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LAB 47
2016.05.14 Sat - 2016.06.25 Sat
Opening Exhibition
100010, Dong Si Qi Tiao #30, Dong Cheng District, Beijing(北京市东城区东四七条30号 ,100010)
+86 18601047706 & +86 18920558711
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The Interpreter
[Press Release]

Duration: May 14 – June 25, 2016
Opening: May 14, 15:00
Venue: LAB 47
Address: Dongsi Qitiao 30, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Artist : Huang Jing Yuan
Curator: Geng Han ; Aurélie Martinaud ;

Lab 47 is pleased to present “The Interpreter”, a solo exhibition by Huang Jing Yuan, May 14 – Jun 25, 2016

Artist Statement

There is only one painting in this exhibition “The Interpreter”: it is a full-length portrait of a woman speaker. She is standing upright but the canvas is hung horizontally: she is presented as if in a sleeping posture. Tailor-made to the full size of the exhibition wall, she was painted on unstretched canvas, which is draped naturally from the ceiling to the floor. We are provided a viewing distance of only 1.5 meters, as that is the width of LAB 47, the exhibition venue.

I don’t know the woman I have portrayed; she comes from the ocean of internet images, if not a forgotten stream of it. She is dressed to convey sincerity, in a style commonly used to imitate ethnic minorities: a clumsy and stereotypical exotification. She is equipped with a remote microphone; we could speculate that she is an interpreter for the culture her dress is intended to represent. Her facial expression reflects a moment seemingly between being hypnotized and being indifferent, but this is a photographic moment that anyone could be caught in.

A body and the “accessory” that covers it have been painted by hand and displayed at a larger-than-human scale in front of us. Is this woman speaking? If so, of her voice and body, which more belongs to her? To this question, we can further ask: from an image and a painting, what can be activated separately and what can be activated jointly?

“The Interpreter” is the final installment of the “Civility Trilogy.”


What necessity can the medium of painting fulfill when we face an ocean of images and an increasing range of pictorial formats? How can painting, carrying connotations centuries old, actively generate a criticality that addresses the speed and complexity of social and political life in China? In response to these challenges, Huang Jing Yuan chooses to work with this fascinating knot of image and painting. She trawls on the internet but not just reproduce randomly. In her recent projects, she tracks how the image world (advertising, official imagery, entertainment, tv, film, etc.) is infusing the ways in which ordinary Chinese people picture themselves to themselves and each other. From thousands of these images, she paints a few – with and against their grain as virtual images. Her final output is always centered on maximizing the physical presence of painting, as we can see here in the hallway that Lab 47 has become.

This hand-made painting is based on a virtual image. The virtual image registers a scene that was observed by a digital camera and posted as a digital image resembling a photograph for viewing on a screen. In the exhibition, the image is enlarged wildly beyond its usual scale. As a result, memory’s residual presence emerges through the fullness of the surfaces and textures, yet approaching this completeness, paradoxically brings the realization of the impossibility of capturing complete wholeness. When something is both an image and a painting, and at the same time is both more and less than both, what are you seeing?

This question is indeed echoed in the title of the show, “The Interpreter,” as it is not only a questioning of what is being interpreted, who the interpreter is, and to whom the interpretation is offered. But as well, a questioning of how these things are considered through the use of the medium.

Funding Credits
The Interpreter is made possible through financial support from the New Century Art Foundation.