duration_ November 11, 2017–January 13, 2018
opening_ Saturday, November 11, 3:30–6:30 PM
Hidden Words is the title given to the inaugural exhibition of Gallery Vacancy in Shanghai. The two Chinese characters of the name literally mean “hidden words,” yet translated into English and read separately backwards, the components and radicals of the two Chinese characters reveal an alternative message: “Our words are yet to be defined.” The exhibition features artists from different regions and introduces their practices in diverse media. These works explore the artists’ visual languages, and their lexicons--of anxiety, failure, irony, and search for identity--evoke a dialogue between each other’s works. Through the production process, the texts, the objects, the bodies, and the labor of the group of artists that have been selected for this exhibition, the artists unravel the relationship between their perception of the world and distanced history. Notions of form and function that are given to us by modernity and its industries are used here not merely as a vehicle, but they also serve in an attempt to present the desire for a universal language, a language that crosses the barriers of culture and time.
By imitating the appearance of packing peanuts, which we find and usually discard after unpacking boxes, David Adamo borrows the forms of mundane objects and has their materials substituted by a different kind of substance to remind us of how we are used to perceiving the function and values of objects. He thereby questions the prevailing systems of our perception as well as of those of society. Adamo's work was included in Performa in 2007 and the Whitney Biennial in 2010.
Using metal plates and marble, Devin Farrand explores the meaning of industries that are esteemed as the foundations of American culture, which was established through manufacturing and built upon the value of laboring. Exposed to a diverse range of mechanics, his work pays tribute to this lineage while also building his own distinctive vernacular visual language. Inspired by the intersection of aesthetics and production, Farrand transforms shop equipment and industrial materials into streamlined minimal objects.
In his recent series of work, Huang Kaiyu paints faces of acquaintances or people who happen to be around him on pieces of wood and board. Through a vibrant color palette and delicate smears of paint applied to the wood surface, figures are given bizarre expressions and awkward movements suggestive of characters we may find in a sitcom. The way in which a gallery presents his work plays an important role. Huang displays painted objects on top of either wooden strips or bookshelves in order to position his work in a peculiar state. It is as if his painted objects were humanized puppets, or a stranger’s mask that replaces the identity of the depicted figure and simultaneously allows it to represent any one of us in society.
Huang Yanyan photographs portions of her drawings and paintings, and then digitally arranges these fragments to create complex collages that impart explosive, sprawling movement onto the fluid formlessness of silk. She displays these as silk panels. Her wallpaper, meanwhile, functions as a modern-day fresco. It transforms the character of a given space in a decisive manner, expanding her flowing and tangled accumulations of lush and elegant gesture to an immersive, architectural scale.
Taro Izumi was born in 1976 in Nara, Japan, and currently lives and works in Tokyo. In 2017, he presented an ongoing project titled TARO IZUMI A Child Suddenly at the 21st Century Museum in Kanazawa, and had his first large-scale solo exhibition in France, titled Pan, at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Earlier in the summer of 2017, he participated in Mercedes-Benz Art Scope 2015-2017 Wandering to Wonder at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
Liu Yazhou, born in 1990, graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, Sculpture Department, and was then nominated as Honored Student from the Graduate School in the Sculpture Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. Through assembling and dismantling, Liu’s body of work brings forth the inner tension between two contradictory but interactive systems as well as the coincidence that occurs when multiple objects find a state of stasis without any pre-calculated arrangement.
James Webb's practice employs a variety of media including audio, installation, and text, referencing aspects of the conceptualist and minimalist traditions. In 2017, he participated in the 13th Sharjah Biennale and the Afriques Capitales, both in Paris, and later his first major music work was included in The War Of The Worlds for the Documenta 14 Radio Program.