Liang Ban "Diary of a Pioneer"
Duration: 27 January – 17 March, 2018
Opening: 4pm-7pm, Saturday, 27 January, 2018
Venue: de Sarthe Gallery, 20/F, Global Trade Square, 21 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong
de Sarthe Gallery is pleased to announce Liang Ban’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, Diary of a Pioneer. The show features all new work and opens on 27 January 2018. It will continue through 17 March. This is Liang Ban’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong.
The exhibition questions a conventional understanding of culture in which civilization and nature are diametrically opposed. With surrealist and humorous undertones, Liang Ban argues our idealized notion of a civilization constantly in progress dilutes a more complicated reality in which our relationship to nature and wilderness are closely connected. Within only four artworks, the exhibition carries viewers to a point of cathartic reflection on the impossibility of understanding human civilization.
The first artwork in the show, Pirate Utopias is a video installation that takes its title from American writer Peter Lamborn Wilson’s book, which comments on the weakness of free will. The installation features an LED television placed on a bed of white sand under an artificial palm tree. The video shows the artist himself dressed as a pirate, taking a photo with his mobile phone of a coconut hanging on a palm tree, shaking his phone, and then being knocked out by the subsequently falling coconut. Through absurd coincidence, it seems as if the act of shaking the digital image of the coconut has caused the physical coconut to actually fall, leaving viewers with a comical but unsettling metaphor.
Neon Wilderness: Nazca Lines is the largest installation in the show, transforming both the shape and nature of the gallery. The artwork directly references the Nazca Lines in Peru, which are a series of massive geoglyphs that were carved in the earth between 1,500 and 2,500 years ago. Although anthropologists believe they were created by the ancient Nazca people, the large pictographic symbols are popularly believed to be made by aliens. Liang Ban reproduces these famous lines in the phosphorescent paint on the walls of a large custom built curved black room. Through this installation, Liang Ban emphasizes not only the mystery of how and why an early human civilization created the lines, but also why it is easier for some to believe aliens made the lines. Ultimately, Neon Wilderness: Nazca Lines calls into question our ability to understand ourselves.
Displayed within Neon Wilderness: Nazca Lines, goodtimes badtimes is a two-channel video work displayed on twin LED screens that loop hand-drawn portraits of winners of well-known awards from The Oscars, Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and Grammy Awards in the last century. One of the screens is labeled "Good Times" and the other "Bad Times." The artwork is based on Japanese economist Yuji Shimanaka's theory on the relation between sunspot activity and economic movement as well as American psychologist Terry F. Pettijohn's theory that during times of economic hardship the general public prefers celebrities and musicians who have hardened, mature, and masculine facial features; while in a period of economic growth celebrities often appear to be baby-faced and possess what can be described as an innocent appearance. The straightforward language and relatively basic visuals of the artwork further convey that our seemingly complex cultural movements are in essence simple.
The final work of the show is also located in Neon Wilderness: Nazca Lines, it is titled Arrested Lightning. The video work features the artist dressed as the same vagabond from Pirate Utopias. This time he is in the midst of chasing and attempting to capture lighting. As he slowly makes his way through a frozen forest, the intense and captivating energy of the piece leads only to a comically absurd ending. From the top of a cliff, the vagabond dramatically hurls a lasso in the sky to capture a bolt of lightning. The apparently serious, but nonetheless absurd attempt serves as a metaphor for the impossibility of not only capturing Mother Nature but also understanding ourselves as well as the civilizations we construct.
关于梁半 About Liang Ban
梁半的个展包括《拓荒者日记》，德萨画廊，香港 (2018)；《梁半／叶甫納：自制世界》，凯尚画廊，纽约，美国 (2017)；《风景浏览器》，德萨画廊，北京，中国 (2016)；《轻微脑震荡》，泰康空间，北京，中国 (2016)；《Game》A4青年艺术家实验季，A4当代艺术中心，成都，中国 (2014)。他的群展包括《镜像》，上海爱琴海公共艺术项目，上海，中国 (2017-18)；《光源度假村》，上海当代艺术博物馆，上海，中国 (2017-18)；《例外状态：中国情境与艺术考察2017》，尤伦斯当代艺术中心，北京，中国 (2017)；《无形地》，墨方空间，北京，中国 (2017)；《朋友圈+：文化馆线上艺术计划展》，OCAT艺术中心，上海，中国 (2017)；《可视恰巧是造成忽视的情境》，集美阿尔勒国际摄影季节，厦门，中国 (2017-18)；《中国当代艺术年鉴展》，民生现代美术馆，北京，中国 (2017)；《数字采样者：或处于网络态叠加中的新世代》，星汇当代美术馆，重庆，中国 (2017)；《仪式逆转》，德萨画廊，香港 (2017)；《GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL》，北京德国文化中心歌德学院，北京，中国 (2016)；《转向-2000年以来的中国当代艺术趋势》，上海民生现代美术馆，上海，中国 (2016)；《闪灵：摄影之后》，泰康空间，北京，中国 (2016)；《以身观身》，澳门艺术博物馆，澳门，中国 (2015)。
梁半1985年生于中国广西，毕业于广西艺术学院。他在2016年获得了集美 · 阿尔勒发现奖提名奖以及入围华宇青年艺术奖；现生活和工作于中国北京。
德萨画廊于1977年在巴黎创立，其后扩展至美国、香港和北京等地。德萨画廊代理与展出来自世界各地艺术家的现当代艺术佳作，在举办高品质当代艺术展览的同时，也策划了一系列具史论价值的艺术项目。自2010年进驻香港以来，德萨画廊先后举办了陈箴、朱德群、汉斯·哈特 (Hans Hartung) 、罗伯特·劳森伯格 (Robert Rauschenberg) 、奥古斯特·罗丹 (Auguste Rodin) 、贝纳尔·韦特 (Bernar Venet) 、赵无极等知名艺术大师的展览。同时，画廊亦多次给大家带来如《具体派》和《现代中国油画的巴黎先锋》等开创性的群展。2017年，画廊搬至香港艺术新聚集地——黄竹坑，开设了一个面积达一万英尺的空间，旨在给观众带来欣赏艺术大师名作更好体验的同时，也为国际当代艺术家提供一个相对不设限的展示平台。另外值得一提的是，德萨画廊于2014年在北京著名的草场地艺术区设立了一个面积达八千英尺的全新空间，致力于关注及推动多元化的本土艺术家。