Chinese Contemporary Gallery, New York, is pleased to present an exhibition of mixed-media works on canvas by Xue Song. The artist's Solo Exhibition will be exhibited from 24 May – 28 June 2008.
Xue Song's works are collages of torn pieces of paper, some with their edges burnt, others not, some completely burnt to black ash, all very carefully selected and placed in each composition. In the early 1990s Xue Song's studio burned down, destroying not only all his works but most of his other possessions as well. In a cathartic process he took the ashes of his old works and the half destroyed remains of other objects and used them to create collages. Ironic though it may seem, he has described this moment as exciting and defining since this is when he realized the power and possibilities of expression that collage gave him.
Xue Song carefully chooses the material of his collages from old and new newspapers, magazines and books. He uses both images and text, western and Chinese, selecting the fragments depending on the subject of his work. The structure of his works is always the same. There is a main figure or group of figures made up of one type of collage and this is surrounded by another type of collage. The main figure may be a recognizable figure from the recent past or present: a political figure, an image made famous through the press, a culturally charged icon, a commercial product etc. or it may be calligraphic. In every case, the fragments of paper used for the collage are never a haphazard selection. The artist chooses each one to correspond to the juxtaposition he wishes to present.
Each fragment of the collage carries in itself a message and the fact that each fragment is restricted to one image or piece of text highlights its message and concentrates the viewer's attention. The burning of the edges of the fragments adds the aura of history as though segments of information have been found among destruction and pieced together in an attempt to recreate a reality. At the same time each fragment contributes to the interpretation of the work as a whole through its relationship to the main figure. The figure and the collage may be of the same subject and therefore reinforce each other or they may come from different realms and together create a new interpretation. The mood of his works covers a great range. It can be lighthearted, joyous, incredulous, ironic, mocking, matter of fact, severe, even grim, but it is always witty and incisive.
Xue Song is one of the most important artists of the Chinese avant garde. Born in 1965 in Anhui province and now living in Shanghai, he had his first exhibition in 1992 at the British Embassy in Beijing. He decided to dedicate himself full time to his art during the early 1990s when very few people were taking an interest in contemporary Chinese art and times were definitely hard. Now Xue Song has taken part in exhibitions the world over and is in major private and public collections.