13 Installation view of the exhibition

On the afternoon of July 26, 2014, hosted by Today Art Museum, in collaboration with Hive Center for Contemporary Art, “Ghosts in the Mirror – Song Ling 1985-2013” opened at the Today Art museum, and Xia Jifeng served as the curator, featuring the contemporary art creation of ink language by Song Ling, one of the representative artists in the ’85 New Wave art movement. The exhibition is Song Ling’s first retrospective in China, after spending nearly two years in the planning of the exhibition, it presents more than 200 works created during various periods by the artist and also a lot of documentation, the timeline spans more than 30 years, systematically, comprehensively and fully reconstructing the creation and the “history” of work by Song Ling. The exhibition is not only an important retrospective of Song Ling but also an individual case study of an artistic pioneer in the ’85 New Wave art movement, which shows the unique features of an individual artist, combing through the early development of Chinese contemporary art.

Exhibition curator Xia Jifeng, critic Li Xianting and Gao Peng, Director of Today Art Museum and the artist Song Ling attended the press conference of the exhibition and the opening ceremony. Li Xianting looked back at the artistic communication with Song Ling during the 85 movement, and he believes that Song’s art reflected the peculiarity of ‘85 New Wave, while the large retrospective was held to evoke people’s memories of Song Ling and the New Wave art movement. Xia Jifeng introduced the process of the planning the exhibition, the exhibition basically showcased the creation of ink painting which Song Ling has been sticking to, combining the collection with a lot of documentation, through the exhibition to reconstruct the scenes in which Chinese contemporary art occurred.

Born in Hangzhou in 1961, Song Ling was admitted to the Department of Painting, Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1980, Song Ling said on site, although he was a student of traditional Chinese Gong-bi Figure Painting, he was extremely interested in Western contemporary art during the extracurricular time, so that he didn’t inherit the creative ideas of traditional Chinese painting, but was interested in surrealism and pop art, but Song Ling also said that the studying experience of traditional Chinese painting affected his creation, such as using a technique in ink rendering. In 1985, his “Human · Pipeline” series participated in “’85 New Space”, one of the most important exhibitions of “’85 New Wave Art Movement”, the series used the technique of surrealism, revealed the conflict of human nature in the era of industrialization. He, together with Zhang Peili, Geng Jianyi and so on founded the “Chi Club”, which had a great response at the time, and at the same time, his creation entered a prime time, continuously creating “The Meaningless Choice?” series of paintings. In 1987, “’85 New Wave Art Movement” was close to the end, Song Ling emigrated to Australia, and continued his previous artistic style, while trying other creative methods such as mixed collage, acrylic on canvas, etc.

The title of the exhibition is “Ghosts in the Mirror” which actually derives from the biography of Alain Robbe-Grillet. The exhibition takes it as the title to reconstruct and review the creative self form.

The exhibition exhibits Song Ling’s early work “Human · Pipeline”, in these works of ink painting, the images of workers and pipelines are interlaced in the form of surrealistic schema, namely people are pipelines, pipelines are people, people are both the maker and a part of the system, the screens reveal the distorted situation of people in contemporary society. Some walls are covered by “The Meaningless Choice?” series, which are like pieces of portraits of animals, and they are livestock such as cows, pigs, sheep and so on, instead of large animals, Song Ling said, these gentle animals referred to modern people, revealing the plight in which contemporary people were controlled, in the later several groups of works, some showcase sharp teeth to indicate the awakening of a rebellious consciousness. In this series, Song Ling absorbed and combined the form of photography and the related characteristics of language, continuously reproducing the same object, and this method would be a reminder of Benjamin’s criticism on the times of mechanical reproduction and their artworks. It also exhibits the acrylic paintings “Interference” series, creation of mixed collage “The Disease Is Not Curable” and “China-Made Goods” series, to showcase the artist’s exploration of other mediums, in addition to ink painting.

The exhibition displays a lot of documentary materials that are in a bright spot, so that people can linearly understand Chinese contemporary art. The exhibition will continue to August 11.

Text and photo by Zhang Wenzhi/CAFA ART INFO

Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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