Hong KongXu Qu: Fineness
Massimo De Carlo Hong Kong presents a new series of paintings by Xu Qu, entitled “Fineness.”
Known for his original multiform approach, Xu Qu is one of the most interesting creative talents from the new generation of young Chinese artists who grew up in the 1980s. For over several years, Xu Qu has been exploring a wide range of mediums, such as videos, paintings, sculptures and installations that are questioning the reality of our global world.
In Xu Qu’s new body of work, the artist deviates slight from his previous map-like topographic canvas questioning power relations and the role of currency in our modern world, creating a series of extremely personal, zoomed-in canvases reflecting the currency design of money. “Fineness” emphasizes the collision of various painting elements instead of visual investigation on the partial enlargement of world currencies. Focusing in on a specific aspect of various global currencies, Xu Qu zooms into a tiny cropped section of Hong Kong dollar, RMB, US dollar as well as the Euro. In this sense, Xu Qu’s paintings take up the conceptual characteristic of plural investigations, revealing an artistic approach that is minimal, non-figurative, dematerialized and globalized. Once you identify the crucial iconographic designs of each currency, the perception of each painting alters itself in a strange way, in which the intricacy of each hand drawn canvas morphs with the indentation of a monetary system that is at the core of our society, creating an intimate yet distancing effect.
In “Fineness”, symbols on the currencies begin to mutate, distort and overlap on the canvas. These strong visual effects seem to herald the breakdown of globalization or the arrival of a crisis. As the artist said: “The world moves in an extremely fast speed and its effect has incredible influences on everyone. Nodes of the painting inevitably interact with massive social change, such as Impressionism arising from circumstances of the 19th Century Industrial Revolution, the global movement of Minimalism, etc, the world has come to a juncture again.”
Elements of Xu’s geometric abstraction remains in the foreground of the works, adopting a softer colour palette with meticulously painted brushstrokes, miraculously transforming these power signifiers into small quaint frames bursting with colour and symbolism. Impressionistic techniques are referenced throughout Fineness, with each short and quick brushstroke capturing the essence of the currency, which the artist also convolutes with the clashing of symbols.
Through this exhibition, the artist plays on the topical disruption the of our current society, hinting towards the idea that we are at the apex of a global crisis, referencing monetary symbols and systems as well as vanguard art historical techniques to create a new sense of urgency towards our time.
Xu Qu graduated with a BFA from Nanjing Art Institute in 2002 and an MFA in Fine Arts and Film at Braunschweig University of Art, Germany in 2008 before moving to Beijing, where he currently lives and works. Known for his original multiform approach and richly varied work, Xu Qu is one of the most interesting and versatile artists to emerge out of contemporary China. Xu Qu’s work spans a wide variety of mediums, such as video, painting, sculpture and installation. Preoccupied with confronting the reality of our global world, Xu Qu’s works examined the symbolism of money, questioning our obsession with the aesthetics of power relations. Xu Qu’s artistic practice has always been focused on the aesthetic considerations behind social connections through direct movements, achieving this through a minimalist approach. His works attempt to reorganize and heighten spaces of artistic production, utilizing painting and lighting to reconfigure spatial and temporal experience.
His solo exhibitions include: Chaos, Massimo De Carlo, Milano (2019); Ache, Antenna Space, Shanghai, China (2018); Currency Wars, Brussels, Belgium (2015); Hunting, Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art, Beijing, CN (2015); Intercourse, Beijing, CN (2015); A Hit, Beijing, CN (2014). Selected group exhibitions include ZHONGGUO 2185, London, UK (2017); Hack Space, Hong Kong, (2016); Bentu, des artistes chinois dans la turbulence des mutations, Paris, France (2016); Shanghai Deal, Shanghai, CN (2014); On/Off, Beijing, CN (2013).
Courtesy of the artist and Massimo De Carlo
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