Geng Xue by Shen Siyuan. Courtesy of Eli Klein Gallery.
Geng Xue’s best-known work is a stop-motion film featuring porcelain marionette figures, titled Mr. Sea (2014). The piece conjures a sensual, mystical world in which a man falls in love with a woman who turns into a monster. Though static, Geng’s sculptural figures appear to exist in states of perpetual transformation: heads that are seemingly submerged in water grow branches and bones emerge from severed legs.
Deploying the centuries-old traditions of Chinese ceramics, Geng works in a style that she developed through “experience and curiosity in different cultures and a passion for her root tradition,” said Xiaohui Guo, co-curator of the 2019 group exhibition “Beyond Boundaries” at Somerset House, which featured Geng’s work.
The Chinese artist, who is represented by Eli Klein Gallery, will be increasingly familiar to international audiences since being shortlisted in 2017 for her home country’s most important art prize: the Award of Art China. Geng was featured in the 2018 Biennale of Sydney and the 2019 Venice Biennale, where her work is currently on view in the Chinese national pavilion. There, her film The Name of Gold (2019) has captivated audiences with its animated exploration of reincarnation. In it, stick figures made from clay give birth or engage in death rituals. In late 2019, Geng will have a solo exhibition at the Zhuzhong Art Museum in Beijing.