October Gallery will present the works of selected artists from Asia including; Jukhee Kwon, Tian Wei, Huang Xu, Govinda Sah ‘Azad’, Kenji Yoshida and Xu Zhongmin. Present Moment brings together artists whose work creates a momentary stillness. Each piece captures a meditative moment of serene lightness.
Present Moment will debut striking new works by South Korean artist Jukhee Kwon. The artist creates works from the printed page. Using abandoned and disused books, she cuts and manipulates pages by hand to create magnificent sculptures. These sculptures, brimming with energy, reimagine the form of each book to a new existence through this transformational creative process. Much of her work plays with ideas of destruction and re-creation.
Kwon’s cutting and expanding of books alludes to a feeling of freedom and movement, mimicking her own migratory experience. As she cuts each page, the process becomes a means to travel the tracks of half-held memories and to retrace those first conscious steps towards the creation of a new life. As Kwon notes, “For me, each book has individual personality and it has narrative and history like a human being.”
Tian Wei was born in Xi’an, the first imperial capital of China, and original starting point of the Silk Road, which played a seminal role in linking East and West together in a complex network of trade and reciprocal exchange.
Tian Wei’s large scale colourful paintings, both theoretically and formally, construct a bridge between things that appear as dyadic opposites, binary poles or complementary pairs through his inclusion of text. On trying to read Wei’s words as Chinese characters the viewer soon realises the flowing shapes can only be resolved in English. The lines spell out simple English nouns and adjectives such as ‘Light’ and ‘Soul.’ These carefully chosen words give the viewer access to the artist’s lived experience of both Eastern and Western spheres.
Huang Xu, from China, focuses on a singular object, carefully staged to capture its ethereal beauty as opposed to its meaning within contemporary culture. In his Fragments series he creates large-scale C-prints that explore the fragile nature of the contemporary global economy. The tattered remains of abandoned plastic bags are digitally remodelled, using 3-D scanners, to produce images of haunting luminosity. Huang Xu elevates this detritus to inspirational heights. Far from resembling waste, his densely textured, luminous prints suggest the fine silk textiles of Imperial China, evoking an age of decadence and wealth, recalling the historic trade links between China and the West. His latest series works focuses on the sensual, yet fragile aspects of nature.
Through painting, Nepalese artist Govinda Sah ‘Azad’ effortlessly balances traditional eastern metaphysical insights about the nature of reality with visual realisations that are in accord with the latest formulations of contemporary western science, Sah imagines a cosmos of boundless possibilities. A painter of tempestuous skies and cosmic explosions, Sah is drawn towards the unknown.
Sah’s cloud-scapes represent energy transformations between different physical states and become metaphors of our collective emotional states.
The cloud is an ancient symbol of connection between heaven and earth, between water and air and between the natural and the supernatural orders in many different traditions around the world.
Kenji Yoshida (1924-2009) was born in Ikeda City (part of present-day Osaka), Yoshida first studied art under Kiyoshi Hayashi Sensei before the outbreak of WWII. Selected for training as a kamikaze pilot, Yoshida was extremely lucky to survive his teens. It was under the weight of many such memories, that Yoshida returned to his art. From that point onwards the majority of Yoshida’s work carried the single, most telling of all titles, Sei-Mei - La Vie - Life.
Yoshida’s monumental works consist of ethereal gold, silver and precious metals on canvas which unite a restrained tradition of Japanese appliqué work with that of an abstract modernist aesthetic.
In 1964, Yoshida left Japan permanently and moved to Paris, the acknowledged centre of Modernism. This move brought Yoshida’s work into the great movements of the time. He was confronted by the heady shock of the Abstract Expressionists, in particular Rothko and Motherwell, who both employ similarly abstract forms in striving for the transcendent spirituality that characterises Yoshida’s art.
In 1993, Yoshida became the first living artist ever to be given a solo exhibition at the Japanese Galleries of the British Museum.
In the exhibited works Xu Zhongmin (China), uses the traditional technique of Chinese wood-block printing with delicately incised lines chiselled in to 'pear wood' blocks. These lines trace complicated networks of forms whose sinuous appearance belies the fact that they are composed entirely of meticulously straight incisions. The lines bring to life a series of towering city-scapes, stylised and distorted, but stamped with a range of individual atmospheres passing from bustling movement to quiet serenity. His most recent works are inspired by both the architect Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome and the recurring patterns that pervade Tibetan Buddhist iconography. The intricate sculptures contain stainless-steel egg-planets circling silver skeletons and babies on a repetitive on a furious march to nowhere.
Notes to Editors
Biographies of artists exhibited:
Jukhee Kwon was born in South Korea. She studied Fine Art at Chung-Ang University, Seoul, before obtaining an MA from Camberwell College of Arts, London. She lives and works in Italy. As well as solo and group shows at October Gallery, Kwon has had solo shows at Seorabul Gallery, Korea and Camberwell College of Arts Library, London and featured in several group exhibitions in London including at GX Gallery, Barge House Gallery, Hanmi Gallery and La Scatola Gallery.
Tian Wei was born in Xi’an. Tian Wei left China for Hawaii, in 1986, to pursue a career in the arts. Upon completing his MFA in Hawaii, 1990, he subsequently settled in California. After years of travelling back and forth between America and China, he has been based in Beijing since 2011.
Last year, Tian Wei was Artist-in-Residence for the Getty Research Institute 2017 – 2018 residency which explored the theme ‘’Iconoclasm and Vandalism.’’
Most recently, Wei’s work was exhibited in a solo show at the October Gallery. (November, 2018 – January, 2019)
Huang Xu was born in Beijing in 1968. He established the Substratum Art Studio in 1989, the Migrant Bird Art Studio in 1991 and the Big Basin Studio in 2003. He has exhibited internationally and works as a professional photographer in Beijing. Inclusive of group and solo exhibitions at October Gallery, Xu has had solo shows at Seva Frangos Gallery, Perth, Australia; China Art Projects, Hong Kong; YU Gallery, Paris, France and Galeria Tagomago, Barcelona, Spain and exhibited in group shows at Museum China Australian History, Melbourne, Australia; White Rabbit Museum,Sydney, Australia and Osage Gallery Beijing,Beijing, China.
Govinda Sah ‘Azad’ was born in Nepal, where he studied Fine Arts at Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, before completing his MFA at Wimbledon College of Arts, in 2008. An avid admirer of J. M. W. Turner, Sah followed in the footsteps of the Romanticist, and now lives and works in Margate.
As well as October Gallery, Sah has had solo shows at Asia House, London, UK; Nepal Art Council Gallery, Kathmandu, Nepal; National Art Gallery,
Shilpakala Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh and Tibet House, New York, USA and taken part in group shows at Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; Academy of Fine Art, Kathmandu, Nepal and Beppu Art Museum, Beppu, Japan.
Xu Zhongmin was born in Sichuan in 1961. After graduating from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, he chaired the Ba Di Cao Arts Society. That same year he moved to Beijing, where he immersed himself in the thriving art scene and participated in many exhibitions. He later also moved to England in 1992 where he lived and worked for many years until returning to China. His work has been exhibited internationally including in Europe, China, Japan and South Africa. He currently has a studio in Beijing.
Exhibition: Present Moment
Dates: 24th January – 23rd February 2019
Private View: Wednesday 23nd January, 2019
Venue: October Gallery
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Press contact: Paige Ashley - 020 7242 7367
Image Credit: Huang Xu, Fragments No. 3, 122×182cm. C-print. Image courtesy the Artist and October Gallery, London.