Jiali Gallery presents Smog by Night David Ancelin Solo exhibition

By Julien Blanpied

With “Smog By Night”, Jiali Gallery presents the work of the young French artist David Ancelin for the first time in China. From one Bay of Angels to another, the graduate artist from Villa Arson (Nice, 2005) continues his work on the fabrication of image through two complementary series: Smog and By Night.

The term smog is the condensation of two terms – smoke and fog. It designates the pollution resulting from the condensation of fog and smoke, which engulfs large industrial cities for more or less extended periods of time. This type of fog is the consequence of a very high rate of pollution. Smog produces shaded landscapes that fade into infinite nuances of grey. It uncovers a disturbing and sinister atmosphere in the real sense of the word.

In his large screen prints on stainless steel plates, David Ancelin manually polishes the surface to give an effect of smog to the coarse, industrial designs. Thus composing the background, he incorporates a motif chosen from one of his many photographs, which reanimates and redefines the entire space of the ‘painting’. As the sole object in the representation, this motif resists the blurring of the image.

The motifs used may be a plane cutting diagonally through the sky with its long tail of white smoke, a naiad puffing on her cigarette, a half-naked woman seen from behind, a boat crossing the inox screen from right to left and redrawing the horizon (Across the Universe), or a Ghost Ship and its astounding reflection. The representations found in David Ancelin’s work are wholly motivated by the notion of floating, and even the interior frames give the impression that the flat surface is detached from the wall. The artist is forever mindful that the viewer, transformed into a voyeur, should become a collaborator by means of his own reflection on the steel plate, scrutinising the entire scene presented before him. Each motif extracted from these photographs of paradise proposes its own elaboration on the theme of smog.


David Ancelin’s second series, By Night, reflects on the work of remembrance and the reconstruction of the image. Between festivities, nights of intoxication and intoxications of the night, the artist composes his repertoire. A neon light flickers, a lamp illuminates the platform of an austere station or hangar, and the wandering thoughts of the solitary walker engulf the scene.

Small paintings on paper are transformed from night-time photographs, which are often poorly framed and frequently blurred. Through drawing and painting, David Ancelin dilutes the pixels in the pigment and so imitates photography. The hyperrealist paintings rework the composition and lighting effects taken from the cinema. The scenes depicted comprise dimly lit landscapes or a gleam of light, leaving one to imagine the barely perceptible contours of the surrounding architecture. The formats resemble what could be called amateur photography (10/15). They are the visual memories captured by a machine and retouched by man, falsified to some extent. David Ancelin attempts a rescue. A last desolate street corner, where the man always shines, but only in his absence.

About the exhibition

Dates: Sep 14 – Nov 19, 2013

Venue: Jiali Gallery

Opening Hours: Thur-Sat 14:00-18:00

Tel: 010-84025613

Add: 4 Beijixiang hutong, Dongcheng, Beijing

Courtesy of the artist and Jiali Gallery, for further information please visit www.jialigallery.com.

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