ArtSlant: Be Floored

A Wall on the Wall, A Floor on the Floor: Wang Wei solo show

Magician Space, 798 Art District

13 September – 31 October, 2012

The two pieces by artist Wang Wei currently on show at Magician Space address two aspects of constructed space—the wall and the floor—in one succinct installation. As the title makes clear, the pieces are literally a wall and a floor, but their structure, placement, and relationship to each other, and their existence within the gallery space, mark them out as out of place. This gives a suggestion, backed up by the text for the exhibition, that these pieces are from other places, reproduced here by the artist and working to create a representational power through the elements that they are made up of.

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ArtSlant: Out Is etc.

Tilted Horizon: Lei Benben solo show

Boers-Li Gallery, 1-706 Hou Jie, 798 Art District, No.2 Yuan, Jiuxianqiao Lu, Beijing 100015, China

9 December, 2011 – 13 January, 2012

While the basic theme of Lei Benben’s three works in Tilted Horizon at Boers-Li Gallery may be water, a perhaps more interesting and powerful linking element is their conceptual framework, which sees them setting up interactions with the spaces within and outside of the frame.

These videos, in their various formats, deliberately reach beyond the frame, setting up a strong relation to the space. The familiar strips of beach and sea of Horizon (2011) are at an angle within the projection’s rectangle, dipping into the bottom-left corner, exactly fitting into the rectangular space at one end of the gallery. The sea is and is no longer the sea, departing from its cliché, it becomes a line across the screen, across the wall, while the breakers continue to crash against the sand.

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ArtSlant: Lions and Tigers and Mirrors Oh My!

Propaganda Pavilion – Wang Wei solo show

Boers-Li Gallery, 1-706 Hou Jie, 798 Art District, No.2 Yuan, Jiuxianqiao Lu, Beijing 100015, China

11 August – 11 September, 2011

For what is obviously such a large and weighty intervention, the mirrored surfaces of Wang Wei’s Propaganda Pavilion create an almost insubstantial structure as it cuts diagonally across Boers-Li’s upstairs gallery, disrupting the visitors’ procession and views through the spaces. The Pavilion is a reconstruction of a common form of display structure, with suggestions of Socialist architecture in its original forms. In this case the artist has taken an example from Beijing Zoo, where it holds information panels and imagery related to the animals around it. As presented by the artist however, completely cocooned in mirrored glass, it facets and disrupts, diaphanous in its physicality and difficult to pin down.

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ArtSlant: Narrative Naysaying

Overstep: Shen Yi Elsie & Lei Benben Works Exhibition

Siemens Home Appliance Art Space, Taoci 2nd Street, 798 Art District, 100015 Beijing, China

23 July – 7 August, 2011

In 2010, on a side street behind the main drag of 798, the German appliance company Siemens opened a small art space as part of their mission to “finance young artists’ projects and provide community service around China.” As part of this worthy cause, this month the gallery is hosting Overstep, a show of two young Chinese artists Shen Yi Elsie and Lei Benben, curated by Pi Li (Director of Boers-Li Gallery).

Over the past few years both Shen Yi Elsie and Lei Benben have moved from photographic works to a more expansive approach to media – in Lei’s case into video and for Shen a practice that has developed through video into public interventions. For Pi Li, their work “oversteps” discredited boundaries of objectivity, fragmenting narrative into disjointed personal histories, creating a situation he characterises as “the inversion of time and space, [where] reality starts to drift into illusion and no longer firmly detains us.”

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ArtSlant: Data as Art

Zhan Rui – The Stock Exchange, Weather and Sex

Boers-Li Gallery, 1-706 Hou Jie, 798 Art District, Jiuxianqiao Lu, 100015 Beijing, China

19 May – 19 June, 2011

A few weeks ago I reviewed Breaking Away, Boers-Li Gallery’s abstraction group show here on ArtSlant. I then travelled a few blocks West within 798 Art District to Space Station to cover XYZ, the solo show by one the participants, Xie Molin. And this time I’m returning to Boers-Li, where another participant, Zhan Rui, has his own solo show in their smaller galleries upstairs. Suffice to say, in Beijing at least, abstraction appears to be popular right now.

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ArtSlant: Train of Disruption

XYZ: Xie Molin Solo Exhibition

Space Station, 4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, 798 Art District, Chaoyang District, 100015 Beijing

23 April – 20 June, 2011

A few weeks ago on this site I reviewed Breaking Away, the abstraction group show at Boers-Li Gallery, and got a bit carried away addressing some of the institutional structures in place. This show, and some other shows that are forthcoming, also seemed to hint at a resurgence of abstraction in Beijing this year. My over enthusiasm for the critique meant that I only superficially addressed the artists in the show. One of the artists that I omitted to mention was Xie Molin, whose works in the Boers-Li show had kicked off some thoughts about abstraction itself. Luckily I’ve had a chance to re-acquaint myself with his luscious machine-made paintings in his concurrent solo show at Space Station.

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ArtSlant: Abstraction in Context

Breaking Away – an Abstract Art Exhibition: Chen Yufan, Ding Yi, Gong Jian, Guan Fengdong, Hou Yong, Huang Rui, Jiang Fang, Jiang Zhi, Liang Quan, Liu Wei, Xie Molin, Xu Hongmin, Yan Lei, Yang Liming, Zhang Enli, Zhan Rui, Zhang Wei, Zhong Shan, Zhao Gang

Boers-Li Gallery, I-706 Hou Jie, 798 Art District, No.2 Hou Yuan, Jiuxianqiao Lu, Beijing, China

9 April – 8 May, 2011

The politics of abstraction tread a very fine line. The style can be favored as a rejection of the illusions of representation in favor of a more direct engagement with perception, material and form; or, it can be perceived to be a rescinding of responsibility from making clearly defined statements. Breaking Away, Boers-Li Gallery’s second major group show since decamping to 798, presents approaches to abstraction by Chinese artists, suggesting its continued relevance for them. While presenting a fine selection of works picking up and over the traditions of abstraction, as an unintended consequence Breaking Away also makes problematic the relationship between historical and contemporary work within the gallery context in the current art environment in Beijing.

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