(006) He Yida
'A Tree Fell in the Forest, and No One's There', Group Exhibition
5/F Gallery 7, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China, [02.11.18 - 24.02.19]
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Following from Edouard Malingue Gallery’s great commitment to creating dialogue between the East and West, Condo will finally come to Shanghai in July 2018. “Condo”—taken from “Condominium” (com “together” and dominium “right of ownership”, referring to a territory formally shared by different powers)—is a new format for international galleries to collaborate in exhibition-making. This inaugural edition of Condo Shanghai will include nine participating local galleries from Shanghai, which will welcome and share their spaces with thirteen international galleries, displaying major works by artists they represent alongside those of the invited galleries.
Edouard Malingue Gallery, together with two renowned German galleries, will present The Soul of the Soulless, a three-person exhibition. Esther Schipper will present a large-scale installation by the British-born artist Simon Fujiwara and König Galerie sculptures and drawings by German artist Andreas Schmitten. As the host gallery, Edouard Malingue Gallery is proud to present the works of the local Shanghainese artist He Yida in dialogue with these two established artists on the same platform.
Simon Fujiwara (born in 1982) has an oeuvre that crosses multiple media, from sculpture and installation to video and painting, referencing worlds as diverse as advertising and archaeology. His work reflects on the connections between the individual and the social through fictional personal histories and archaeologies. This exhibition will show Rebekkah (2012), a work that combines sculpture and video. Fujiwara’s work takes as a point of departure Rebekkah, a sixteen-year-old girl who once took part in the 2011 London riots. The artist filmed her two-week-long trip to China, which was part of her “resocialisation” programme. In China, she visited a factory of flat screen TVs and a sportswear manufacturing plant, witnessing the real production environment of some of the goods stolen by her and her peers in the riot. She also visited Xi’an, home of the Terracotta Army, and subsequently Rebekkah toured a factory where modern terracotta figures are produced. Here casts of her were made in the style of the terracotta warriors. To date, there have been over 130 terracotta-warrior-style sculptures of Rebekkah made, which are presented around the world in Fujiwara’s exhibitions. These terracotta casts of Rebekkah are products manufactured in large-scale assembly lines, the craft value and hand produced mistakes of each assembly line workers can be visibly traced in the sculptures. Yet at the heart of this new production is a young British woman who engaged in the destruction of the long-solidified relations between production and occupation. Fujiwara’s work is very often inspired by real events in the real world; through his distinctive narrative and subtle logical structures, the artist explores the construction of individual and social identities.
Andreas Schmitten (born in 1980) presents a body of sculptural works with bright, alluring colours. The forms are inspired by everyday life and yet somewhat appear awkward. Distorted and abstracted pieces of furniture and vessels no longer possess functionality, while the glossy, shiny surfaces have an eerie aesthetic quality. In this exhibition, Schmitten displays among a series of sketch paintings that appear similar to instruction manuals for products two new vitrine works and his sculptural installation “Festung” (“Fortress”). The white lacquered bronze-sculpture is an abstract female figure, which often appears in different shapes often in his body of work. This enigmatic figure is leaning towards the pink window-like object, reminiscent of European Gothic Church windows f.e., creating an interaction between the human body and the architecture. Also typical for his work is the play with perfection or beauty on the one hand and with arbitrary parts, like in this case the embroidered seams, on the other. Ory Dessau describes his work as ambiguous and as an uncompromising quest for self-identity and an insistent evasion therefrom. Situated within the expanded field of sculpture, his works introduce an affinity to architecture, painting, technical drawing, product design, stage design and model making, as well as to tailoring and carpentry. The two new Vitrine-works “Representatives”, which Schmitten created for this exhibition seem to display little architectural, stage-like sceneries with thrones or cinema seats spanned by baldachins. The figures in the Chimera Electrified drawings engage in all kinds of self-abusive behaviour, with a process that is calm, absurd, and chilling. Such frightening and yet uncertain behaviour attracts the audience’s attention towards the pain and towards the machinic quality of the body through visual means.
He Yida (born in 1980) meanwhile focuses on the physical characteristics of objects as well as the plastic, form-making connections between objects. Sometimes she changes the materials slightly, while other times she presents works in the original form of the objects themselves. Scattered over the fissures among the objects is the manual labour of the artist. As a glue between the materials, manual labour reveals the fragile human traces through actions such as bending, binding, leaning, and hanging; “primitive” modes of production and “civilized” modes of production are thus mixed and confused. He Yida employs cheap modern materials or found contemporary industrial goods; then through basic modes of manual labour, without involving additional modern processes of reworking, the artist muddles modern, civilised materials and renders them primitive and fundamental. What was originally meant to be grand or great is turned into the common and the ordinary; the muddling and mixing dissolves the sacral. A rebellion is thus born.
The three artists respectively mix sculptures of human figures produced at large quantities, an imagination of machines fused with the human body, as well as certain materials that are practically unpolished—and from there they broach the themes of humanity and human sensations. The works of the three artists have an intense sense of materiality, placing materiality in the most notable position in terms of style and inspiration. In these works are revealed materials seemingly shorn of the spiritual—industrial, mechanical and commercial materials—yet what is sought after and interrogated happens to be the human spirit: the ethics and sensations of human survival.
Simon Fujiwara lives and works in Berlin. His works have been exhibited in solo and group shows at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York, 2015), MOMA – Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2012), Marian Goodman Gallery (Paris, 2015), Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2014), Pace Gallery (London, 2013), Serpentine Gallery (London, 2010), Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, 2013), Leeds Art Gallery (Leeds, 2015), Kunsthaus Bregenz (Austria, 2010), Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf, 2016), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2013), Si Shang Art Museum (Beijing, 2017), etc. Fujiwara’s works have also been included in the permanent collection of institutions such as: The Tate Collection, London; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg; Sammlung Verbund, Austria; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; and MOMA, New York
He Yida currently lives and works in Shanghai. Her solo exhibitions include: Right Misplacement (A+ Contemporary, Shanghai, 2016), In Case (C-Space, Beijing, 2013). Her selected group exhibitions include: One Second Ago (Edouard Malingue Gallery, Hong Kong, 2017), NAN KAN: Inexplicit Ethics and De-ranking Perspective (Surplus Space, Wuhan, 2016), Daily Formalism (BANK, Shanghai, 2016), Alchemy (Between Art Lab, Shanghai, 2015), Peepshow (Long March Space, Beijing, 2015), and Follow (MOCA Shanghai, Shanghai, 2011).
Andreas Schmitten lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. His works have been exhibited in solo and group shows at KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin (2016), The Journal Gallery, New York (2017), Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Germany (2018), Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Bonn (2018), Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2016), etc. Schmitten’s works have also been included in the permanent collection of institutions such as: Heinz Ackermans (London), Kunstmuseum Bonn (Bonn), Kunstsammlung Deutsche Bundesbank (Frankfurt), Museum Kunstpalast (Düsseldorf), Cragg Foundation (Wuppertal), Sifang Art Museum (Nanjing), and G2 Kunsthalle (Leipzig).
 With and Without Identity. On Andreas Schmitten by Ory Dessau excerpt catalogue Andreas Schmitten. Bodies, 2017, p, 100