Gao Lei, Messiah – Fusion Dream of < J > < Z-772 > < 5 >, 2017, Aluminum basin, turbo water gun, syringe, bronze, wooden umbrella handle, stainless steel, hemp rope, disposable carpet, wooden staircase, rolling gate, hanger, belt, Dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist


Title / The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017
Curator / Philip Tinari,Guo Xi, Yang Zi, Alvin Li, and Wenfei Wang ,
Venue / UCCA
Duration /  2017.3. 19 – 7. 9

Gao Lei and Li Qi participated in the large group exhibition ‘The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017’ at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing. The exhibition is on view through Jul 9th.

Gao Lei,  Messiah – Fusion Dream of < J > , 2017, bronze, wooden umbrella handle, Dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

Gao Lei presents a series of works that are both independent of one another and interrelated. In J, the artist appropriates an abandoned, broken fiberglass model of an ox heart found near a sculpture factory and correlates it with an “umbrella implant surgery”, a standard cardiac operation.

Gao Lei,  Messiah – Fusion Dream of < Z-772 >, 2017, Aluminum basin, turbo water gun, syringe, Dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist

Z-772 combines a deluge gun, a glass syringe, and an aluminum wash basin often seen in China in the 1980s into a single sculptural body, ordered according to the pressure of the liquid within. Simulating a systemic critical point between stability and collapse, the work traces the gradual elevation from the bottom to the top social structure stratum, a hybrid form of attack and defense, spear and shield, that implies various energies and crises contained within.

Gao Lei,   Messiah – Fusion Dream of < 5 > , 2017, stainless steel, hemp rope, disposable carpet, wooden staircase, rolling gate, hanger, belt. Dimensions variable, Courtesy of UCCA and the artist

The wall installation 5 is composed of overlaying metal filing cabinets often found in companies, steel wire fences, and other everyday objects. The work adopts the form of a monumental sculpture to pay tribute to the five-day work week policy, first implemented in China on 1 May 1995 to maximize productivity—the now standard eight-hour work day, forty-hour work week.


Li Qi, Jungle, 2015-2017, Single-channel digital video, color, sound. 8’29”, Courtesy of the artist

Li Qi’s project Jungle originated from his experiences at a residency in a factory in Dongguan, Guangdong. There he observed the recent decline of the manufacturing industry, witnessing mass layoffs across several enterprises. During this period, he came across a local company whose managers were organizing the remaining workers to plant vegetables with the factory’s unwanted furniture and crates to put the talents of these workers from the countryside to good use, alleviate anxieties, and invigorate these vacant factories.

Li Qi, Jungle, 2015-2017, Single-channel digital video, color, sound. 8’29”, Courtesy of the artist

Through the artwork, these vegetables are transformed into an enormous maze cultivated by human hands. Based on this unique phenomenon, Li Qi parodies Hong Kong films of the 1990s—the pop cultural zeitgeist of the time—by restaging gun fight scenes among the factory machinery, juxtaposing them with footage of laborers working and farming, thereby creating a landscape of dilemma formed by conflicted and gridlocked emotional states.


The Participating Artists

Chen Chenchen, Cui Jie, Gao Lei, Guo Xi, Lawrence Lek, Li Jingxiong, Li Qi, Liang Ban, Liao Fei, Amy Lien & Enzo Camacho, Liu Yefu, Ma Jianfeng, Ma Haijiao, Sophia Al-Maria, Miao Ying, Max Hooper Schneider, Shen Xin, Wu Tsang, Wang Guangxu, Lantian Xie, Yao Qingmei, Zhang Ruyi, and Zhu Changquan.


About Artists

Gao Lei was born in 1980 in Changsha. Graduated from BA in Digital Media, China Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. Gao Lei currently lives and works in Shanghai. His selected solo exhibitions include:Gao Lei (organized by A+ Contemporary, Asia Art Center Taipei ll, Taipei, 2017) , WILDERNESS (White Space, Beijing, 2016), Gao Lei’s Solo Exhibition (Arario Gallery, Shanghai, 2014), Gao Lei.WINDOWSKY (Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, 2014), PROJECTIONS (Arario Gallery, Seoul, 2012), Objec[ts]pace – Photography Works by Gao Lei (Aye Gallery, Beijing, 2008). His selected group exhibitions include: A Catalyst for Contemporary Culture in China (UCCA, Beijing, 2017) , Works of Post 80’s after 2008 from Long Museum Collection (Long Museum, Shanghai, 2016), ACROSS THE DIVIDE (Rosenfeld Porcini Gallery, London, 2016), TURNING POINT:Contemporary Art in China since 2000 (Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, 2016), NEW VOICES – A DSL COLLECTION STORY (Klein Sun Gallery, New York, 2016), WE – A Community of Chinese Contemporary Artists (chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, 2016), AFTER UTOPIA:Revisiting The Ideal in Asian Contemporary Art (Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2015), The 2nd CAFAM·Future Exhibition Observer-Creator: The Reality Representation of Chinese Young Art (CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, 2015), DAS ICH IM ANDEREN (Stiftung Mercator, Essen, Germany, 2011), BEIJING TIME. LA HORA DE CHINA-A panoramic vision of contemporary art in China (Casa Asia/SEEI/ Matadero Madrid, Madrid, 2010), Chinetik (Littmann Culture Projects and Tinguely Museum, Basel ; Littmann Culture Projects and IVAM (the Valencian Institute of Modern Art), Valencia, Spain, 2009), Metropolis Now – Chinese Contemporary Art (National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Meridian International Center, Washington DC), China’s ReVision-Chinese Contemporary Art (Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany, 2008), Butterfly Dream-MoCA Envisage II (Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, 2008), Floating-Modern Chinese Art Exhibition in Commemoration between Korea and China (National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2007), Yokohama International New Media Art Festival (Yokohama, 2006), In the Line of Flight: The Millennium Dialogue – 2nd Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition (China Millennium Monument, Beijing, 2005).

Li Qi was born in 1984 in Qinghai, China. He graduated from Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 2009. He currently lives and works in Beijing and Chengdu. His group exhibitions include: La Chair (A+ Contemporary, Shanghai, 2016), To Be a Part of the World (Blue Roof Art District, Chengdu, 2014), From Out-Of-Town (Space Space, Chengdu, 2013), I’m Not Involved in Aesthetic Progress: A Rethinking of Performance (Star Gallery, Beijing, 2013), Lecture (CAFA, Beijing, 2012).