Displaying a series of his latest works, this is Hong Hao’s second solo exhibition at Beijing Commune. It was opened on November the 26th, 2011 and will last until February 26th, 2012. The title of the exhibition, “AS IT IS” or “Jiu Shi” in Chinese, meaning, literally, to do or make things by following the natural logic or development of things, offers a hint of how Hong Hao’s new works are made. By borrowing the form, function and connotation of everyday objects, Hong Hao creates a “new” that is not “strange” to the viewers. This new series of installations made mainly with paper, is the result of the artist’s refection on the inner mechanic of contemporary society, and is also a starting point of a new project for Hong Hao.
“Mechanics”, which originally means the structure and functional procedures of machine, now generally refers to the stabilized correlations and interactions among things. For a society operating within a stable economic and political system, its inner mechanics means the unstated laws it follows or the modes it forms during its operation. One can find the existence of this mechanics almost everywhere in our social life. For example, the tickets, receipts, forms, notepads, or any other printed materials with certain specification that Hong Hao has collected in his everyday life, are all residue of our social life, filling up our life from the past to present. Hong Hao draws the outlines of found objects, such as a soapbox or a lighters, etc., by tracing their forms on such ready-made paper. These hand drawn lines, far from being perfect as the printed ones, gives the hint of human labor in the making of these mass-manufactured media.
In some of the works, Hong Hao traces with pencil, on the back of the documents, the letters printed on them. The function of the letters is eliminated in such process as they have been transformed to a mere “pattern” similar to a geometrical forms. In some other works, Hong Hao copied fragmented notes by various people, famous or unknown, to the old documents that he acquired from markets selling second-hand things. Obviously, all the artist’s “creations” are based on the familiar forms taken from our social and cultural life, and he never intends to offer a “new” which is beyond our everyday experience. The exhibition is more like a gesture of the artist about today’s culture: it is an declaration made in a restrained manner; it is a practice meant for significance, but is done with all the trivial. The implications of these works, however, may be very clear to viewers good at texual reading: the target mechanics here is both political and cultural.
Hong Hao was born in Beijing in 1965, and has been exhibited widely since the 1990s. His best known works are his prints and photography. In his featured photo works of scanned images, Hong Hao has been assembling the images of various found objects including map, book, tickets, receipts, banknotes, food and containers, etc. In his solo exhibition “Hong Hao: Bottom” at Beijing Commune in 2009, the artist shows a series of scanned bottoms of everyday objects: by arranging the scanned images according to their forms and colors, he destructs the functional property of the things and reproduces an undifferentiated, flattened, deliberately superficialized world of aesthetics. Hong Hao continues to work with the found materials, but more straightforwardly with their physical forms this time in the “AS IT IS” show, making an interesting dialectic development of the vocabulary and concept of his art.
Hong Hao’s works has been collected by the Museum of Modern Art, British Museum, New York, Boston Museum Of Fine Arts, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Art, etc. His latest exhibition is the group show “The Global Contemporary: Art Worlds after 1989” at ZKM (Museum of Contemporary Art) at Karlsruhe, Germany.
Date: 26 November 2011 – 26 February 2012
Venue: Beijing Commune