COMERCHINA Huang Rui
17 Sep - 10 Oct, 2009 | 10 Chancery Lane Gallery

Comerchina, a solo exhibition by Huang Rui curated by Bérénice Angremy and Julia Colman

Hong Kong, Sep 2009 – 10 Chancery Lane Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Huang Rui’s solo exhibition Comerchina, co-curated by Bérénice Angremy and Julia Colman. The artist has prepared mixed-media works that will be on display September 17 – October 10, 2009.

Huang Rui’s new works of paintings and installations deal with China’s obsession with the power of money and the process of over-commercialization in China and all things Chinese.  Through the current of fast-paced times is born “Comerchina.”  Comerchina is a coined word meaning ‘made in China’ or ‘commercial China’. A new Chinese world order that is based more on commerce than on the intellectual. Comerchina uses the symbols of money, adverts and the touch pad of our mobile phones to create a highly stylized group of paintings that reflect the energy and superficiality of China’s current subconscious.

In the work, “Shadow,” four giant 100 RMB notes (270cm x 540cm) are cut up into 27 parts.  The work is overlaid with the word “comerchina” on all but two parts that have the shadowed image of Chairman Mao.  This watermarked image is overlaid with the characters symbolizing the words of Mao’s great speeches: upholding, proletariat, class and dictatorship. Together the words mean, “Maintain dictatorship of the proletariat.”  Like all Huang Rui’s works this piece is typical in that it is layered with several meanings and connotations dealing with both China’s past and present, the current art market and the use of words as imagery.  As Bérénice Angremy states in the exhibition catalogue: “Here we recognize the artist’s humor—both acerbic and poetic; for Huang Rui text is image, an image of power whose persuasive force is multiplied in comparison to a traditional representation of portrayed power.”

Another series, entitled “Hall of Fame” is a collaborative work in that Huang Rui engaged the community by making an online appeal for people to send in advertising imagery. He then selected 100 images that he used to collage a mobile phone keypad over the imagery of cars, cosmetics and luxury products. To accompany the RMB work, Huang Rui has composed this series of prints that look at the notion of commercialization. In 21st century China, the cellular telephone has become a ubiquitous necessity. Often a person will spend an obscene amount of money on a telephone in order to exude an aura of sophistication. The combination of advertisements with this symbol of wealth speaks for the materialistic turn society has taken.

The last piece is the game Comerchina that is a touch pad of the mobile phone placed on the floor.  Children are invited to play the game, which has no beginning and no end in an infinite play of ‘hopscotch’ on the floor.  Through the game, Huang Rui brings the notions of consumer conditioning that exists even in early ages.

Huang Rui is one of China’s most highly regarded artists, one of the founding members of the Stars Group of 1979 and a seminal figure of the Dashanzi Factory 798 Art District. Since co-organizing China’s first public art exhibition in Beijing in 1979, Huang Rui has sought to express art’s function as a reflection of society and its strength in addressing contemporary concerns.

Huang Rui’s works have been shown extensively in China and abroad. In addition to public performances in Japan, Beijing’s Dashanzi Art District and London, his work has been included in major exhibitions at the Louisiana Museum of Denmark, the Museo delle Mura in Rome, the 1st Guangzhou Triennial, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Beijing.