of recent exhibitions, including the Focus: China
section at The Armory Show, “Ink Art
” at The
Met, and ’s
traveling survey “According to What?
present than ever. Looking at prime works from these exhibitions—like ’s
heavily impastoed “Under
Heaven” paintings, glossy “scholar’s rock” sculptures by
, and Ai’s subversive installations—“simple”
is one word that doesn’t come to mind. At Chelsea’s Klein Sun Gallery
, six contemporary Chinese
artists upend conceptions of simplicity and contemporary China, in a new group
exhibition, “simple life is interesting!
and human changes are quickly accelerating in contemporary China,” explains the
show’s curator, Janet Fong. “The more one is engaged in the mundane, the more
complex one’s mindset becomes.” Inspired by the mythologized “simple
life,” the artists present artworks—from painting and sculpture to audio
installations—that draw upon everyday life to emphasize its inherent complexities.
Fong furthers, “This exhibition sets out to free the American audience from
their preconceived ideas of life in China—it presents simple life as an entry
point and a different perspective through which they may experience China as
depicted by these six young Chinese artists.”
paintings by the artist group
seamlessly embody the
exhibition’s message; featuring swatches of wallpaper and floor tile patterns
the works are violently and simply disrupted by red paint resembling blood.
Less flagrant is ’s
vinyl installation, Hong
Kong 2011.11.8 - 2011.11.14
, which is the result of seven days in which the
artist penned scenes from everyday life and explored creative impulses. While
the work is visually simple—a line of words that form two large rectangles on the gallery walls—the artist’s musings are not easily seen or read,
signalling that even the most straightforward expressions of quotidian life
require close inspection in order to be comprehended.
view are ’s Mountains Rocks
—jagged rocks covered with thick
white slabs of acrylic paint and miniature trees—small-scale mountain scenes
. The result of simple materials, these miniature scenes
display havoc and isolation in their haphazard assembly and scattered
arrangement on the gallery floor. Nearby is ’s Buying Everything on
, a floor installation that lays out all of the clothing and possessions
that an individual had on his person; this work effectively describes
a person through their basic belongings, which even though they are few and
fundamental in this case, together appear as a complex and intricate presentation
of a life.
life is interesting!” is on view at Klein Sun Gallery, New York, Mar. 27–May