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ShanghART on the West Bund,香格纳西岸
2018.07.07 Sat - 2018.08.26 Sun
Opening Exhibition
香格纳西岸,上海市徐汇区龙腾大道2555-10号楼 Bldg. 10, No.2555 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200232, China
+86 21 6359 3923 / +86 21 5424 9033
Opening Hours
Tue.- Sun. 11am - 6pm (Mon. Closed)
Lorenz Helbling

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ShanghART hosting Sadie Coles HQ, CONDO Shanghai
[Press Release]

(June 26th, 2018, Shanghai) For the first edition of CONDO Shanghai, Sadie Coles HQ isdelighted to present an exhibition in partnership with ShanghART Gallery. This features worksby two artists from each gallery: Uri Aran and Ryan Sullivan, both based in New York, arefeatured alongside the Shanghai artists Geng Jianyi and Birdhead. Spanning a diverse rangeof media – including painting, photography and installation – the exhibition showcases fourdistinct practices, each reflective of a particular voice and context. At the same time, it pointstowards shared sensibilities – in particular, an impulse towards reconciling disjunctive elements(whether images, colours or gestures) into tentative, ambiguous wholes.

Built up in multiple layers, Ryan Sullivan’s large-scale paintings reflect his dynamicand constantly-evolving mode of abstraction, with each painting standing as aphysical record of its own creation – both embodying and describing material flowsand physical processes. Sullivan’s latest body of work, made using silicon-rubbermoulds, are produced ‘in reverse’: Sullivan adds layers of paint to the open-facedmould, allowing its particular shape or contours to affect the pooling and movement ofcolour. Each painting thereby develops as an image and an object concurrently,becoming increasingly invisible and unforeseeable as Sullivan fills the cavity withpaint. Pigment takes on the function of a molten sculptural medium. The evolution ofthe painted image (formulated out of drips, strokes and other gestures) issimultaneous with – and inseparable from – that of the physical stuff of the artwork.


In a sequence of wall pieces from 2016, Uri Aran (b. 1977) integrates drawing,sculpture, collage, text and printing to create a fluid system of disconnected yet deftlylayered signifiers. Each work harbours an intricate arrangement of signs andsymbols, handmade marks and mediated elements – producing an intricate languageor iconography that resists straightforward decipherment. Incorporating various mediaand alternating between printed and inscribed marks, Aran creates amalgams of half-familiar symbols, casual annotations and abstract linear flourishes. He describes hisworks as being founded upon a kind of “flat logic” (belying their seemingarbitrariness). Assembled shapes and textures mass together into a physical ‘landscape’, while the disparate elements also mirror the chains of signifiers and syntactical ‘parcels’ that constitute language.

Geng Jianyi (1962-2017) came to prominence within the People’s Republic of China as a seminal member of the avant-garde movement known as the ’85 New Wave. His work is characterised by its eschewal of any single method of representation or category of meaning. From the mid-1980s, Geng employed a deliberately broad and disparate range of techniques, including various forms of painterly transcription, staining, photographic and filmic transfer, chemical transformation and textual juxtaposition – using incongruous elements to undermine any attempt at a definitive or totalising reading of his work. In a series of works from 2016, the artist projected animated films using domestic torches: the clunky devices sit in jarring contrast with the small projections they cast. Each artwork records the passing of time from a micro-perspective.

The practice of Birdhead (a collaborative duo comprised of Song Tao, b.1979, and Ji Weiyu b.1980) centres dually on the photographic image and the theory of photography. Combining elements of documentary photography, montage, painting and assemblage, the artists imbue photographic imagery with multiple (and often contradictory) moods and meanings- from dispassionate reportage to surrealist erotic fantasies. Much of their work focuses on the architectural and social fabric of Shanghai. The flux and fragmentation of the city are mirrored in the artists’ mode of production, whereby multiple images are brought together into teeming, unresolved assortments: individual images are always fragments or indices of a larger world view. Their latest series Passions Bloom Ambitions focuses on the test strips and waste prints produced in the darkroom. These form the basis of collages in which photography merges with painting.

Traceable throughout the different works in the exhibition is an interest in the shifting relationship between part and whole, or between fragment and totality. Despite their radically different approaches and styles, the artists are united by an impulse to subsume eclectic parts into a larger system, while at the same time resisting the glibness or finality of a ‘complete picture’.