Cold shivery breeze from the 50th parallel north; thunder clouds are pouring down the flickering forest – amazed by the splendid nature. Time is infinitely slowed down in the battle between magnificence and insignificance, speed and stillness, as if particles of dust are floating in the eye. The sudden weightlessness is transformed into primitive motivation, becoming the conflict and harmony in the infinite, cyclic, and ethereal inspiration of the creation.”  

— Chen Yingjie, on "Gravity"

Whitestone Gallery H Queen’s is honored to present “The Dust of a Long Journey'', the first solo exhibition of Chinese artist Chen Yingjie in Whitestone’s Hong Kong space. The exhibition comprehensively showcases the artist’s creative context and development in recent years, especially the philosophical thinking and new attempts of painting revealed in "Gravity" and "Shangri-La" series. In the unprecedented pandemic times, Chen contemplates the dialectical relationship between man and nature, ecology and civilization, as well as self and other. The artist attempts to explore the eternal tension between artist and art through his action paintings incorporating abstract and figurative components, and rediscover the position of the individual spirits and regional cultures in the ever-changing world.

The exhibition showcases over 20 works including works from "Gravity", "Reconstruct Universe" and "Breaking" series, as well as some of the artist’s video materials, which not only extends Chen’s long-standing flamboyant personality and enthusiasm in his creations, but also alludes to his little- known delicate and introspective qualities. The exhibition presents the explorations in his current creations that are restrained yet free, and the rich contradiction and harmony, “synchronicity” in his paintings. 

The series "Breaking" recreates the classic dragon image in Chinese culture through the innovative use of street painting tools. The artist defines his own existence through the extended relationship between body, tools and canvas. The cultural symbol in "Reconstruct Universe" takes reference from Lingnan folk traditions of the artist's hometown Foshan, as a result of the interaction between individual experience and socio-historical memory. Putting emphasis on the integration of painting and music, Chen also highlights the consistent feature of 'live' and 'performance' in his practice — this series was in fact created in the company of passionate rhythm music. As one of the artist’s latest series of works, "Gravity" starts with the tradition of Chinese landscape painting and recreates images of individuality, and eventually abandons the dependence on symbols and tends towards abstract yet candid expressions. Whether it is the surreal combination of mountains and rivers, color blocks resembling the growth of cells or the application of fluorescent materials, Chen’s works creates a fragile yet balanced ecosystem that contains everything.

"Shangri-La" as a sub-series of the "Gravity" series was carried out in the Shangri-La region of Yunnan. As a combination of realistic and impressionistic sketching, the work pursues a focused experiment on lines and spirit in monochromatic colors. Some improvised on the mountains, and some cultivated in the studio, the works project the artist’s elastic relationship between external and internal self on different scales of time and space. The creative tools, manuscripts and video materials showcased in the exhibition play a role as alternative footnotes, reminding the audience that all the multifarious creations at the end return to the same specific yet complex mind of the artist.  At the end of the day, the evolution of art forms is closely related to reality — this is the artist's humble and keen response to his life experience in these changing times.

About the curator:

Chris Wan Feng is an independent curator and art critic living and working in Hong Kong. His writings are featured in various art media including Artforum. He is also the founder and editor in chief of Hong Kong independent art media "Daoju".

HONG KONG / H Queen’s

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