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October 13, 2014

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‘Back to Origin’ ruminates on cycle of life

WHEN mentioning silkworm in art circles, most people will immediately think of artist Liang Shaoji.

“Back to Origin,” Liang’s solo exhibition, is on display at H-Space of ShanghART through October 26.

An enormous mixed-media installation, “Destiny” uncovers at first sight a hellish scene: Huge iron chains enveloped in the swampy mud, confronting little lives represented by the struggling, winding silk. The black gold leaking from the heavy chains forms a strong contrast to the delicate silver silk, prompting the viewer to meditate.

This exhibition is a selection of artworks depicting contrasts: heaven and hell, dynamism and statice, hardness and softness. It showcases ambiances that are both quiet and lively. They are mounted simultaneously in H-space and Building 16 of Shanghart Gallery.

Long, soft and lustrous, silk fiber forms a net and a piece of translucent foil. The entire process is accompanied by absolute serenity and introduces from the unseen world the birth of light and life.

“Silk for me, is end of both time and life. It reveals the long process as it lines out the ‘one’ which is both infinitely vast and infinitely trivial,” said Liang.

Born in Shanghai in 1945, Liang graduated from the Zhejiang Fine Arts School in 1965 and studied at the Varbanov Institute of Tapetry in the Zhejiang Academy of Art. Now living deep in the mountains of central Zhejiang Province, Liang takes the entire life cycle of the silkworm as the vehicle to depict interaction with nature.

In the past 25 years, the man nicknamed “the hermit of Chinese contemporary art” explored with great concentration the frontier between art and science, sculpture and installation, performance and multimedia, approaching the ultimate inquiry of both time and life.

“When looking at my artwork, some are amazed that I could let the worm make the silk net on the sheer glass,” he said, “The reason is simple: I let the worm hear the music.”

In his eyes, the oval shape of cocoon suggests the ultimate body of life and the essential configuration of the universe.

“Silkworm or silk, cocoon, moth or egg, they are all productions of nature. And caterpillar producing silk is the natural weaving in the most primal form,” Liang said. “The topics of life are always the beginning, as well as the pinnacle of topics of art.”

Date: Through October 26, 10am-6pm

Venue: ShanghART main space & ShanghART H-Space

Address: Bldg 16 & 18, 50

Moganshan Rd


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