Chang Yuchen: Snake and Others | 常羽辰:蛇与其他

When 14 Dec 2013 - 8 Feb 2014
Where Fou Gallery
535 Dean Street, Apartment 507
Brooklyn, NY 11217
United States
Enquiry By appointment only, fougallery@gmail.com
Opening Reception: Saturday, 14 December, 2013, 6-8 pm

New York – Fou Gallery is pleased to present the inaugural exhibition – Chang Yuchen: Snake and Others. Featuring two recent series – Snake and Bonsai, as well as a group of glass engravings Fingerprint inspired by the alternative apartment space of Fou, the exhibition marks Chang Yuchen’s first solo exhibition in the United States. In addition to a comprehensive selection of her recent works: print, pencil on paper and artist book, the artist will present a sound performance at the opening reception, 7:00pm. The exhibition is accompanied by a self-published catalogue designed by Ming Bai, including an essay by Lisa Wainwright, Professor and Dean of Faculty at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a fairy tale about snake by Echo He, co-founder and curator of Fou Gallery.

In Chang Yuchen’s works, the snake is a metaphor, present in a rather abstract and fragmented way. As the artist argues, the image of snake is culturally transparent, because “the knowledge to which the snake seduces, that of good and evil, is nameless.” (Walter Benjamin, On Language as Such and on the Language of Man, 1916) For Chang, the image of snake is a carrier of nuanced textures of pencil drawings and etchings that she started to experiment on since 2012. While working on pencil drawings for the Snake Book (2012), she found the effects created by pencil and eraser could achieve a similar impression of the snake skin. It’s the vestige left over time, the surface worn out by movement and the complicated texture caused by constant abrasion that shared by her drawing and the skin of wild snakes, that later on led her to etching. The process of etching is a long and drown-out process of damaging, physical and chemical, during which the surface of the copper plat becomes a scar-ridden battlefield, and the print end up a record of the scars, a map of body gestures, a history of a quiet but relentless war.

Bonsai is a group of five pencil drawings. Bonsai – artistically formed plants and landscapes in mininature – was originated in China. The creations of carefully pruned plants are small-scale rendition of nature, which evokes not only the contemplation for the viewer, but also the pleasure of the creator. For Chang, the line drawing of bonsai is a task of translation: using one set of vocabulary to replace another. As she says:”The gesture, contour and presentation of the plant are determined by the direction and the density of its natural lines.” The language of art is used to translate the language of plant, therefore mediates the viewer and the object.

The newly commissioned work, Fingerprint, is five engravings on glass based on the fingerprints of the artist’s right hand. In Chinese folk culture, the number of the closed circles and open curves of fingerprints carry the secret of one’s fate. By transferring the undetectable, warm and singular “birthmarks” onto pieces of glass, translucent and cold, the artist makes an attempt for mark making and reassuring. With the wax base, they look like little useless monuments with an indecisive statement, in a very low volume.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

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