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September 21, 2019

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Exhibition cracks open the gap in appearances

NARROW, wedge-shaped and rectilinear rays of fluorescent yellow, red, blue, green, orange and pink crack open extensive planes of dilapidated rusted metal surfaces.

The works are a solo exhibition “Xia Xi” by young contemporary artist Fu Shuai that is being showcased at the Art+ Shanghai Gallery through October 27.

At all times of his artistic practice, Fu has been committed to exploring the ideas of reality, illusion and perception. This new series illustrates his underpinning thematic preoccupations focusing on reality and its deceptive appearance, facilitated by the advent and omnipresence of technologies in our daily life.

At first glance, the works look like rusted iron. However, most of them are actually paintings constructed on sheets of parchment paper or wooden panels with layers of acrylic paint mixed in with iron powder and metallic items, such as nails and hinges.

The title “Xia Xi” is an archaic Chinese phrase for a crack or gap.

“Facing computers and mobile phones every day, we have already gotten used to the machine-made fluorescent light,” Fu said. “Rust is an allegory of the Industrial Age — it incorporates rich textural details and the concept of time. The luminous colors of the Digital Era, or what I rather call, Dislocation Era that we live in today, emerge through the ‘cracks’ of iron reality.”

Fu hopes that his works will make the viewers aware of the rich details they neglect in their daily lives.

A few hidden photographs of rusty metallic surfaces next to their strikingly realistic pictorial portrayals present yet another challenge to the viewers. It requires scrupulous observation and keen judgment to distinguish the photographs, the paintings and the ready-mades incorporated in the paintings.

“Modern technologies are too advanced,” Fu said. “When real objects and their digital copies are juxtaposed, people find it difficult to tell the difference.

“The problem is that we become numb to our surroundings, not even concerned with the question. We take whatever we see as real and no longer question the boundary.”

This is the first time Fu, a Tianjin-based artist, has held an exhibition in Shanghai.

Part of why he chose Shanghai is that the theme resonates with the spirit of city — the collision between old and new, history and modern.


Date: Through October 27 (closed on Mondays), 10am-7pm

Venue: Art + Shanghai Gallery

Address: 191 Nansuzhou Rd


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