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curating: EXiM 2020 (i) — “Straightforward” – Works by Chen Qiang


Called the “2+1+2 Programme”, EXiM 2020 is kicked off with “Straightforward – Works by Chen Qiang” and “Heart to Heart – Experimental Video Exhibition”. Since 2018, EXiM has been presented in exhibition format instead of screening. Works will not merely be screened, but also be displayed via video installation. Doing so can better reflect the diversity in the creation of contemporary experimental moving images.

The exhibition “Straightforward” invites Chen Qiang, an artist from Chengdu, to display his three collections of works, namely “It’s Been a Lifetime Like a Dream”, “Reluctant Wandering”, “Everything Has a Spirit”. The first collection, “It’s Been a Lifetime Like a Dream”, consists of three silent and one sound 3D animation videos that form a piece of installation work, which shows a stark difference from the other two collections. It does not have a narrative plot, but is permeated with a sense of helplessness over the passage of time and dream-like fragmented images. The main visual composition of “Reluctant Wandering” is created with bright colour blocks or silhouettes that are minimal and a little coarse yet unconstrained, in a childlike graffiti style. These playful images show a sharp contrast to the heavy storyline, which describes people’s struggle, provocation and even confrontation with the spread of the virus, difficulties in life and the unfair system. Although the plot is absurd, it puts forward a straightforward, crude irony on the most real facet of reality. The four films in “Everything Has a Spirit” are all shot in a real life setting, but presented in the form of stop-motion animation, putting the work in a surreal space and time and rhythm of life. With the films telling story by personalizing foods and objects, and due to the small size of the objects, the shots are captured from non-human perspectives and most shots are low angle and close-ups, resulting in limited visual ranges that make the audience feel like having to bend down and even squat or crane the neck in order to closely look at the corners or trivial details in our everyday life. The works of this solo exhibition, just as Chen Qiang said, “reflect my thoughts about the living environment”.

Apart from appreciating works by Chen Qiang, exhibition goers can also visit “Heart to Heart – Experimental Video Exhibition” featuring Chinese experimental moving images curated by the artist on the second floor. The co-relation of the titles of the two exhibitions can reflect Chen Qiang’s selection preference of works, as he points out that “the two exhibitions are interrelated”. Chen Qiang himself designed the exhibition posters, with visual elements and exhibition titles having the flavor of early action movies made in Hong Kong. In fact, both Chen Qiang’s works and his curatorial ideas can let people have a feel into that kind of cherished brotherhood and camaraderie spirit upheld by the characters under confusing circumstances in those years in their turbulent world.

Bianca Lei, 2020/08


Organisation:Ox Warehouse
Sponsors:Instituto Cultural、Fundação Macau
Single Cyber Media Support:Beyond the Bay

related links: EXiM