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DSL Collection: Deconstruction & Reconstruction

Another chapter from the beautiful DSL collection by Sylvain and Dominique Levy.

Deconstruction & Reconstruction / Individual Universe.

The deconstruction of meaning generating structures, such as the Chinese script and language, Chinese traditional culture or the legacy of the Chinese revolution was the main subject of the Chinese avant-garde of the mid-1980s. Once the culture at hand was freed from redundancy it was ready for appropriation and reinterpretation.


"For this painting, I carefully consider the interaction of my materials with the context of its viewing- the space, scale and light of its environment- so that the perceptual experience of the work for the viewer is direct, so that concealed layers emerge from beneath surface appearance, so that perceived form and substance resonate within a felt and invited void, so that the signature characteristics of the ink reveal to our senses the cosmogenic act that is everywhere imminent."


Part of his latest series of large cityscapes, Liu has painted a truly futuristic metropolis. As the title suggests, this work shows a city enveloped in a purple glow, possibly hinting at the pollution that hangs over our cities. Here, Liu has woven an age- old Chinese Tao myth of origins, where the phrase “purple air” was used to describe the energy/life force that opened up the universe. In his expansive panoramas of congested building clusters, one finds gigantic structures resembling space ships: designed ready to launch. Some so enormous that they are cut-off at mid-point – towering into the stratosphere. The shapes of these megalopolises are like supermarket bar codes, suggesting that cities could be scanned like any commercial product. Liu's work begs the questions: where do we come from, where we are now and where we are going.

Liu began working in the three-dimensional around 2006 and Capacity II is one of the best examples of his works during this period. Five oversized pill capsules in a stainless steel casing, variously filled with miniature toys in the form of fighter jets, tanks, astronauts, rockets and female manga figurines. Liu's use of cheap plastic toys (all products of China's low-end manufacturing industry), combined with his characteristic wit and visual playfulness, acts as a critcial commentary on the country's consumerism and insatiable appetite for power.


"A visual Chinese epic poem" - Tang's latest series of large-scaled abstract works has been five years in the making, and pays homage to Hans van Dijk, the renowned Dutch art historian and curator, who had a profound influence on Chinese contemporary artists from the late 1980s and 1990s. It was van Dijk who introduced the concept that art should be ""real"", rather than a mere representation of a reality outside of art itself. 1989631 is a prime example of van Dijk's teachings - built up with repetitive monochrome lines, the work references classical Chinese ink painting, modern abstraction and action painting. The work is a dramatic manifestation of a process."


Qiu's works are typically filled with multiple images layered with different interpretations, forming a bridge between historical events and present-day occurences.

In this series of paintings, every object has an associated meaning, but while playing on these specific associations, Qiu is simultaneously stripping away their intrinsic symbolisms. According to Qiu, "In my mind, coal is raven or raven is butterfly, and butterfly is ink, and ink is coal."

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