10 Years Anniversary

13 Jun 2024 – 13 Jul 2024

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

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Lychee One

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 254, 277, 106, 388
  • London Fields
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‘We always think of imagination as the faculty that forms images. On the contrary, it deforms what we perceive; it is, above all, the faculty that frees us from immediate images and changes them.’
- Gaston Bachelard in ‘Air and Dreams: An Essay on the Imagination of Movement’ (1943)

Lychee One, a commercial galley that has situated itself in the East London landscape since its founding, turns ten this year! And this epigraph written in 1943 by the French philosopher Bachelard captures Lychee One’s central concern for the figuring of the imagination. Between the naming and the doing, something has occurred, and an identity has been formed. The moniker Lychee One has remained a mystery, as it is both an image-object and a concept, a trace of something. But what is this evasive continuity? Perhaps we will have to wait another ten years for that something to come into focus.

Meanwhile, there is a history of exhibitions and a list of artists who have passed through this space, with Lychee One temporarily hosting a cornucopia of ideas put forth visually by these artists who sought a particular type of attention from their works’ viewers. The artwork on display was at times experimental and at other times an attempt to locate tendencies in different art forms.The artistic proclivities that have circulated over the last decade at Lychee One include figuration, post-symbolism, surrealism, virtual worlds, the fragment, the mythical, decorative excess and even science fiction, to name a few, with each of these elements potentially in service of an ‘other worldly’, hybrid constellation of encounter. These presentations have each in their own way explored ways of extending cultural codes to encapsulate this ‘other worldly’ imaginary. In other words, the exotic and the esoteric have been linked together in order to privilege imagination.

Another strand of preoccupation for Lychee One has been the emergence of Chinese contemporary art within the London context. Exhibitions that followed served to present the work of a distinct generation of artists who wished to establish new memory systems distinct from those of the two continents in which their aesthetic systems were established. This melding of cultures and influences often resulted in the mashing up of figuration and abstraction in such a way as to devise new relations between the two opposing pillars of art.

Alongside the exhibition programme, Lychee One played host to an entire series of pop-up shows and performance evenings that served as an outlet for more speculative explorations. Within this atmosphere of experimentation, there was a sense of a proximity to art school culture, especially the Royal College of Art (the art
school attended by the gallery’s artist founder Lian Zhang), and the idea of both being a gallery and a project space, speaking through a generation of emerging artists that were enlivened by this spirit. This fresh and inventive approach might serve in the quest of defining the name Lychee One as both being an actuality and an abstraction, but perhaps there is an in-between state, and it is this in-betweenness that has been pursued by Lychee One over the last ten years. It is this quality that has made it difficult to define the preoccupations of the gallery but also this liminal space might be a source of fascination. Therefore, within Lychee One’s production of a concrete show-by-show experience, it has created a circulation that is closer to a trace element in the air, like a fragrance of a fruit perhaps.

This survey exhibition is co-curated by gallery director James Hu and independent curator Marcelle Joseph, who curated five exhibitions at Lychee One over the last five years, and weaves together an archive of imagination taken from the artists who have shown at Lychee One over the last decade, while creating a reflection of the now.

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