featured image of Boundless Growth – Exhibition of Kang Lei’s Works

Hosted by Today Art Museum, co-organized by the School of Plastic Arts, CAFA, Beijing Fuzhanzhou Culture and Art Development Co., Ltd., and Zhanzhou International Art Zone, the “Boundless Growth – Exhibition of Kang Lei’s Works” was opened in Today Art Museum at 2:00pm on March 6, 2016, The exhibition is curated by Wu Hongliang, Vice President of the Beijing Fine Art Academy and the Director of the Art Museum of Beijing Fine Art Academy. He stresses “Boundless Growth” is an exhibition intended to describe the segments of Kang’s personal thoughts and growth as an artist. The creation of work spans more than a decade, which contains Kang Lei’s feelings on life, world, art and herself. “Boundless Growth” is only the description of the state, a narrative form, and also the vision of Kang Lei. The exhibition will continue to March 21.

The presentation of the exhibition is like a film, a backflash lens, a switch between the close up view and far off view, and a close–up of details of the object and character, crisscrossing, shaking and fusion… But it is not a visual experience making a dream, the exhibition attempts to truly express the state of mind of an artist, the collision between spirit and body, and the process of the growth in the work. Kang Lei does not have a heart realising growing course but she is not short of rich and complex or shocking or subtle feelings, through her sensitive and rational analysis, she conveys a feeling through the implied meaning produced by an object, while the gorgeous, beautiful, tempting, tangled, desired and even fear is included. However, they always keep a distance from the reality, implying the painting is always far from us, seeming to be from another world, with their own dignity, being close but hard to cross it. Therefore, the “Boundless Growth” exhibition will be an experiment of collision between the Kang Lei-type metaphor, the audience’s eyes, and the real space.

It is more noteworthy that Kang Lei specially created two larger scale works for the exhibition, including “Paradise 2016, Longevity”, finished with the use of the ancient tempera technology. When the audience sees the 5.6-meter-long and 2-meter-high new work of tempera, he will feel the fullness of the jungle, interlaced by various plants, to reveal the different characters. In a blue-green block, even red cacti appear. Kang Lei said it is her creation. The red cacti are as beautiful as blood, but people stay a respectful distance from it because of its thorns. The color from the heart is agitated and fused with the plants of nature, to create a second-hand reality, and it is the distant beauty between reality and art that passes between the truth and lies, fiction and fact. Preferring beauty as the nature of humans and creation of beauty is the pursuit of the artist, while it is more valuable to face up to the shadow beside the beauty, directly facing the inner fear. Such an attitude also creates the manifestation of the willful and internal force of the images and colors of Kang Lei’s works.

In another of her newly created painting “Paradise 2016, Stabbing Pain”, we can see the symptom of her trying to break through: Different from her conventional heavy and complicated composition, this painting takes a pure white canvas color as the background of the work, intending to draw lessons from the spatial arrangement approach that reckons that a blank page as inked in the traditional Chinese painting. There are obvious stroke traces in the cactus foliage, it uses the technique of writing to germinate the thorns of leaves, it can also see the tendrils curled up in the details of the painting, which obviously learns from the processing technique of vines in the traditional freehand flower-and-bird paintings, it is a typical manner that introduces calligraphy to painting. It is impossible for a simple painting to explain what the artist has experienced as a qualitative leap in her creation, and it doesn’t mean that she has found a way, but the work presents the constant “pervasive” creative state of the artist at least.

The exhibition will be the one helping more people understand the inner desire and creative state of the artist. Artist Kang Lei who hopes to be “boundless growing” refuses solidifying herself, and seeks a breakthrough. She seriously treats the surrounding and inner world, seriously infusing curiosity into her daily creations. Therefore, reading Kang Lei’s work, the audience can feel that her painted sunflowers, beautiful girls, an instant on the stage are not as relaxed as the wind skinning over flowers and plants, not as graceful as a young girl’s brows. She respectfully observes, analyzes, describes, borrowing these objects, to express the problem that she tries to talk about. She even brought the ancient western technique of tempera to her contemporary art, to demonstrate the value of time in the process of painting a thin color with a complicate skill. So that, “Boundless Growth” is an exhibition that reflects Kang Lei developing her artistic boundaries, a dialogue in the infiltration, a nuanced description growing up in the germinal.

Courtesy of the artist and Today Art Museum, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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