2015.05.23 – 2015.07.05
Xu Qu Solo Exhibition: Intercourse
ANTENNA SPACE will be presenting XU Qu’s solo exhibition: INTERCOURSE on May 23rd 2015. This show displays such an attempt to imitate the subtle relationships among nature, culture and human beings. The artist physically transforms animals, landscape and artifacts into a new condition that is more imaginative and paradoxical. It is during this process of absorbing and digesting the “heterogeneous culture” that the artist metaphorically raises a series of complicated issues that all the art practitioners are daily faced with.
XU Qu came back to China in 2010 and lived in Beijing. Before that, after his graduation from the Oil Painting Department at the Nanjing University of the Arts, he went to Germany to study in the studio of Professor John Armleder and Professor Birgit Hein. In 2008, XU Qu got his master’s degree in painting and film at the Brauschweig University of Art. Professor Armleder, a senior artist of international fame and reputation, had a profound and lasting influence on the formation of XU Qu’s aesthetic structure and personal style. Professor Hein, with experimental and documentary film constituting her research focus, inspired XU Qu to incorporate video, performance art, and live art, etc. into his practical and linguistic foundation. Educational background, of course, only gives the most preliminary reference for analyzing an artist. It may be said that the experience of life and study in Germany subliminally molded the outline of XU Qu’s early outlook. After coming back to China, in terms of what was most important for him, he had obtained the ability to assess and integrate myriad information on the global art system, and clarified the relations and structures inside that very outlook.
Like any practitioner in this period, XU Qu was full of uncertainty and befuddlement when he tried to explore the new world. His first appearance on the Mainland was in Archery Hall in the Taikang Space’s project 51m². In this work, and also in his later work at the Upstream and Xi Sha projects, respectively, one can see that in the first two years of XU Qu’s early period he focused on highlighting experimental video, performance and live art. Since 2012, when coming back to the media of painting, sculpture and installation, XU Qu’s absolute control of visual forms and subtle qualities is impressive. The minimalist Sea Level Line and the hard-edged painting Currency series, with color and line as their key elements, are as complete and mature as his early targets were. Through a series of repetitive attempts, these contradictory yet mutually balancing clues have finally precipitated into a solid point of synthesis in XU Qu’s exhibition A Hit (2014): The exhibition includes a painting series stemming from a core theme, two individual series of different media (installation and sculpture) both exploring spatial relations and positive-negative shapes, and a set of comprehensive visual schemes covering the walls of the exhibition hall with a corresponding huge-screen dynamic projection. He’s carried out and controlled a painting-centered solo exhibition in a big space.
In the exhibition INTERCOURSE, XU Qu describes the reality in a cold but humourous tone when again questioning popular consumerism and the fancy of minimalism. In the video Zebra, a slaughtered black horse is partially skinned by the butcher at his will. Strip after strip, the horse is skinned, showing the white fat beneath. And the black horse turns to a zebra by the end. In this case, the friendship between horses and human beings disappears, replaced is the simple relationship of butcher and animal. In the work Custom Ⅱ, the main character is a tortoise purchased by the artist as a pet when he gets back from Germany to Beijing. By “turning over” the subject, he overturns the “habit” of the animal, and discusses the subtle physiological change and the relationship of controlling. Another group of installations show the solid and iconic shell of the Das Auto cars from Germany, indicating an industrial standard that is classic and rational. When the standardized surface of the car is “destroyed” by graffiti of the street culture, it is more fun to look back the relationship between the two. The four-screen movie Back Flow reverses the streams in the valley. And the reverse play of the nature landscape shows the reverse of the time. Being played over and over, those common and transient scenes gradually and unconsciously form a memory that is relatively still yet quite unusual.
XU Qu was born in 1978 in Jiangsu Province, China. He graduated from Nanjing Art Institute with Bachelor Degree in 2002. Between 2005 and 2007, he studied of Fine Arts at the Braunschweig University of Art in Germany under professors John M. Armleder and Birgit Hein, Diplom; between 2007 2008, “Meisterschueler” (postgraduate study program) under Prof. John M. Armleder. He now works and lives in Beijing.
Selected solo exhibitions include Intercourse, ANTENNA SPACE, Shanghai, 2015; XU Qu solo project: Tennis Court, Taikang Space, Beijing, 2014; A Hit, Tang Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, 2014; Mutable forms and Immutable Consciousness, Tang Contemporay Art-Bangkok, Thailand, 2013; and 51m²: 11# XU Qu, Taikang Space, Beijing, 2010, etc. Selected group exhibitions are Cosmos – Limited and Limitless, Existence and Co-existence, Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, 2014; Negative or Resistance?, Upstream, Taikang Space, Beijing, 2013; On/Off, It’s Not a Matter of Time, UCCA, Beijing, 2013; Guest, Standing on the Shoulders of little Clowns, UCCA, Beijing; and Light Bending Onto the Retina, 18 Gallery, Shanghai, 2012, etc.
HD B&W Video
Skins I & II
450 x 171 x 143 cm Unique
HD B&W Video 3’13”
208 x 30 x 30 cm x 5 Pieces
HD Colour Video Installation 0’33”
242 x 138cm