DE SARTHE is pleased to present new works by Lin JingJing, Mak2 and Zhong Wei at Asia NOW from October 20-23 at Monnaie de Paris (Paris Mint), 11 quai de Conti, Paris, France.
An intensifying sense of desperation for escape is prevalent in the accelerated era of globalization. The featured artists presented three different approaches to contemporary escapism, each pandering to viewer’s defence to the external reality. By reconfiguring reality, the artworks reveal a utopian alternate existence that satisfies our infinite desire.
Lin JingJing (Beijing, China, b.1970) will show a new body of mixed media works on canvas from her series titled Utopian Reality. Lin JingJing’s Utopian Reality (2021-) is a series of mixed media diptychs comprised of silk thread, acrylic paint, and archival pigment print on canvas. The near-theatrical artworks depict solitary figures, that contemplate the collective displacement from reality caused by the near-surreal ongoing chain of global events. Integrating narratives of extraterrestrial phenomena into settings of vaguely familiar land and cityscapes, the artist constructs an alternate dimension revealed through a series of large-scale windows. A poetic yet eerie speculation of the prevailing world at large, the exhibition illumines an imagined paradigm in which the boundaries of reality and unreality have seemingly dissipated – a dramatic reflection of the social, political, and technological concussions that currently reverberate around the globe.
Contemplating the 21st century modes of existence, Lin Jingjing introduces extraterrestrial narratives into the picture through forms of U.F.O.s and space capsules – a whimsical play on the invasion of technology in all aspects of life, which is growing far more noticeable in times of turbulence. The artist’s use of highly saturated color and contrast carries conflicting undertones of both optimism and gloom. Vaguely recalling religious imagery, vibrant arrays of light radiate from the vehicles, as if here to sweep humanity into a higher dimension.
Lin JingJing believes that the perpetual development of technology is continuously redefining our pre- existing notions of reality. On one hand, things that once seemed absurdly out of this world and science- fictional, such as semi-automatic drones, recreational space travel, and electronic currency, have now become conversations vernacular to the general populace. On the other hand, as a predecessor in paradigm-shifting science, social technology such as virtual meeting rooms and social media platforms are now fully integrated into reality, arguably to the extent that more living is done online than in real life. Corresponding to the rapid and paradoxical shift in humanity’s perception of reality, Lin Jingjing’s imagery appears dramatic yet strangely pedestrian; phenomenal yet strangely familiar. Introducing her audience to a parallel universe in which fact and fiction cannot be differentiated, the artist illuminates the potential for infinite possibilities in a world without the anchors of reality.
Mak2 (Hong Kong, S.A.R. China, b. 1989) will show new works from her iconic Home Sweet Home. Mak2’s Home Sweet Home (2019-) series are triptychs on canvas, composed using the popular American life simulation game “The Sims”, with each panel of an artwork painted by a different painter found on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao. Mak2 uses "The Sims" as a virtual construction tool for her ideas of both utopia and dystopia in the context of Hong Kong. In the game she creates bizarre environments such as bedrooms filled with CCTV cameras, lonely millennial hangout spots, and pools on roofs filled with flowers.Projecting into it the unreachable fantasies of real life, the virtual homescapes are then screen captured, divided into thirds. Each third is subsequently painted by a separate painter found on Taobao, who is given as little instruction as possible. Through fracturing the process of production and allowing external factors to intervene in the actualisation of her artwork, Mak2’s Home Sweet Home series not only elucidates the inevitable disparity between fantasy and reality, it also crafts a comment on authorship, “copy-cat” culture, and the complex narratives that construct her understanding of home.
In Home Sweet Home, Mak2 examines the ways in which simulation is applied in postmodern escapism. In light of rising costs and growing responsibilities, humanity has adapted to face the escalating hardships of being. In lieu of futile negotiations, we settle for satisfying our needs through fabricated substitutes. Yet, to what extent can simulated replacements compensate the void of actuality? In an unrelenting world, does subsisting on hyperreality diminish our existence as living beings? In a city where these questions are common place, how do we cope?
Zhong Wei (Beijing, China, b. 1987) will show new works that comments on our current informational environment that has grown beyond the perceptive capabilities of humans. Images, videos, and graphics are now inherently embedded within every corner of an expanding online universe, the amount of which is seemingly endless. As both contributors and users, our individual roles are infinitesimal in its macro overview, and we could spend countless hours attempting to discover its entire extent. Yet, through the motion of what the artist describes as “coupling”, it is our very interaction with these innumerable factors -- in all their unpredictable variations -- that generates the energy that drives its exponential evolution. Zhong Wei pairs the frenetic visuals of internet culture with textural elements reminiscent of classical Buddhist paintings. His technical skill is undeniable; his paintings draw the viewer in and invite them to get closer in search of familiar characters and imagery that explore the ripples of the information explosion and the consequential loss of existential substance.
The works shown at Asia NOW incorporates new narratives that reflect upon his own fruitless and exhausted efforts against the pandemic, as well as a lingering uncertainty and anxiety caused by the current state of social standstill.
Comprised of appropriated imagery digitally compounded with organic forms, Zhong Wei’s paintings barely remain within the confines of their surface. As popular Internet icons manifest left and right, the uninhibited and near apocalyptic chaos portrayed within each composition consumes its canvas with monstrous momentum. The artist’s vivid use of color fills the surrounding environment with vitality and tingling anticipation.
The development of technology and the Internet has become self-driven and is rapidly accelerating. By recording the shapes and textures of man-made visual phenomena, he attempts to capture the scenery of our current digital-cultural landscape and bring together combinations of images we could never imagine.