京、上海的四家画廊——香格纳画廊、博而励画廊、否画廊、Tong Gallery+projects将一起呈现《上海故事》。每个画廊独立策展，来自不同年代不同城市的艺术家将一起谱写一曲跨越时代的城市故事。
《山水重置》系列描绘了在传统和现代之间不断解构和重建的中国城市景象。不规则的陶瓷方块有如城市中散落的高楼，又如组成建筑的零碎砖块，而在其上描绘的的青花山水，则承载了传统中国瓷器的记忆。它们作为一个整体，被放置在有如回廊般的曲折台面上，观看有如微观的园林体验。赫尔辛基艺术与设计大学艺术设计建筑学院陶瓷学名誉教授Tapio Yli-Viikari 认为它们有如中国的传统山水风景画，是杨回归本源的尝试：“那些缩小版的园林山石随机的覆盖在青花山水的片段中，它们提供了一个与现实无关的世外桃源。”
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