ShanghART is pleased to announce participation in Art Basel 2022 with a duo solo exhibition by Zhu Jia and Han Mengyun, presenting a series of paintings from multiple perspectives that reflect the concerns of rising global issues and resonate with personal and historical memory. “Double Landscape”, Zhu Jia’s special curated solo exhibition with a selection of video, photography and paintings, will also appear on shanghartgallery.com and Art Basel’s Online Viewing Room.
As one of the early pioneer figures of video art in 1990s China, Zhu Jia captures the daily activities through his subjective lens to reflect the corresponding landscape of social, cultural and ideological reality. The consistent concept of “the perpetual presence” between the past and future has been discussed and performed in his moving images. The motif is deepened and transformed into a distinct form of painting while he relocated to London in recent years. With the background of Soviet-style oil painting practice he gained in China, he incorporates the method of detailed image narrative to unfold the overlapping realm of real and fictional reality of his daily social scenes and hidden family history. His self-portrait emerges and fades in the latest two series of “Daily social encounters” and “Old Houses” but intentionally distances away from the centre of the depicted ongoing events. The former illustrates Zhu’s social interactions in gardens or by the dinning table with his friends and family in London. In contrast, the latter reveals the dreamlike fragments of his mother’s images, the layout of his childhood home and old fashioned antique furniture. He ultimately approaches to collage the images from his reality and thoughts that determines the certain and obscure intermediate state conveyed in the works.
Zhu Jia, born in 1963, Beijing. Graduated from China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1988. He lives and works in U.K. now. Selected exhibitions include Zhu Jia solo exhibition: Faraway Friends, Modern Art Base, Shanghai(2020); Art and Chine after 1989: Theater of the world, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, U.S.A. (2017); Scarcity& Supply, The 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival, Baijia Lake Art Museum, Nanjing (2016); Zhu Jia solo exhibition: Critical Pervasion, Shanghart Gallery & H Space, Shanghai (2015); Mobile M+: Moving Images, Hong Kong (2015); Out of the Box, The Threshold of Video Art in China (1984-1998), Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou(2011); Trans Local Motion—7th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Musuem, Shanghai (2008)etc.
Han Mengyun, born in Wuhan in 1989, is an artist currently based in London. Han’s work presents a high degree of integration of multiculturalism, literature and philosophy, reflecting a critical observation and understanding of the reality of contemporary society. Trained as a painter both in China and the US, Han balances the opacity and painterliness of the Western aesthetic tradition with the spirituality and mysticism rooted in Eastern philosophies. After delving into various ancient religions and arts, her work draws inspiration from Buddhist scriptures, classical poetry and literature, Indian and Persian manuscript painting, as well as Chinese and Japanese woodblock printed books. The diverse materiality of her work is manifested by her combination of various artistic traditions and crafts in her contemporary interdisciplinary art practice that spans from ink on paper, oil on canvas, woodblock printing on textile, to video and architectural installations.
Inspired by Hermann Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game”, Han Mengyun’s presentation at Art Basel weaves a visual contemplation on the conflicts of the intensified global crisis through a sequence of paintings echoing the complexity and mystery of literature and poetry. Incorporating the Indian woodblock-printing method she learned in Jaipur, the latest triptych Purity and Danger, refers to anthropologist Mary Douglas’s eponymous book on the categorisation of purity and dirt, safety and danger, border and control in various social contexts. Jewels of Impermanence I and II represent the artist’s attempt to bring Dutch Vanitas and Japanese Buddhist Kusozu’s paintings together as she meditates on their common universal idea of the transience of life and the futility of pleasure. While the pearls depicted in A Broken Verse II and several other paintings symbolise the crystallised human wit, a visual metaphor for poetry shared by all world literatures, the broken string implies Han’s critique of the interrupted lineage of knowledge. The derailed cosmic order found in Mandala of Insanity and the apocalyptic landscape inhabiting dead birds under a glaring sun in Whose Glory? reveal her obsession with the ultimate existential questions for humanity. Han Mengyun unearths her individual voice from the intertwined ethnological, religious, historical and contemporary cultural narratives and concerns as she embarks on a new excursion into a cross-cultural and transhistorical dialogue in art beyond borders.
Han Mengyun received her B.A. in Studio Art from Bard College in the US in 2012 and has pursued the study of Sanskrit at various institutions such as Kyoto University before she completed her MFA at the University of Oxford with a research focus on Classical Indology and Indian aesthetic theories in 2018. She has worked at the British Museum and has previously taught at Rutgers University. Recent exhibitions include: “The Pavilion of Three Mirrors”, Ad-Diriyah Biennale: Feeling the Stones, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2021); “The Dwelling place of the Other in Me”, Power Station of Art, Shanghai (2021); “Splinters of Jade”, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu (2019); “In Between Islands”, Today Art Museum, Beijing (2013) etc.
Related Artists: HAN MENGYUN 韩梦云 ZHU JIA 朱加