Hive Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing) is pleased to announce the opening of Chen Langmu: Universal on 22nd Oct., 2017, at Hall B&C, The exhibition is curated by Yang Jian and will last until 30th Nov., 2017. After his solo exhibitions Wasteland (2014) and The Iron Age (2015), Chen Langmu will show his new works of the recent years.
With photography and historic pictures, Chen Langmu collects imageries of historic statuses at particular moments and evolutionary processes over certain historic periods. Such historic evidence provides him with some possibilities to construct fields where the artist and the past become mutually open. For the artist grew up in the declining industrial base of North East China, his collection of evidence represents a search for the collective root for himself. This search will help Chen Langmu locate more precisely his own individuality (within such historic context) before organizing and conveying it in the pictorial composition through such personalized treatment as painting, thereby creating his unique visual fruits or in fact forming a method of narrating, participating and occupying. This is in effect his active construction of the present as historic discourse and creation of his own individuality by using history as an entry point.
Compared with alteration and editing of historic pictures in his earlier works, his recent works are apparently more accurate and ambitious. As always, Langmu distances himself from radical, subversive and eye-catching reformation, thereby maintaining his consistency in conveying the sense of peaceful mystery and disharmonious tranquility. At this stage, Langmu injects into his works a chaotic mixture of perspectives, sources of light, spaces along with overlapping images of different time-space, creating visual effects resembling that of “flashback” in video editing juxtaposed in the same two-dimensional scenarios. Meanwhile, the artist also introduces into his two-dimensional scenes some trans-space-time overlaps, generating certain visible void and nothingness. More fascinating is that some limited areas of his works feature his extremely subjective use of coloring and brushwork that breaks his own artistic inertia, giving rise to some sort of plastics-like visual texture in those areas. As a result, those specific areas of Chen Langmu’s works appear to be suspending or convey certain sense of absurdity without jeopardizing the visual equilibrium and harmony of the whole work. In other words, Chen Langmu’s experimentation as such does not deviate from his overall tone of calmness and composure in painting. Dependent on his painting language of the irreplaceable visual expressiveness and provocativity, the artist effectively conveys his conception of history and space time as well as his latest interpretation of painting’s expressive potentials, which may also help maintain a sensible observational distance when exploring historic subjects.
Works displayed in this exhibition indicates Langmu’s deepened understanding of his apparently conservative or pro-classics figurative approach to painting, compared with his previous comprehension demonstrated in past exhibitions and projects. Such approach to painting is actually an attempt to wipe out or weaken its connections with the painting context permeated with external fashions or dramatic changes. Well-seasoned and mature approach as such turns the forms of painting into the content itself where narration takes shape; in other words, the content of the painting takes on certain ritualized or canonized visual features. However, as no language of painting is in itself neutral, such apparently conventional approach to painting, if observed in the future space-time, may reveal its exceptional independence and accuracy in expressing the views of the painter. It is also this approach to painting that sets Chen Langmu apart from his peers within the current space-time.