Minute Gestures: Liao Wenfeng Solo Show
May 27th, 2012 - July 26th, 2012
Playing with semiotics, temporality, art history and the realities of contemporary China, Liao Wenfeng performs a series of interventions which force us to examine our world from a whole new perspective. In this recent body of photography and video works, the artist inserts himself, like a mischievous hacker into various situations, to “jam,” subvert or alter our perception of reality.
For instance in “The Backside of the Apple,” we see a photograph of a group of apples with shards of mirror thrust into them which reflect parts of the apple from various different angles. In another work “Dust Transfer,” a photograph depicts a crop of Japanese Aralia bushes growing under the freeway completely caked with dust save for one dark green shiny leaf. This image is juxtaposed with another photograph of a dust-covered hand – the action of cleaning the leaf drawing attention to how these leaves became grey in the first place.
This wry sense of humor also comes out in his work “Stone,” a small pile of rocks stacked precariously on a railroad tie and in “Dusty Spiral” an homage to Robert Smithson – a circular trail of dust and debris left in a neglected corner of a room. While in traditional land art the works were degraded by the elements of wind and rain, Liao places man (either as train engineer or a cleaner wielding a broom) in the position of the “destroyer” making a comment on mankind’s ability to create chaos in his environment.
The video work, “Flower Tree Village,” also examines idea of chaos with a documentary about a “village beautification” project in Liao’s hometown, whereby some villager’s kitchens are demolished in accordance with town planning regulations. Liao then makes some “improvements” of his own planting a row of trees right across the breadth of the river where he directs some villagers to lounge about, listen to music and play chess, thus re-creating a town park in the middle of the fast rushing current. Here this absurd intervention presents a powerful metaphor for the impact of change on rural life and the precariousness traditional communities.
Opening: June 9, 2012-July 25, 2012, 5-8pm