artist / participant
Bischoff Projects is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by He Xiangyu. He articulates unusual, sensual relationships to contemporary life through the very means with which we live it. He garnered international recognition for The Death of Marat, a lifelike sculpture of Ai Weiwei, planted facedown on the floor as if deceased, as well as for his Coca Cola Project, for which he alchemically transformed 127 tons of Coca Cola into crystalline forms that he then ground into ink used to create traditional Song-Dynasty style paintings. The residuals of commerce, whether they be an artistic figurehead or a product, inform the unlikely materials He uses to realize his own cerebral, elemental works. In the Coca Cola Project, through a method of extraction he externalizes as well as abstracts these sensations and feelings as art.
In his Art is not pure series, on view in this exhibition, He reprints Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales in black ink on paper also printed black, rendering the results nearly invisible. These classic stories, which have been retold and re-imagined countless times, are here presented as almost illegible while wearing the title “art is not pure.” The artist suggests that the countless repetitions and re-castings of these stories perhaps diverge from the author’s pure intent. He also implies how fairy-tales, seemingly the most innocuous of art forms, were meant as more morbid fare in their original tellings by Andersen; they now perhaps gain a purer form of retelling, as less ably encountered in pitch black.
He’s work finds possibility for art in bourgeois comforts, from Coca Cola to high-quality Italian leathers, from pure gold to protein. For his olive oil paintings, the artist chose a substance that delivers a sense of comfort and ease (and has drastically increased in popularity in China, having once been nonexistent) and brings it into conversation with the static gallery wall’s surface. The oil may come from another time and place, yet confronts a human dimension. He uses the material as paint applied to the wall along with pencil markings, effectively closing the gap between the possibilities of the medium and the walls within which we live.