On this hot summer day in Shanghai let us return to 621 Changde Road.
ifa gallery presents 6 artists living in China, 6 solos in the rooms and alcoves of the gallery highlighting each artist with a unique voice.
Just beyond the wooden door we can glimpse the dark yet colorful work of a young Chinese artist, but first let’s turn to the left, towards the first room of the gallery, the one we could see through the large window from the street.
Here we encounter the talented young expressionist Li Rui’s latest series of glass artworks displaying his mastery of technique in this medium. These glass containers intensify reflected images depicting the face of the observer, discovered from a new angle. The room is mirrored in a new dimension, obscuring our familiar selves, who we are seeing and what we are seeing.
We must cross this fantastic path, in order to enter the second room.
Here for the first time we find a Belgian artist, well-known in the Shanghai art scene. When he is not busy working with photographic emulsions you can often find Christophe Demaitre in his M50 studio or haunting the old Shanghai bars. His photography and sculptural works depict his impressions of social human development using old techniques, imbedded in new technologies. They are all representative of this self-taught artist who has created his own identity through developing his art and his mind. Presently back in his studio in Brussels, he wished to be represented through this video speech from a scaffolding.
At the foot of the stairway we navigate into the magical universe of Deng Yu1, spiriting us to another world. This outstanding young artist from Guangzhou, different than others from the South China art scene conjures a fantastical world, black but full of colors, intermixing elements of our daily life and that of others from an unknown world. One could imagine this as an obscured cartoon or video game that the young generation of Chinese watches regularly.
Up on the next floor, we meet Liu Bolin, a Chinese artist who has become very well-known these past years. ifa gallery has already shown his camouflage series “Hidden in the City” in 2007, a series now collected internationally. Today, we may discover his “Shadow” series, also a direct result of performance. We see where the artist has been, lying on various ground surfaces after it has rained, because he has since disappeared leaving behind only his dry shadow, a fleeting trace of a past event. We are also able to leave the traces of a time behind us at the exhibition.
Next we arrive at Zane Mellupe’s room, here in this warm space, the artist exhibits her series on water, revealing herself in a state of undress in an empty bath, which is then filled with water in the installation piece. She conjures up the memory of a past tense so that we may think back with nostalgia or imagination.
As we reach the top floor we meet the work of Sergey Balovin, an artist shown here at ifa gallery for the first time. Sergey is known in Shanghai and Russia for exchanging his portraits for clothing, food, drinks, etc. enabling him to live his life without the need for money. In this series he painted a landscape a couple of years ago, idiom of the representation of modern art in Russia. Recently, he killed and transformed them, as a plastic surgeon would, by repainting over the artwork and its golden frame to create a transformed work representing a famous contemporary art piece. This conceptual work evokes the recent developments between the modern and contemporary art in the art scene and the art market by honoring its painters.
Here we may enter 6 personal worlds or perhaps experience 6 timeless days provoking us to imagine or discover the world anew this summer at ifa gallery. Let us keep the 7th and last alcove empty for resting and reflecting.