Yao Qingmei at 'A Separation', Gallery Yang

25 November - 31 December, 2017

Curator: Zhu Zhu
Artists: Chen Ke, Dong Jinling, Feng Lin, Hu Yinping, Liu Shiyuan, Liu Silin, Qin Jin, Shen Xin, Xie Qi, Yang Yuanyuan, Yao Qingmei,Zhou Jie, Zhu Tian

Yao Qingmei's work Dance! Dance! Bruce Ling! (2013) is on view at Gallery Yang in its exhibition 'A Separation'.

The title ofthis exhibition, A Separation, is taken from a film directed by Asghar Farhadi. Here it means a separation from self. The exhibition studies the theme that one living individual becomes another in some creative and virtual way, so as to get out of the unique perspective and restrictions of oneself, and look back at that self with eyes of  " the other". Meanwhile, it is also an effort to reflect on feeling, ethics, individual identity, social space, historical context, cultural blending, metaphysical belief, and the boundary of art.

This exploration is not grounded in gender. One has reason to say that "the fluidity of identity" is the theoretical basis of the exhibition, but these artists have not been confined by the stereotypical identities given by theories and constructed in various circumstances. Rather, more often than not they have emphasized the differences between stereotypes, and by stubbornly asking questions arising from their experiences, reconstructed the possibilities of self-cognition and self-transcendence.

Part I of the exhibition puts emphasis on physical and mental experiences of individuals, and Part II's emphasis is on expanding the life experience with fictional texts, and asking for meanings in the process of deconstructing or re-organizing histories; Part III sharpens the relations of individual beings with public space and social environment. It is notable that such themes are interwoven in these artworks, and the structural segmentation of the display space only serves as a guiding clue for viewers.

In the work Dance! Dance! Bruce Ling! Yao Qingmei assumes the guise of a fictional persona ‘Bruce Ling’
holding a hammer and sickle in each hand. The performance progresses in a dance sequence amongst a
painted bamboo scenery referencing kung fu, socialist era renditions, and ballet.

This piece is a combination of performance art and minimalist spectacle. The action that smashes the pot
along with the depletion of the body retains hallmarks of Body Art, whilst the scenery and distance to the
audience appears adapted from theatre. The artist modulates Bruce Lee’s cry by way of an aria, whilst the
pianist accompanies her action with a heavily romanticized rendition of Fury of the Dragon theme tune. The
transformation of action culminates towards a paradoxical situation, Bruce Ling’s dance is in all seriousness,
too serious, her stiff body is awkward – the humor is further charged with the earnest artist trying ever so
hard to embody a character transcending beyond the limits of the artist’s own natural aptitude.

About Yao Qingmei

Yao Qingmei (b.1983, Zhejiang) currently lives and works in Paris. She achieved DNSEP with honors from Villa Arson, Nice, France in 2013, and was awarded the winner of Prix spécial du jury at the 59th Salon de Montrouge the next year. Yao often uses an interventionist approach to re-imagine and perturb the parameters of reality to yield new possibilities. Layering absurdist gesture with poetic action, a particular emphasis is placed on how symbolic gestures gain or lose power through acts of displacement and appropriation. Her theatrical performances and interventions find form in areas overlapping burlesque techniques of parody, which combine with framing devices influenced by theatre sets and costume, pedagogical lectures, political satire and modern dance choreography.

About the curator

Zhu Zhu, poet, art curator, art critic, was born in September 1969. He won the Second Anne-Kao Poetry Prize and the third Chinese Contemporary Art Critic Award (CCAA). He is the author of collection of poems, essays and art reviews, including Franch version poetry ‘Blue Smoke’ (2004, French version, translator: Chantal Chen—Andro), ‘Gray Carnival: Chinese Contemporary Art Since 2000’ (Collection of ‘Imaginist’ by Guangxi Normal University Press in 2013, published by ARTCO Journal in 2016). The English version poetry anthology ‘The Wild Great Wall’ will be published by Phoneme Media in United States.