【Art Fairs丨Beijing Contemporary Art Expo 2019】Yuan Keru: "Fleeting Strangers" is now exhibiting in Beijing Art Expo 2019

Leo Gallery
Aug 29, 2019 12:50PM

Artist Yuan Keru's "Fleeting Strangers" video installation is exhibiting NOW at "STORY" Booth.

Solo Project of Yuan Keru

The full video project is exhibiting now in Beijing Art Expo 2019

"Fleeting Strangers" in Beijing Art Expo 2019 Yuan Keru, Fleeting strangers, 4-screen video installation, 27min

Dawn and dusk are two circles of time, one is above, the other is under.They trapped in the intersection between the two circles,heading toward the direction that can never escape...

Yuan Keru 袁可如
Fleeting Strangers, 2017
Leo Gallery

Fleeting Strangers virtualizes 4 parallel worlds, and tells 4 soft sci-fi stories that happen at different times each in different ways. The leading characters in these 4 stories represent the Test Item, the Administrators, the Survivor, and the Cyborg respectively. They are gradually infringed, deprived, assimilated in the development of science and the manipulation of the system. They lost their loved ones, freedom and ideals, like beasts sealed in the darkness of the world or on the edge of the universe. Between the dawn and dark of their fleeting lives, they also struggled, trying to break through the cage of class and destiny and search for the barren homeland and self-salvation, nonetheless because of such contradiction, confusion, vulnerability and restraint for their awareness of being unable to act, they ultimately failed to escape the characters they have been set up. This frustration and disillusionment is precisely a self-projection to the cities developing extreme exploitation, the states of lives in constant anxiety and fear, and the fates of numerous ups and downs.

The 4 stories will be projected on 4 screens in the exhibition hall at the same time, and the narrative focus will shift around the 4 screens; as an ensemble composed of 4 different instruments, they consitute a form of montage in the space, generating a viewing experience of watching 4 movies simultaneously. In the end, the 4 stories will span over the breaks of time and dimensions of space, and reconnect according to the complex logic and emotions inside, as revelation and conclusion to each other. Gradually they merge into one complete cycle of the novel, rendering a tragic sense of fatalism.

The 4 Stories

"The Mockingbird under the Lightning"

"They let me drink that cup of orange medicine, and they call it Antidote."

This story is about that in the country S, in order to reduce the expences on prison system, the government launches a plan named Lightning. They invented the aging machine, which shines strong radiation over the prisoner's body so that one grows old quickly in a short time, eventually shorten his duration in prison. A death row prisoner was drawn to be the first test item of the project, and he was called Prisoner Zero.

"Lost in Alpha City"

"When it rains, you hide under a tree, but if the tree is soaked, can you hide under the next one?"

In Alpha City, the bottom of each building is occupied and ruled by the machine Ty, which has strong abilities to maintain the intense and logical operation of the entire city. Its administrators are elegant, dignified and retro women, coded collectively as Butterflies, and they are trained not to allow mistakes, gaffe, or have any emotion or desire, and they will be checked regularly. If any inappropriate idea is found, the word or phrase will be deleted directly from their brains, so that they will not think of it ever again.

“Maya, Maya”

"I need an aspirin."

Maya wakes up and finds herself in a spacecraft, and she realizes that she has the memories of two persons at the same time, both identities of which are named Maya, one is the ordinary college girl in the past day, the other is the only survivor who managed to escape from the Earth at the future apocalypse by flying the spaceship. These two memories make her feel incredibly painful.

“Angel and Res”

"If you don't know life, how can you know death? It is still unable to create, right?"

The angel Administrator Above is ordered to activate an old machine Res under the Well, and acquire a hidden file from her. Res can control and change the shape of materials through her voice, therefore she is regarded as a devil that has to be sealed under the Well, connected to an electronic device for life. After that, all the plague, war, sin and pain on the planet all pour into her, and she keeps on quelling the flames of rage endlessly in her dreams.


The artwork Fleeting Strangers has two main sources of inspiration: one is the retro Cyborg sci-fi aesthetics from those classic movies, such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Welt am Draht (1973) and Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965), in which the characters and scene are filled with senses of being classical, cold, rigid and ritual; the other is the narrative structure with multiple dimensions, similar to those novels like Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1985) and David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas (2004), which intertwines the past, the present and the future, in order to confuse the virtual with the real, resulting in splits, reconstructions and even mirroring one another, so that the stories become grander, more complex and more fatalistic. The narrative of movies is the focus of Yuan Keru’s creative attention over the years, for which she has maintained a high intensity of watching, reading and writing, with the aim to present the core narrative part of the movie in the exhibition, and the work Fleeting Strangers is an attempt of making such movie with spatial narratives. Re-edit and abstract the 4 soft sci-fi stories she wrote these days, merge their narrative focuses into a main stream, the core of which is to reflect the difficulty of the contradicting identification for post- modern human, and its resulting loss of existence and the blackhole-like loneliness.

About Artist

Artist Yuan

Yuan Keru, Visual artist, filmmaker, born in 1990 in Hangzhou, China, Master of Fine Art from School of Inter Media Art, China Academy of Art in 2016, currently works and lives in Shanghai.

Her artistic creation focuses on exploring the sense of painting, spatial rhythm and narratives of video, combining the on-going events, emotions with history, mythology, dreams and so on. By drafting novels, breaking up the text structure, setting costume scenes and preparing semi-improvised performances and conversations, she endows video with senses of cinema and glamours of drama. Her works always have a strong taste of postmodern mysticism, and the seemingly melancholic, violent and dark themes are often immersed with warmth and poetry. By creating a surreal world of images, she reflects the loss of belonging and spiritual thinking sensatively with sophisticated logics and human energy field.

She has recently completed her debut full-length movie, the Symposium, which was premiered at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing. She was nominated for the Huayu Youth Award of Art Sanya 2014, spoke at Art Basel Hong Kong 2013 for the panel The Diamond Generation moderated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, and later participated in the Film sector at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016, and her work was featured on the cover of the literary magazine Chutzpah!, the 16th issue. Her works have also been exhibited in Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum (M21), Shanghai Ming Contemporary Art Museum (McaM), Today Art Museum, NordArt 2016, Helsingin Juhlaviikot 2015, I SEE International Video Art Festival 2015, Photo Shanghai, Jimei × Arles: East West Encounters International Photo Festival 2015, Get It Louder 2014, The 10th Beijing Independent Film Festival, etc.

Leo Gallery