A+ Contemporary is pleased to announce the opening of Mao Chenyu’s solo exhibition “Litchi Girl” on September 8th. This is the first time artist presents his cinematographic project in the exhibition context since his debut 2003 “paddyfilm” project. By threading objects, archives, installation, video and performative practices, artist re-introduces and translates multiple modes of formal representations, turning the exhibition space into a mega-narrative experimental site where the realms of the unreal and the real collide and intertwine. The exhibition will be on view until October 28th.
Primarily a filmmaker, Mao Chenyu’s signature ongoing film project “paddyfilm” project investigates and examines the cultural landscape of Dongting Lake area and the surrounding Hunan, Hubei and Guizhou provinces. Starting art making in 2015, Mao Chenyu’s practices include installation, video, works on paper and other forms of medium. In this exhibition, by threading the post-modern concept of “writing” into his multiple practices, Mao Chenyu bounds the multidisciplinary studies of semiotics, ethnicity, anthropology, sociology, archaeology and zymurgy with the fields of literature, cinematography and artistic practices. Continuing with the clues Mao Chenyu built up in his 2016 eponymous video “Litchi Girl: Masculine Ghosts”, “Litchi Girl” further explores and probes the formation and the renderings of the folkloristic legend through the reexaminations of the oral history and the documented fictional narratives, from which the legend tale unfolds a written memory that originates from the history.
Who is Litchi Girl? This is the central question “Litchi Girl” determines to examine through the approach of geontological interpretations. In this attempt, artist pulls out and transfers Litchi Girl’s history, activating and re-rendering its memories in geological contexts. Through the careful selections and placements of various categorizations of items, for example: rosin/amber, jade/cereal patterns, bonsai, etc, artist reshapes, re-presents and simulates the anthropological-geological-historical site of Litchi Girl. Moreover, the historical information that circulated from and embedded within the exhibited items also grant the objects with a sensitive tonality, through which the cereal patterns engraved on the jade wares become the signs that trace the historical memories, yet the density of the ambers suggest the weight of the memories they bear.
By interweaving artistic practices, cinematic principles, and rethinking the conditions of contemporary art, Mao Chenyu proposes and introduces a novel experimental concept “Green Screen Writing” in this exhibition. Through the acts of modification, alteration and misplacement, the video work “Memory that Self Vanishes with 2/3 Speed of Light” shapes and forms a structure where characters and events contextualized with one another into an editable writing site in formation. In this experimental site, “Litchi Girl” therefore becomes a sign, an indicator that is placed in front of this “green screen”. Circulating through various medium, things and contexts, it simultaneously explains the curatorial decisions of the placements and selections of the archives, sets of scenes, videos and images in this exhibition. The entire exhibition therefore could be perceived as a loop of self-cannibalizing and self-formatting gestures that at once acting against the structural routine, and formulating a set of self-generated linguistic forms. Through which, “Litchi Girl” will greet us to state the filmic standpoints that belong to herself.
Mao Chenyu was born in 1976 in Hunan. Having studied Inorganic Nonmetallic Materials at School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tongji University during 1996-2000, he currently lives and works in Shanghai. His solo exhibition includes: Litchi Girl (A+ Contemporary, Shanghai, 2018) (Upcoming), Paddy Film in Beijing (The Room Art Project, Beijing, 2016). His selected group exhibitions include: The Exhibition of Annual of Contemporary Art of China 2017 (Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, 2018), Second Yinchuan Biennale-Starting from the Desert Ecologies on the Edge (MOCA Yinchuan, Yinchuan, 2018), Frames of Image (Shenzhen University Art Museum, Shenzhen, 2017), Re/sentiment (A+ Contemporary, Shanghai, 2016), Why Not Ask Again? (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2016), Pulse Reaction II: Discussions on Reality and Realism (Times Art Museum, Guangzhou, 2016), Public Spirits (Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, 2016), Time Test: International Video Art Research Exhibition (The Art Museum of China Central Academy of Fine, Beijing, 2016), PSA Emerging Curators Program: the Bilateral Theatre (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2015), Prototypes, Duplicates and Cast-offs–Assembly Line Project (V Art Centre, Shanghai, 2015), Between Knowing and Unknowing: Research in-and-through Art (Times Art Museum, Guangzhou, 2015). Participated film festival includes: Taiwan International Documentary Festival (Taipei, 2014). His curatorial projects include: The Grammar of Building – Grain God Narrative Ⅱ, (Shenzhen University Art Museum, Shenzhen, 2017) ,Grain God Narrative (Power Station of Art, Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Shanghai, 2016), Nuo Opera: Space-sweeping (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2016). His work won the New Asian Currents Special Award of the 11th Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in 2009 and was granted the Jury Award of Yunnan Multiculture Visual Festival in 2010.