Exhibition - Xu Zhenbang: Look Again - a Warhol for the computer age
The Shenzhen-born artist stretches Warhol's screen-printing techniques into our computer-slick world to add text and distort familiar objects.
Some of China's best artists to emerge in recent years have studied at the Sichuan Fine Art Institute in Chongqing. Xu Zhenbang - a 26-year-old currently completing his postgraduate studies at the institute - is one of the latest to come to light. In his new solo exhibition at Pékin Fine Arts, he presents a series of intriguing paintings.
Following artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, Xu takes everyday objects, signs and patterns and technically manipulates and distorts the images. But the Shenzhen-born artist stretches Warhol's screen-printing techniques into our computer-slick world to add text and distort familiar objects. In some paintings the output of a laser print is laid atop the canvas; in others the artist paints his carefully planned distorted designs.
In GR.EATWA.LL, Xu presents the well-known red, white and blue bag pattern as a fragmented and manipulated image of the Great Wall as a landscape. In another work, the image of a Phoenix is depicted swirling as if dissolved in acid across a canvas of universally familiar black-and-yellow directional road signs.
In PROP.IT.IOUS (pictured) he embeds four dragons within the circular test patterns seen at the start and end of a day's television broadcast.
Xu says his deconstructed paintings reflect that we have "the ability to obtain all kinds of information... As a result, considerable change has occurred in the way we form memories… Fragmented recollections and kaleidoscopic online 'browsing' experiences inform our external, ontological presence and internal self-knowledge."
Distortion, manipulation and the explosion of reality are the tools of an artist. If this smart exhibition is any indication, Xu could be another compelling image manipulator to come out of the Sichuan Fine Art Institute.
Xu Zhenbang: Look Again, Pékin Fine Arts. Until November 17