Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts

When 31 Dec 1969

Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts: Yun-Fei Ji

James Cohan Gallery
533 West 26th Street New York NY 10001
Tel. 212.714.9500
February 19 – March 27, 2010

Press Release:
Yun-Fei Ji was born and raised in China during the Cultural Revolution. Separated from his parents at the age of two, Ji grew up on a collective farm outside Hangzhou where, in the absence of TV and radio, he was kept entertained by his grandmother’s telling of ghost stories and folk tales. At the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, Ji studied traditional painting techniques with mineral pigments on mulberry paper in the style of Song Dynasty landscape painting. After relocating to the United States in 1986 on a fellowship from Fulbright College at the University of Arkansas, Ji found his voice as an artist who reinvents the system of symbolic structures found in classical Chinese painting to expose the dark side of industrial development on contemporary life. As Ji states, “I use landscape painting to explore the utopian dreams of Chinese history, from past collectivization to new consumerism.”

In this new body of work, Ji continues to make reference to the historical in order to connect with the contemporary. Ji revisits the treasure chest of folk legends he grew up with while also exploring classical texts such as Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio, a collection of ghost stories by the 18th century author Pu Songling. Ji’s paintings, populated by fantastical creatures, animal spirits and monstrous ghosts, take their inspiration from these tall tales to offer a critique on the fallibility and corruption of Chinese leaders as their subtext. Like in the ancient stories, Ji’s ghosts are stand-ins, free to express themselves in ways not allowed to people living under tightly controlled social and political hierarchies.

For more, please visit James Cohan Gallery  http://www.jamescohan.com