He Xiangyu “Crossed Beliefs”

2013.10.4(Fri) - 11.9(Sat)
Exhibition Period:4 October – 9 November 2013
Opening Hours:12:00-18:00 *closed on Mon., Sun., Sat., and Holidays

Through a wide range of media from painting, sculpture and video installation, He Xiangyu playfully explores social criticism in his practice, foregrounding a refreshing humor and process-based approach. The artist’s imaginative and bold experimentation allows him to reveal structural vulnerability in today’s cultural development. In Cola Project (2012), He amounts an apocalyptic landscape of boiled residue from 127 tons of Coca Cola, in addition to other alchemic artifacts using the product. Tracing a clichéd analogy of contemporary heritage, He displays an evocative scale of grandeur while maintaining his personal attachment that precedes the narrative.

For his first presentation in Japan, He showcases a selection of works made since 2011, including those exhibited for the first time. Wisdom Tower (2013) brings together a stack of the artist’s wisdom teeth and miniature golden Chinese pagodas – a series He intends to continue with teeth purchased from third persons. An emphasis on corporeity is further echoed in My Fantasy (2013): a meticulously crafted replica of the artist’s body laid tranquil in a vitrine. The half-sized sculpture is faithfully reproduced in silicon and fiberglass, and its disconcerting image enables us to re-imagine He’s fantasy from the depiction of hyperrealism. By asserting his position through physical alibis, the artist is able to question the diminishing roles of religious and metaphysical values in increasingly pluralized societies. A five-channel video installation titled My Dream (2012) projects an ephemeral grace of dust in the air pervading the private domain: the capacity of one’s imagination is confined by a limitation of oneself and the materialization of dreams remain subject to entropy. Addressing the viewer directly, I’m Sorry (2013) is a dysfunctional door sculpture with the handle replaced by a heated light bulb - suggesting both a restriction on one’s privacy and refusal of access.

He explains, “It seems to me that our imagination for the future is reduced to a commitment to the sense of safety, and ultimate goals are simplified for the management of this reality.” The artist also claims that every correction under the guise of such management seems to suppress the conception of collective values. ‘Crossed Beliefs’ signifies He’s positive engagement in the trials and errors of this creative process - a wishful gesture for future orientation.

About the Artist

He Xiangyu, born in 1986, Liaoning (China), lives and works in Beijing. Recent group shows include; ‘Inter-Vision: A Contemporary Exhibition Across the Strait’ at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan, which is currently on tour to the National Art Museum of China, Beijing; and ‘ON|OFF’ at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2013). Select solo exhibitions include; ‘He Xiangyu’ at White Space Beijing (2012); ‘Cola Project’ at 4A Centre for Contemporary Arian Art, Sydney, Australia (2012); and ‘The Death of Marat’ at Künstlerhaus Schloß Balmoral, Bad Ems, Germany (2011). His solo show at White Cube (London) is forthcoming in January 2014.

“Wisdom Tower (a pretty girl),” 2013, tooth, gold, copper, bamboo stick, 8.25 x 2.1 x 2.1 cmPhoto: Keizo Kioku
“Wisdom Tower (a pretty girl),” 2013, tooth, gold, copper, bamboo stick, 8.25 x 2.1 x 2.1 cm
Photo: Keizo Kioku