Date: Mar 18th to Apr 23rd
Everyone’s memory is unique. Whether sweet or bitter, it comes with our own breath and smell. However, the last three years’ experience of the pandemic created overlapping individual memories, where we are familiar with each other’s joy and sorrow. The difficult times and conditions did not stop artists from making artworks in which our collective memory and experience can be traced.
AroundSpace Gallery is thrilled to present The Eye of Memory, the first group exhibition in 2023 that showcases works by 11 artists, Chen Xiaowei, Chi Qun, Dong Wensheng, Dou Rongjun (1971 – 2020), Han Garidi, Jeff Liao, Lu Yuanmin, Ren Jie, Shi Xinji, Taca, and Zhang Kechun and evokes our collective memory and resonates with our emotions.
In her most recent two drawings, The Eternal Flowers, Chen Xiaowei used etching-like lines and vintage palettes, and called on the view’s memory of classic artworks. Meanwhile, she used abstract curving lines to intervene in the balanced composition bringing energy and dynamics to the work. Similarly, in Chi Qun’s new abstract paintings, she adopted a vibrant rhythm, which evolved from a previously rigorous geometric structure and offers new potentials.
Shi Xinji is an artist who resides in the North but always admires Southern China. The strongly contrasted colors and calligraphy-like shapes in his works derive from his own memory of life in the South. Inner Mongolia-based Han Garidi brings us the distant landscapes of northern grasslands from his daily observation. The late Dou Rongjun’s painting, Tides, is the only piece in the series that depicts an ocean tide bathed in the sunlight. Its ambient tones and soft brushwork refreshes our memory of the artist.
Taca’s new photography series, Grotto, illustrates the experience of encountering gods in ancient legends with nearly flawless images. Dong Wensheng’s conceptual photograph, We Have Never Been Modern, got its title from French philosopher Bruno Latour’s book. It encourages the viewer to contemplate the relationships between individuals, society, and the nature, as well as the coherence between the past, present, and the future. Jeff Liao’s Central Park and Lu Yuanmin’s Suzhou River used to be iconic spaces in New York and Shanghai, however, they seem to convey an alternative mood generated by the gap between memory and reality. Ren Jie created volumes and spaces in between two-dimensional and three-dimensional spaces with ordinary felt materials, challenging the viewers’ memory of ordinary objects. In his recent Suspended Garden series, Zhang Kechun used a nearly cruel, bold approach to indicate the uncertainty of life.
A documentary is not a memory which is stamped with distinctive personal marks. We chose not to remember certain moments, but will never forget other experiences. Damnatio memoriae is an ancient Roman condemnation that erased tyrants, traitors, or enemies of the state from official historical records; Obliviate is a spell that wipes or modifies memory in the magic world of Harry Potter. Both are processes that edit or even reconstruct history and memory, while artworks derived from precious memories are like birds’ footprints left on snow. They open our collective eye of memory, and frame the fragments of history and society in a limited space.