Pei Li, greater NEW YORK_peili_4, 2016; Oil on aluminum panel, 50x60cm

Klein Sun Gallery is pleased to announce “Greater New York,” a solo show of multimedia works by Beijing-based artist Pei Li, on view from June 30 through August 19, 2016.

To Pei Li, it matters less who the artist is than who the viewer is. A previous work, “Artist Should be Beautiful,” regurgitates the iconic 1975 Marina Abramovic video piece “Art Must be Beautiful, Artist Must be Beautiful”. Here, Pei Li undergoes jaw reconstruction surgery to realize the oddly appealing ideals of artistic and aesthetic beauty mired in suffering and pain. Another performance piece, “Ms Lonely,” sees the artist poetically recreating Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Irises” in arcs of graffiti across flat boards similar to theater backdrops. The performance is insular and isolated, visible only to those who care or dare to enter the four walls where Pei Li is painting. Those who are busy, or indifferently walking past, miss the performance altogether.

For her first solo show in the United States, Pei Li presents sound installations, video pieces and oil paintings on aluminum. Her sound installations, collectively titled “Long and Short Pavilion,” are muted works. Pei Li recorded acquaintances’ stories on tape, and then placed these recordings within vacuum metal balls filled with silky-black Chinese ink. When the tape plays, the muffled voices reverberate through the layers of metal and ink. Meanwhile, her paintings hint at the title of the show, which is taken from the mammoth MoMA PS1 series. Although Pei Li has expressly stated her dislike of that series, she admits that the title embodies her wider interest in free will. Thus, the paintings render portions of the city’s skylines and landmarks in simple, monochromatic strokes, imbued with Pei Li’s romanticized views of New York.

Two videos are also shown. “The Moles,” screened during the day, reveals Peili’s lapses into depression; she describes her companionship with her therapy dog, Max, who visually narrates the video through a camera attached to his back. The second video takes the form of a televised advertisement, enticing viewers to come visit the show. Pei Li is seen wearing a dog mask – partially due to shyness and partially due to the absurdity of celebrity artists – as she advertises the prices of the artworks on view. Mysteriously, the video only loops at night, lighting up a deserted West 22nd Street. The work overlaps with Pei Li’s own internal wish – to walk alone at night, and to be welcomed by a bright light from an art gallery: a source of solace on a quiet and empty street.

Pei Li has exhibited in group shows at global museums and institutions worldwide, including “The 2nd ‘CAFAM Future’ Exhibition,” Beijing, China (2015); “Future Returns: Contemporary Art from China,” Eli and Edythe Broad Museum Art Museum, Michigan, MI (2014); “Remix,” Bury Art Museum, Manchester, England (2014); “All That is Solid Melts Into Air,” Kabuso Art Museum, Øystese, Norway (2013); “Taikang Gallery 15 Years Collection,” National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China (2011); “Fat Art – Hive,” Today Art Museum, Beijing, China (2011), and “Eye of the Dream: Video Art from China exhibition,” Customs House, Sydney, Australia (2011).

About the exhibition

Date: June 30 – August 19, 2016

Venue: Klein Sun Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Klein Sun Gallery, for further information please visit www.kleinsungallery.com or contact Casey Burry at the gallery (212.255.4388) or via email at casey@kleinsungallery.com.

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