Curated by Eric C. Shiner
ChinaSquare is pleased to present the work of CHEN JIAGANG, an artist whose narrative images reflect the drastic binarism of China’s booming cities and stagnant countryside. Chen’s large-scale use of space engages the viewer in conflict between man and his surroundings, what is forgotten and longed for, the present and the past.
Full of social and political commentary, the images in the exhibition portray certainty and uncertainty; the confidence of China’s development and the question of its ramifications. Shown by the juxtaposition of things plundered and revered, places forgotten and revisited, Chen’s work captures a disappearing history that seems silent and still. Further exploration reveals discontent and indignation. He creates an ambiguous suspense between the background and foreground, the individual and the collective, the subject and the environment. His choice of contrasting and fading color creates a romantic dream-like feeling of nostalgia, memory and a faint history – all fleeting yet perfectly fixed. Add to this the fact that most of the images are composed of many large format images digitally and seamlessly bound together and Chen’s notion of presenting the “re-reality” of China becomes fully apparent.
Chen Jiagang is an accomplished architect and artist. He studied architecture at the Chongqing Jianzhu University and was recognized by the United Nations as one of the world’s twelve “Outstanding Young Architects” in 1999. He was awarded the Excellent Works Prize in the 20th China Photographic Art Exhibition.
Eric C. Shiner is an independent curator and art historian specializing in Asian contemporary art. He completed his postgraduate education in art history at Yale University and and has curated numerous exhibitions throughout the United States and Asia. He has worked with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Shiner will co-curate Simulasian at the inaugural Asian Contemporary Art Fair, New York (November 2007).