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When an image tends to be produced in an increasingly easy way, is there any other possibility of reproducing an image? On October 16, 2016, “In-between Objects and Shadow: Jiang Ji’an Solo Exhibition” was unveiled at Asia Art Center in Beijing. This exhibition is centered around three series which are Two Room Flat, Silk and Tea series. With this exhibition, artist Jiang Ji’an starts with a “ready-made painting” to focus on the issue of the “reproduction” of a painting.

Xie He put forward six methods of painting in “Painting Appreciation”, which constituted one of the most important theories in the history of Chinese paintings, “describing objects as they are” is the third method, which aims to present a modeling concept: through the observation of the object, an artist depicts and reflects the state of the object. The theme of this exhibition comes from this, but it’s quite different. As the curator Bao Dong explained: this exhibition emphasizes on how Jiang Ji’an reflects the object and the reproduction, the relationship between “object” and “shadow”—“object” is not the basis of “shadow”, and “shadow” is not a substitute for the “object”, people think that they’ve seen reality but they just come across the shadow—we could correspond with the object but we could just encounter shadow.

In this series of installation which Jiang Ji’an created between 2007 and 2009 entitled Two Room Flat, he uses a dark sketch to paint the light and shadow method covers the two-room space and all the items, reproducing the visual illusion of painting while assimilating “reality”, the intentional confusion of the relationship between light and shadow repeatedly makes the viewer doubt this reproduced “reality”.

“Different from traditional image painting, either tea or silk, my work retains the physical properties of these ready-made products, which have taste and sense,” stated by Jiang Ji’an, the existence of painting cannot be replaced by images. Silk and Tea series are a direct interpretation of the concept of a “ready-made painting” by Jiang Ji’an, which then brings us into a relationship of mutual reciprocity with the media, image and object. The artist grinds the boiled tea or burned silk into pigments, and he brings these resulting elements back onto silk and the remaining residue is also made to hang on the edge of the corresponding abrasive tool. Here, tea is still tea and silk comes from silk, the homologous material is substituted for another form, like dust returns to dust, the reincarnation of the earth.

The art of Jiang Ji’an can be summarized as a representation of the the reproduction system itself, and the way of reproduction is reproduced as the content. From the beginning of the 1990s, his artistic practice has been extended to the present, but at every stage the problem of “reproduction” can be realized in a special example, which generates the thinking dimension into the visual experience. Therefore, his art is a sensory introspection and self-reference, in which “reality” can be understood as an established order, and thus only “reality” can be treated as art to be determined. “This is not a new ink and wash painting, not a new gongbi, this is contemporary, that is painting,” commented by Bao Dong.

The exhibition will remain on view till December 4th.

Text by Lin Jiabin, translated and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo by Hu Sichen/CAFA ART INFO

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