LEO XU PROJECTS is proud to present “alias: aaajiao” the first solo exhibition of widely exhibited young Chinese media artist Xu Wenkai, who is based in Shanghai working under the vague internet alias ofaaajiao. The exhibition comprises a body of new and commissioned works, which measure the new dimension of high technology and media-based works, and address the issues derived from contemporary living with Internet and digital technology. The exhibition runs from January 16th through March 8th, 2015, with a series of events and presentations to take place on and off line. The artist will be present at the opening reception on Friday January 16th, 5-7pm.
As the title suggests, “alias: aaajiao” highlights an intense sci-fi aspect of aaajiao’s recent projects that re-imagines the capacity and direction of technology and pictures the future of human living and physical transformation through evolving notion of time and space, which has been subjects of films and many other pop culture products in the past two years. The centerpiece of the show “Karesansui” (2015) is a site-specific sculpture that borrows its title from Japanese Dry Landscape also known as the Rock Garden. Created by his algorithm and made of sponges that look as firm as rock, aaajiao’s “Karesansui” presents an unsettling dystopian scenery of numerous pitch-black mutant limbs that grow out of the gallery’s floors, walls, and stairway, sprawling all over and competing with each other. Another set of sculptures “Anomaly” (2015)—produced in technique and material identical to “Karesansui” but in the shape of meteors—celebrates the classic beauty of dark imagination of bio and physical mutation that has been frequent to the sci-fi cinema and visual representation.
Having collaborated with a team of media artist, designer, programmer and engineer, aaajiao has been testing the complexity of digitized still-life and landscape works. “Obj. 3” and “Obj. 4” (made in 2014), two video portraits of stones on miniature screens, introduced a new dimension of time and space to a classic and painterly composition. “Limited Landscape, Unlimited” is an on-going series that explores the geologic evolution, by visualizing the ever-changing landscape through his algorithmic study and digital rendering. The project includes a video showcasing infinite possibilities of geologic formation, a set of photographs of pixelized land, and a maglev installation featuring a sculpture prototype spinning in the air.
On the third floor of gallery will be a commissioned new project, in which aaajiao has invented his own methodology to investigate the invisible physical operation of meridian system (in Chinese herbal medicine and philosophy). He incorporates the contemporary Fractal Theory and computer algorithm in his research to trace the energy channels and points within human body, transplanting this internal micro universe into tattoo patterns and gallery space. A variation of the presentation will also be on view in gallery’s booth in forthcoming Frieze Art Fair New York.
Actively online as a media artist, blogger, activist and programmer, aaajiao is the virtual persona of Shanghai-based artist Xu Wenkai, whose offline practices include a celebrated entrepreneur of co-working projects XINDANWEI—that tested a new way of living and working nomad in cosmopolitan Shanghai—and an inspiring teacher of New Media art. Born in 1984 in one of China’s oldest cities Xi’an, aaajiao’s art and works are marked by a strong dystopian awareness—his year of birth being the synonym of Orwell’s classic allegory novel—and literati spirits and sophistication. Many of aaajiao’s works speak to new thinking, controversies and phenomenon around Internet, with specific projects focusing on the processing of Data, the blogsphere and China’s Great Fire Wall. Aaajiao’s recent projects extend his practice to various disciplines (architecture, electronic music, performance, product design, medicine, among many others) to take the pulse of a young generation consuming and living in cyber technology and social media.