Tang Contemporary Art is proud to open “The Views: New Works by Chen Shaoxiong” on October 29, 2016. The exhibition presents nearly a dozen works from Chen Shaoxiong’s Collective Memory series, an extension of a previous public art project in which he invited ordinary viewers to paint scenes of famous museum buildings from around the world using red seal paste. In addition, the exhibition will also include a large installation entitled The
Views. This is the first presentation of the piece in Beijing, since its debut at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai.
“Collective Memory is a series of photographs that is comprised of pixels of various sizes. I invited residents with collective memories to collaborate on the series. The participants’ fingerprints completed the image, replacing the developing chemicals. This lies somewhere between the techniques of the darkroom and the painting studio. It is a collective recollection of a living environment shared in common.”(Chen Shaoxiong: Collective Memory Statement)
For this new exhibition, Chen Shaoxiong has chosen scenes of public cultural institutions in large cities all over the world. Institutions such as the Louvre, the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Tate are expressive and evocative buildings. They have become important sites in the cultural lives of these cities, and their elitist beginnings have been re-defined as “views” or landmarks owned by the wider public. Chen invited students and ordinary people to participate, replicating these architectural landscapes with fingerprints on canvas. The entire process combines photography, digital manipulation, and painting. This art experiment focused on public participation has been the core of Chen’s recent work. “It represents democratization of image culture and intellectual production.” (Hou Hanru).
The Views is a large-scale installation that Chen created in 2016, presenting familiar landscapes in our everyday lives on four curved screens. Chen cuts the time and space of a long journey into fragments, unchanged despite the world’s continued movement. Tiny fragments of time—magpies perched in trees, people pushing bicycles over railroad tracks, lotus ponds in winter, and strolling dogs—have escaped their original fates; they have been eternally sealed like an insect in amber, a memory cherished by the artist. As the viewer watches, examines, and gazes upon the work, this internal freedom triggers multiple perceptions, linking to even more memories.