Wang Wei and Ko Sin Tung
Muse for a Mimeticist
Opening: June 24, 5–7pm
Edouard Malingue Gallery
2202, 2879 Longteng Avenue
Xuhui District, Shanghai
T +86 21 6468 2389
A conceptual tool devised for this exhibition, “Mimeticism” differs from Realism in that, while the latter embraces countless definitions and means of realisation, the former advances along a narrow path. Mimeticism adheres to one technical standard: a realm of perfection towards which one approaches ever closer. The exhibition proposes the following notion—that inspiration emerges on the path towards Mimeticism and that one is allowed to stray from this path. Recognising this, Wang Wei and Ko Sin Tung’s oeuvres continually demonstrate how inspiration is sparked by such deviations from Mimeticism.
Graduating from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Realism For Wang Wei, is certainly not unfamiliar, in a contemporary sense, Wei realises that while, in the past, it was necessary to veer away from Mimeticism, something else is now needed. Realist art pedagogy in China merely stays at the level of technical training, evading the intoxicating powers of Formalism, which are certainly no less than those of Mimeticism. For Wang Wei, the paramount task of art is to return to reality, seeking to intervene into new social realities with the various languages of contemporary art.
Thus Wang Wei devotes himself to the observation of reality, of what is most ignored in the landscape and of the everyday, for this exhibition, Wang Wei takes on two forms of imagery: mirror images and mosaics. The mirror image is, in fact, the ideal sought by Mimeticists, and additionally is a common method in Realist art; yet, Wang Wei’s mirror images are distinctive in that he chooses not to reflect any “interesting” scenes; instead, he often picks up on only one aspect from what the exhibition venue looks like. His mirror images are not mimetic; he merely produces a derivative copy of a “real image” with cheap mosaics. His aim is to have people discover that the work reflects the surrounding environment, and thereby affect an audience to reflect on the space anew.
In contrast to Wang Wei, Ko Sin Tung did not receive a Realist art education. Yet Ko Sin Tung, (b. Hong Kong), is equally concerned with how art deals with reality. Such concerns—in an environment like Hong Kong where art is stunted by commerce and utilitarianism, and where social conditions have are in a state of flux—most naturally appear pressing. Much like Wang Wei, Ko Sin Tung’s approach is to observe the world around her. The imagery she employs comes mostly from everyday life, while the focal point she recounts happens to be the inspirational revelation revealed amongst the everyday.
Ko Sin Tung will produce a series of related works: painting on the warning lights that ordinarily illicit an awareness of road safety the same “protective colour” as on the walls, thus conferring to them an entirely opposite role. She will also present a ready-made advertisement promoting work safety with superimposed images of safety helmets and sunflowers, seemingly separate objects connected by a virtually identical yellow; evoking an eerie harmony. Additionally, she documents how traditional road lighting has switched to LED lighting. Finally, on two high-definition TV (HDTV) screens, commonplace today, she plays two videos about standard definition. This gesture, imbued with a sense of evolution, very directly spells out the simple and satisfying strides onwards along the path of Mimeticism.
Muse for a Mimeticist, provides the rare chance to connect two artists with relatively different backgrounds: while both carry along and extend their creative threads, they equally comment on and further each other’s practices.
Wang Wei‘s (b.1972) work has been exhibited in numerous important exhibitions including: 12th Chinese Pavilion (2010), International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale, Italy (2010); Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Shenzhen, China (2009); The Real Thing: Contemporary Art From China, Tate Liverpool, UK (2007); Foreign Objects, Kunsthalle Wien Project Space, Vienna, Austria (2007); Beyond: The Second Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, (2005); A Second Sight, International Biennale of Contemporary Art, National Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic, (2005); Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, International Center of Photography, New York (2004); The First Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, China, (2002).
Ko Sin Tung (b.1987) is a highly promising, emerging Hong Kong artist, graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In 2012 she completed a residency at the Kunstnarhuset Messen, Ålvik, Norway. She has previously been exhibited at the 8th Vladivostok Biennale of Visual Arts, Vladivostok; Asia Society Hong Kong Center; and Para Site, Hong Kong, amongst other locations. Ko Sin Tung has also been awarded multiple awards including Project Grant (Emerging Artists Scheme) from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (2014), the Pure Art Foundation Grant 2013–14 (2014) and Jury’s Special Prize of Huayu Youth Award (2016).