Capsule Shanghai is pleased to present “In Between” at Art Basel Hong Kong, a group project featuring paintings, works on paper and sculptures by artists Cai Zebin, Gao Yuan, Liao Wen and Douglas Rieger. The show leads an inquiry into the existence of bodies, or absence of, in revealing traces of human gestures that form our morphing and shifting identities in the fluid relationship between internal and external being. It strings together in-between spaces of dreamlike auras and emerging figures wandering in an acute process of questioning the self and thus revealing self. There is empowerment in the vulnerable state of settling in one’s gaze and body; a sinking into and embracing of one’s fluctuating identity in an act of self-discovery.
Rooted in the lineage of surrealism, Cai Zebin’s paintings delves into art history’s time-honored subjects and motifs – from Henri Rousseau’s flute-playing snake charmer (The Snake Charmer, 1907) and distorted burning candles, to The Meeting at 2bis, rue Perrel (1946) by Victor Brauner – in illustrating Cai’s first-hand experience of being a painter. All artworks are self-referential by nature for they are the manifestation of the artist’s thinking, feeling and doing. On the other hand, the figures in the form of palettes and easels, a signature feature in Cai’s recent paintings over the past several years, are indications of the painter’s appearance in his own work. The paintings not only can be seen as self-portraits; they are dialogues between the contemporary painter and his great predecessors across time and space.
Gao Yuan draws inspirations and motifs from her personal experiences that begin in reality but manifest in transient dreams. The images continue to serve as backdrops for Gao Yuan’s ambitious project in-progress, a feature length film. The permanence of light glows from within the painted surface against the fleeting moment depicted within the picture frame. The works follow the eyes of a wanderer peering into the vast world, caught in an atmospheric gaze of lucid dreams against the backdrop of a tangible reality and decrepit couches.
Bodily suggestive carved wooden forms pressed into vinyl wrapped upholstery, the anthropomorphic ‘soft reliefs’ by Douglas Rieger juxtapose industrial and domestic materials such as upholstery foam, towels, show laces and rubber bands. The polished surfaces evoke bits of physical intimacy through the hands of a sculptor toying with form, dimension, and elegant figuration channeled into the abstract. Each work is a short visual poem about a personal feeling or relationship, imagined or real, in memory of a fleeting moment in everyday life – from a locker room scene or a cigarette break to promises from friends and strangers. Like writing can be for some poets, these works are termed ‘soft reliefs’ because – besides it being a forthright observation of the physical qualities of the works – they are a remedy of emotional pressure for their maker, and evoke an easement of tension from the viewers.
Liao Wen reanimates ancient tales to create alluring forms split between day and night beginning with an ancient Egyptian spice, cyphi, lit in dedication of the night, and soma, a yellow ritual drink found in the Indian text Rig Veda to welcome the sun’s rays. The familiar forms are imbued with expansive spaces where an eye reflects the moonlight and raindrops disintegrate in calmness within a universe. The subjects appear to float forever in a dream-like state and complicate the feverish experience of reality as mementos of the contemporary relevance of rituals.
Each of the artists illustrate the nuances of one’s identity and in-between spaces of self within internal and external worlds. Collectively, the work transverses the many lines that exist between them to posit self as an ever-shifting self-awareness to explore.
Capsule Shanghai is also pleased to participate in the film screening “The Wildest Thing” with artist Alice Wang’s video Pyramids and Parabolas II (2021).
Time: Saturday, May 28, 2022, 3:45 - 5 pm
Address: Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Click here to RSVP.