Bringing together new and recent artworks by Kata Legrady (born in Barcs, Hungary; lives and works in Hanover, Budapest and Paris) and Wang Luyan (born, lives and works in Beijing), Doublethink playfully exposes the paradoxes of a world defined by unchecked consumption and an ongoing cycle of vengeance and violence. Having come of age immersed in the powerful propaganda of Communist Hungary and China’s Cultural Revolution, respectively, Legrady and Wang share an aptitude for manipulating iconic forms and an abiding distrust for overreaching ideologies. Taken from George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the exhibition’s title describes a mental maneuver in which contradictions are neutralized through self-deception and willed forgetting.
With her large-scale photographs of flower-encrusted bullets and candy-coated landmines, Kata Legrady links terms usually considered antagonistic: beauty and brutality, childhood games and warfare, conspicuous consumption and mass destruction are just three of the uneasily aligned dyads that emerge through her striking juxtapositions. Pairing the allure of luxury with the tragedy of mass casualties,
Legrady coats what appears to be a bomb—its shape echoing “Little Boy,” the atomic bomb American forces dropped on Hiroshima in 1945—in a glossy pink lacquer inspired by a designer lipstick shade to create Chanel 217 (pink bomb), 2011. In Wang’s paintings, sculptures and installations, warfare never brings the promised stability because there are no victors: every action simultaneously triggers its opposite. Reminiscent of Picabia’s machinist works, Wang’s exacting paintings of wristwatches, such W Global Watch (2011), reflect the inseparability of national forces caught in the checkmate of posturing and reciprocal aggression. Such works demonstrate what Wang calls “gear logic”—interlocking power relations in which the geopolitical maneuvers of one country necessitates the repositioning of all others.
Neither artist condones violence, celebrates guns or seeks to minimize the consequences of living in world made dangerous by the technologies of war. Instead, both Legrady and Wang transform weapons into artistic material in order to reveal the doublethink that perpetuates the bloodshed around us. No good can ever come of Wang’s oversized W Fire at Both Ends Automatic Handgun D13–02 (2013); like all of the firearms in Wang’s works, it has been redesigned to shoot in both directions when the trigger is pulled, assuring mutual destruction. Legrady’s Government Balancoir “Pink Dollar” (2012) is an enormous handgun emblazoned with a US dollar bill and outfitted with a custom-made Hermès saddle, invites us to ride our consumer obsessions toward a fatal end. Doublethink marks the first time that Legrady and Wang are presenting their work to Hong Kong audiences.
Made possible with support from Pékin Fine Arts (Beijing and Hong Kong)
To compliment the Hong Kong Arts Centre exhibition, Wang and Legrady have a concurrent exhibition on view at Pékin Fine Arts (Hong Kong). Exhibition period is 26 Oct to 28 Dec.
About the Artists
Kata Legrady trained as a lyric opera singer at the Pécs Music Conservatory and studied drama at the Gor Nagy Maria Drama School, participating in various musical and film projects before launching her career in the visual arts. Since 2010, she has been making and exhibiting her work throughout Europe and beyond. Legrady has been featured in several group exhibitions, including Le Cabinet de Curiosités de Thomas Erber (Browns, London, 2011 and Andreas Murkudis, Berlin, 2012); Le Luxe, mode d’emploi, (Passage de Retz, Paris, 2012); Hybride 2 (Ancien Hôpital Général, Douai. 2013) and the upcoming Caravana Negra (La Bocca, Buenos Aires, 2013). Recent solo exhibitions include Bombs & Candies and Masks & Guns (Galerie Rabouan Moussion, Paris 2010 and 2011); Kata Legrady (Galerie Pari Nadimi, Toronto, 2011); Kata Legrady (Fondazione Mudima, Milano 2011); Bombs and Candies – dulce et decorum (Denkerei Bazon Brock, Berlin 2012); Bombs and Candies, (Kulturstiftung Marienmünster, 2013). In 2014, her work will be presented in solo exhibitions at ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe) and the Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum (Berlin). To compliment the Hong Kong Arts Centre exhibition, Legrady and Wang have a concurrent exhibition on view at Pékin Fine Arts (Hong Kong).
Wang Luyan has been a key figure in the development of contemporary Chinese art since the late 1970s, when the movement began. He exhibited with the Stars group in Beijing in 1979 and participated in the historic China / Avant-garde exhibition at the National Art Museum of China in 1989. With Chen Shaoping and Gu Dexin, Wang also co-founded the New Measurement Group, an experimental collective active from 1988 to 1995. His work has been included in many important international exhibitions, including the Second Asia Pacific Triennial (Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1996); Inside Out: New Chinese Art (Asia Society and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 1998); the First Guangzhou Triennial (2002); Hyper-Design, the Sixth Shanghai Biennale (2006); ’85 New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2007) and the Busan Biennale (2008 and 2010). Recent solo exhibitions include Sawing or Being Sawed (Arario Beijing, 2007); Wang Luyan: The Other Side of Totality (JoyArt, Beijing, 2008); Wang Luyan (Total Museum, Seoul, Korea, 2010), Wang Luyan (Galerie RX, Paris, 2011) and Diagramming Allegory (Parkview Green, Beijing, 2013). To compliment the Hong Kong Arts Centre exhibition, Wang and Legrady have a concurrent exhibition on view at Pékin Fine Arts (Hong Kong).
About the Curator
David Spalding is an American curator, critic and editor based in Beijing. He has organized solo exhibitions with artists ranging from Mona Hatoum and Feng Mengbo to Navin Rawanchaikul and Lawrence Weiner, as well as numerous group exhibitions and related public programs. Previously, he was curator at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. A prolific writer whose art criticism was honored with an award from the Andy Warhol Foundation | Creative Capital, Spalding’s work appears regularly in exhibition catalogues, monographs and periodicals that include Artforum and Frieze. He has served as a contributing editor for Art Papers, Contemporary and Flash Art International magazines and was the founding editor-in-chief of ARTINFO China. His latest book-length project, King of Kowloon: The Art of Tsang Tsou-choi is forthcoming from Damiani Press (2013). Spalding sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Asia Art Archive (Hong Kong) and is a member of San Francisco Camerawork’s Curatorial Advisory Committee.
About the exhibition
Curated by: David Spalding
Opening reception: 24 October, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Duration: 24 October – 10 November
Venue: Hong Kong Arts Center
Hong Kong Arts Centre
Annie Ho (Marketing and Development Director)
Phone: 2824 5306 / 9481 8706
Courtesy of the artists and Hong Kong Arts Center, for further information please visit www.hkac.org.hk.