One Country Two Systems - 50 Years Unchanged! Huang Rui
06 Apr - 02 May, 2006 | 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

Artist Huang Rui showing at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

APRIL ART EXHIBITION, HONG KONG --- 10 Chancery Lane Gallery is proud and honored to showHuang Rui (黃銳)in Hong Kong in a solo exhibition entitled, “ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS — 50 YEARS UNCHANGED!”  The Hong Kong exhibition opens with a reception on APRIL 6, 2006 6:30-9:30 and runs until May 2, 2006.  HUANG RUI is a Beijing artist that has been both famous and active in the Chinese Contemporary art scene for the last 27 years.  He is one of the leaders of the famous “STARS MOVEMENT” (XING XING 星星)  where in 1979 thirty some protestors demanding artistic freedom opened the doors for the entire contemporary art emergence that is exploding in China today (other artists in this group include Wang Keping, Ma Desheng, Ai Weiwei etc.).  He is also the backbone behind Beijing’s FACTORY 798 art’s district where galleries, artist’s atelier and performances vibrate into a rich cultural exchange that is being talked about and oscillates worldwide.

A simultaneous solo exhibition opens in Beijing at Chinese Contemporary Gallery in the Factory 798 district. Both exhibitions offer a close insight to his artworks since 1992. This is a wonderful opportunity to understand one of the most challenging artists of China, who has never stopped claiming his strong independence from any kind of system, be it artistic or political.

 

1. INSTALLATION

Huang Rui’s recent works play on the use of slogans in China and the continual propangda campaigns that blanket the nation with the central government’s current idea or plan.  When in 1997, the British handed Hong Kong back to the Chinese government, the slogan “ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS — 50 YEARS UNCHANGED!” (一國兩制,五十年不變)was drummed into our heads and subconscious,  However, now nine years on we harldy here our catch phrase except through a passing mainland official who might remind us of its importance.  HUANG RUI snatches this idea to create his work which is both interesting and ironic at the same time.  There are three works to be shown which play on the theme.  The first work, is an installation piece where he will set up fifty shelves and will display 1,000 common products used for eating, drinking, medicinal aids and beauty enhancers.  All the products have the same label: “ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS — 50 YEARS UNCHANGED!”  The 5 stars from the Hong Kong S.A.R. flag are on the label and the slogan is both in Chinese and English.  The work provokes the question at hand, which is what can remain the same for 50 years?  As our world changes, the 1,000 products and Hong Kong itself change with time.  What does it mean to remain the same for fifty years?  The works remain simple to view and visually appealing but are charged with socio-political meaning. 

 

2.  PAINTING

The second work, deals with the word “CHINA” in English and the sound of the word in Chinese which makes the characters “CHAI-NA” (拆那) which means “Demolish Here”.  In an ever-expanding nation the characters “CHAI-NA” are painted on buildings and the spectators watch their beloved momentos and the old city streets of China disappear into massive change and urbanization.  The work needs one word of translation to a Western audience and the profoundness of its meaning strikes you at once.  And suddenly, the old lanes of Beijing all seem to have the newly recognizable cirlced character of CHAI ()on them.  Huang Rui poignantly and poeticly captures this both nostalgia and anger in the series of paintings entitled CHINA/CHAI-NA(拆那).

 

3.  PERFORMANCE

The third piece of work in the show will invite the audience to participate in a performance which will cause change itself to the characters of  “ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS.”  (一國兩制) Huang Rui will set up a series of cakes set up which will read “ONE COUNTRY TWO SYSTEMS” and the audience is invited to eat and through the performance we will watch the change of the words and how they will read.

In the simultaneous Beijing show, an installation comprised of the characters “Long live to Chairman Mao for 10,000 years!”, appear behind red plexi-glass, filled in with bank notes that altogether add up to ten thousand renminbi. Each of the Chinese bank notes is printed with the face of Mao Zedong. As such, this installation represents the presence of Chairman Mao in the thousands of daily transactions across the country contrasting with the communist China that was founded by Mao Zedong.