The exhibition Docile(literal translation “softness”) is inspired by Michel Foucault’s concept of the docile body. According to Foucault, docility is imposed on individuals by various mechanisms: the constantly transforming laws of capitalism, the unspoken social rules of society, the designs of urban architecture, the structures of educational systems, the false dichotomy of gender binarism, and so much more. The more one is subjected to these disciplinary powers, the more one is prone to evolve into “Default Man” or what Bill Deresiewicz calls “Excellent Sheep.” However, docility can also refer to the softness of “heart,” which has an innately positive connotation. In a perverted sense, this second version can be applied as a counter-strategy against institutional power, as it is supple, flexible, and inclusive. Like the folk knowledge of Chinese sayings “a needle hidden in silk floss” and “softness subduing sheer strength,” ordinary people often use docility as camouflage to fight Tai Chiagainst realities with their imagination and emotions.
Huiqi He’s video The Mysterious Island (2018) employs metaphors and allegorical narratives to address individual resistance against the disciplinary power in the concrete jungle of urban landscapes. Hu Renyi’s interactive installation Don’t let them do that to you!(2018) invites the viewer to design imaginary national flags and question political representation and symbolism. Appropriating Donald Trump’s presidential speech, Lin Jingjing’s I (2018) eliminates all elements in the transcript except the pronoun “I,” the superfluous self-compliments, and the scattered punctuations to imply an absurd phenomenological relationship between the subject and the world. Rin Peisert’s Performance #J7107904 (2018) arranges actors among the audience to perform impromptu, inconspicuous acts, subtly manipulating the crowd and transforming the gallery into an invisible power field. Pixy Liao’s photography project Experimental Relationship(2007 -) documents her unconventional relationship with her younger partner Moro, subverting traditional gender roles and exploring the alternative possibilities of heterosexual love. Tang Dixin’s surrealist paintings blur the boundaries between consciousness and realities, conveying a sense of tenderness in solitude emblematic of contemporary societies. Wang Tuo’s The Interrogation(2017), a composition of film photography, collages, and offscreen voice, adopts multiple narratives and textual appropriation to reveal extreme precarities under the surface of performative social codes in everyday communication.
Curator / Lux Yuting Bai
About the Artists
Huiqi He studied Traditional Chinese Painting (BFA) at Guangzhou Academy of Arts and Art Practice (MFA) at School of Visual Arts. Her work employs images, performances, installations, texts, and various mediums to explore the operation of disciplinary power in everyday life. She often engages metaphors and allegorical narratives to convey tensions and conflicts between individuals and societies in terms of formation and dissolution of subjectivity. Huiqi He now works and lives in New York.
Hu Renyi lives in New York, USA and Shanghai, CHINA. Since 2008, he has been teaching art at the School of Visual Arts, NYC. His work covers a wide range of mediums, such as sculpture, painting, video and photography, installation, audio art and social projects. Hu’s work always concerns about the multiple relations between artists and entire society under the constant impact of capitalism. No matter what the definition of outer space is, or politics under globalization, all are of Hu’s interests and are topics he wishes to further explore. He believes it is the social function of an artist to be a channel for spreading messages, however, just as a scientist is limited by working under strong control of capitalists in such a politically ruled world, such is the same for the artist. His work including Confession Room, Pandemic, Confession Car, Immortal Palace, Longtang Clan. Among others. Hu has had solo exhibitions and participated in many group exhibitions in the US and China. His work has been shown in Minsheng Art Museum, Chi K11 Art Museum, V-Art Center, Today Art Museum, Changjiang Contemporary Art Museum, Himalaya Museum, Berkshire Museum, and Taft Museum of Art.
Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Pixy Liao is an artist currently resides in Brooklyn.She is a recipient of NYFA Fellowship in photography, En Foco’s New Works Fellowship and LensCulture Exposure Awards, etc,. She has done artist residencies at University of Arts London, Pioneer Works, Light Work, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Center for Photography at Woodstock, and Camera Club of New York. Pixy Liao’s photographs have been exhibited internationally, including He Xiangning Art Museum (China), Museum of Sex (NY), Asia Society (Houston), Flower Gallery (NY), Leo Xu Projects (China), Metro Pictures (NY), First Draft Gallery (Sydney) etc,. Liao holds an MFA in photography from University of Memphis.
Lin Jingjing is a conceptual visual artist whose work deals primarily with social-political themes. She is known for the wide range of approaches in her art, explores the depths of social and identity in the context of modern society, often examining themes such as confusion and quest, existence and absence, constraint and resistance through a lens of paradox. Of particular focus is how individuals define themselves amongst the effects of the outside world,vis-à-vis culture, politics, history and the economy. Her artwork spans performance, installation, painting, mixed media, video, sound, LED lights. The surreal effect created via this method immerses the viewers into another consciousness. Lin Jingjing’s works have been exhibited in major public museums including Neues Kunstforum in Cologne(Germany), the National Art Museum of Chile in Santiago, the Long Museum in Shanghai, the Ivam in Valencia(Spain), the Kunstraum in Vienna, Galeria Herold in Bremen, Saint Mary’s University Art Museum in Halifax(Canada), the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery in Philadelphia, Ljubljana Castle in Slovenia, the Tikanoja Art Museum in Vaasa (Finland), the Nanjing Museum, the Du Land Modern Art Museum (Shanghai) and Song Zhuang Art Museum in Beijing.
Rin Peisert is a live action artist based in Shanghai. She creates interactive works which engage the public in social space. She explores belief systems around power, social, political, and cultural conventions.
Tang Dixin graduated from the Faculty of Painting, Shanghai Normal University, China. Tang’s solo exhibitions include “Mr. Hungry” (2014), AIKE-DELLARCO, Shanghai, China and “Tang Dixin” (2014), Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, Japan. He has also participated in notable group exhibitions such as “Absolute Collection Guideline” (2015), Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing, China, “10th Gwangju Biennale – Burning Down the House” (2014), Gwangju, Korea, “Revel – Celebrating MoCA’s 8 Years in Shanghai” (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China, and “ON | OFF China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice” (2013), Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China.
Wang Tuo employs various mediums and a process that combined interview, reality show and the theatre of absurd to construct a maze of melodrama. Through his performative manipulation on individuals’ lived experiences and intervention in intellectual legacies such as literature, film, theatre and art history, Wang’s practice attempts to examine the unreliable relationship between the contemporary human status, myth and cultural archive. In the self-referential environments that he constructs, dramatic, often humorous as well as absurd aspects of the concept of society are exposed. Wang’s practice also seeks to develop a discourse on how present ideology is derived from its historical context continues to adapt to changing condition. The artist currently lives and works in Beijing. Wang has recent solo shows at Gallery EXIT, Hong Kong, White Space Beijing, Salt Project, Beijing, Taikang Space, Beijing, and recent group shows at Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, Vladivostok, OCAT, Shenzhen, chi K11 Art Space, Shenyang, Queens Museum, New York, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, HVCCA, NY, Residency Unlimited, NY and NARS Foundation, NY. Wang Tuo was an Artist in Residence at the Queens Museum, New York from 2015 to 2017. He is the winner of the Three Shadows Photography Award 2018.
About the Curator
Lux Yuting Bai
Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Lux Yuting Bai is an independent curator and writer based in New York. She studied English Literature (B.A.) at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Curatorial Practice (M.A.) at the School of Visual Arts. Her recent curatorial projects include Huiqi He: The Mysterious Island (2018),Cocoon(2018), Becoming (2018), The Map Is Not the Territory(2017), Transmissions, Transitions(2017),Whereto(2017), and Go Shoot Yourself (2017).
About the exhibition
Curator: Lux Yuting Bai
Dates: Nov 13, 2018 – Dec 13, 2018
Opening: Nov 13, 2018, 18:00
Courtesy of the artists and SNAP.