邱岸雄，《文艺复兴》，2021，布面丙烯，240x200 cm |Qiu Anxiong, Renaissance,2021, Oil on Canvas, 240x200 cm
When night falls on this city, it Renaissancebegins to emit a gloomy, ambiguous red light which can be seen even from the faraway wildlands projecting onto the low clouds as a giant aura and murky shadow. The light is warm and inviting. The people out in the desolate wastes find themselves irresistibly drawn in, yearning for the light's warm embrace. There is an indistinct sound to the city, like a call or a chorus. It is majestic and powerful, with a distinct rhythm and soaring melody. It is electrifying, inspiring people to do extraordinary things. When you listen closely, the sound is mixed with sharp, biting screams and shouts which grate against the majestic sound. These sounds are faint and mournful, emerging momentarily only to be swept away in the harmony of that stern rhythm.
—Excerpted from Qiu Anxiong, Unknown City
SPURS Gallery is honored to announce the opening of the Qiu Anxiong solo exhibition “Anthropogene- Siberia” on July 10, 2021. This is Qiu Anxiong's sixth solo exhibition at the gallery since 2007, presenting six paintings, one video installation and etchings, all new, across the gallery's two floors. Throughout the exhibition space are excerpts from Qiu Anxiong’s novella Unknown Cities, forming mutual references between image, text, form and meaning.
In the exhibition's title, “Anthropogene” is the title of one of the inner chapters of the Daoist classic Zhuangzi, while “Xianbeiria” may be a more accurate transliteration of the name “Siberia,” which means “land of the Xianbei people,” broadly referring to a vast area of Northern Asia. The combination of these two terms in the title refers to projections of both a cosmic view and a historical view. The artist hopes, through the artworks and texts presented in this exhibition, to reveal a broader outlook on the current world, and a constantly fluid historical vision. Departing from his well-known New Book of Mountains and Seas series of ink animations, these new paintings present his deeper thinking on painting as an art form. He believes the most fundamental way in which painting differs from film is in how it deals with time. While the process of film is the continuously unfolding flow of images within time, painting compresses an even longer span of time into a single moment, and fixes it to an eternal picture. He believes, “Classical art is modern art, and modern art is primitive art.” The complexity and narrative aspects of classical art are what interest him the most. In this series of paintings, he employs new methods to expand the complex structures and narratives of classical art.
In this exhibition, the painting Renaissance weaves symbols of humanity’s traditions and future together with animals dragged into the human realm by force, dropped into a chaotic modern metropolis, with the structural tension of the bridges and buildings heightening the drama of the unfolding disaster. The image of the cosmonaut embracing a naked man is drawn from a dance theater composition by Dimitris Papaioannou. This image reminds him of Michelangelo Buonarroti's sculpture Pietà, and draws the viewer into reflection on the significance of the Renaissance in advancing human civilization. Kristallnacht draws more direct connections to contemporary life. In the foreground, mid-ground and background are placed brutish animals, streetlights densely covered in surveillance cameras, and futuristic buildings, respectively, all within a landscape with the traits of traditional Chinese painting, forming an absurd spectacle open to interpretation and filled with metaphor.
The engravings are like melodic variations to the main thread of the canvas works. The engravings refine and condense the highly individual and expressive language of the line from his sketches. The pictures, composed of subtle, precise lines, present scenes full of wonder and absurdity. The use of engraving is the artist’s salute to Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer. His new video installations continue to expand the boundaries and possibilities between animation, space, sculpture and painting.
In the exhibition “Anthropogene - Siberia,” viewers will witness a series of surreal images, seemingly stepping into a long scroll painting as it unfolds, the details weaving together a fragmentary and winding complex contemporary vision out of different timelines and conceptual viewpoints. The exhibition will be on view until August 8th.
Translated by Jeff Crosby（谢飞）
Qiu Anxiong: Anthropogene- Siberia
Duration: July 10–August 8, 2021
SPURS Gallery I & II , 798 Art District D-06, Jiuxianqiao Rd., Chaoyang District, Beijing