Cong: Game of Raven

2023.07.14 – 2023.08.22

    Cong: Game of Raven

    Antenna Space is delighted to present the solo exhibition of artist Cong, Game of Raven, from July 14 to August 22, 2023.

    Cong’s first solo exhibition “The Palace” was presented at Antenna Space four years ago. She resides in a remote water town near Shanghai – in long periods of solitude and self-discipline, the multiplicity of time and space, the variability of the body and its organs, seemed to continuously project, intersect, and entangle. This solo exhibition is more likely to be a journey that takes the palace as its start and also destination, where sunlight can be seen streaming through the gaps between banana leaves, loquat branches, and cherry blossom trees. Dappled lights and shadows wander among corn, strawberries, tomatoes, thai basil, rosemary, and sunflowers personally planted by Cong in her backyard. The dandelions and evening primrose carried here by the gentle breeze swaying leisurely… Memories and mirages of these moments in Cong’s studio and garden fill her inner palace.

    Cong trains her eyes to capture a deeper and more profound perception, and depicts the scenery behind the seen. When viewing Cherry in White (2023), the percieve’s vision gropes for an image in the sonorous but wet brushstrokes: the painting, completed in early spring, is dominated by fresh dandelions, and in the lower left corner, a white egret looks up at a flying bird. As gaze shifts, a miniature instance appears in the vicinity: a white bird looks up at another bird flying by. In the repeated wandering of sight, in the repeated viewing of one’s view, a layered now is nestled – this is the now in which Cong revels.

    Simultaneity and coexistence are common configurations in Cong’s paintings, and synchronized and presented with which are Cong’s soft sculptures. She collects lace, buttons, metal hooks, accessories, and fine fabrics adorned with rich floral patterns from women’s clothing. Cong disassembles them in detail, then sews and fills them together without using any sewing machines. The sewing room is a zone for Cong to relax, where she spends her time, enriching and reshaping the time. Like the eight-meter-long soft sculpture in the exhibition that naturally reveals the seasonal sequence in the application of fabrics, from warm knitted ones taken from sweaters in winter to cool ones from summer dresses – as if an enthusiastic whisper, a narrative, waiting for viewers to explore and discover the hidden levels and bonus.

    In Greco-Roman mythology, the raven was the messenger that was shot, having his pure white feathers scorched black by Apollo’s fury, when informing him of his lover’s infidelity. The color black is also seen as an omen, making the mediator identity of the raven mysterious, elusive and ineffable. If the raven in the sun – of ancient Chinese cosmology – is indeed the objective record of sunspots by the ancients, in Cong’s practices, the raven observes and records this dasein. In Ravens and Ladybugs (2023), ravens stand on both sides of the painting, staring at the drifting journey of live beings; in Awakening from A Dream (2023) and A Tender Person (2022), the chaotic pitch-black feathers blend with majestic thunderous strokes, bursting with incredible courage and freedom in the midst of emptiness and innocence.

    Day after day, Cong sketches a heavy, mesh-like gown in her studio – a garment that will never be worn. As she depicts the layered and dense folds, the raven’s ferrying between life and death, material and spiritual worlds, becomes a game of folding time and space, and the time of the artist is folded as well. The strawberries in the yard ripen while Cong rubs the moments of her sketches into the strawberry icon on the liquor bottle she has been sipping from. With each bite of a strawberry, she draws a trace of an image, gradually assembling a strawberry house: “Do you have your own strawberry house?” she asked.

    Installation Views


    Please scan the QR code to follow us on WeChat :天线空间ANTENNASPACE