For the 2021 edition of ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair, de Sarthe is pleased to present works by Lin Jingjing (b.1970), Mak2 (b.1989), and Zhong Wei (b.1987).
Lin Jingjing’s series Utopian Reality (2021) consists of acrylic, print, and silk thread on canvas works. Drawing inspiration from the recent discussions surrounding extraterrestrial phenomena in the US, Lin’s new series depicts giant spaceships invading familiar cityscapes. The composition of each work is partitioned by bold, black lines, as if the viewer is looking into the distance through a window. Contrary to the historically negative connotations of “alien invasion”, Lin’s vivid use of color and contrast within each artwork carries overtones of hope and optimism. Vaguely recalling religious imagery, vibrant arrays of light radiate from the entities above, searching for life on the ground. As humanity is whisked away into the unknown, Lin Jingjing’s Utopian Reality suggests that perhaps it is to a better place.
Mak2’s iconic Home Sweet Home (2019-) series are triptychs on canvas composed using the life simulation video game "The Sims". Each panel of an artwork in this series is painted by a separate painter found on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao. "The Sims" is often used as a form of escapism due to its ability to circumvent reality. Taking this to her advantage, Mak2 builds dream-like home environments using bizarre and nonsensical elements through its simulated gameplay. However, as the virtual imagery is materialized through the hands of three strangers, the outcomes become unpredictable due to interpretive inconsistencies, different skill levels, and varied materials. The series not only elucidates the inevitable disparity between fantasy and reality but also comments on authorship, "copy-cat" culture, and the complex narratives that construct her understanding of home.
A continuation of her ongoing series, Home Sweet Home: Feng Shui Painting (2021) is a sub-series of triptychs on canvas. The added element of Fengshui explores the idealization of home through the lens of superstition. By allowing a Fengshui master to intervene in a place as intimate as home, the artist implies the notion of belief over one’s liking. The use of superstition in the paintings speaks to the influence of faith over perception. The series also contemplates the correlation between value and belief under the context of Chinese Fengshui in the prevailing digital era.
Zhong Wei’s canvas works are windows into contemporary culture’s most dominating technological accomplishment: the Internet. Sourcing his imagery from the dynamic and vivid visual language of Internet culture, Zhong Wei digitally collages select elements into complexly layered compositions before transferring his creations onto canvas is acrylic, archival pigment print, and/or silkscreen. The printed background images in Floatation (2019) and Cover 20201124 (2020) are composed of Internet screenshots, capturing the digital life of those unable to withdraw themselves. The overall messiness of the works symbolizes contemporary society's acceptance of fragmented information, which is causing our lack of focus in real life. His artworks speak to the vibrant chaos of Internet-based visual language.
Zhong Wei has compiled a massive database of memes for his practice. The inspiration of Correlation (2019) and Floatation (2019) came from WeChat stickers. His work explores how social media changes the way people experience the world. Whether on WeChat or Instagram, memes have become a new and dominant form of language. Now the Internet has turned the spread of memes into a highly visible practice, and the term has become an indispensable part of the netizen vernacular.