Critical Configuration: Leo Gallery Shanghai

14 June - 26 July 2020

Artists: Fu Jiani, Lang Can, Ma Jing, Sophie Zhang


Curator: Li Yiwen


Borderline usually refers to the minimum conversion condition to switch one state or physical quantity to another. The two ends of the boundary here could refer to image and imago, concrete and abstract, sense and logic and such opposite but interactional and symbiotic elements in painting, while the artwork could be taken as the relics of these tangled elements.


Configuration is the method of constructing glyphs in hieroglyphs (Chinese characters). This concept is borrowed here to illustrate the complex, multiple and traceable structural relationships among figure, meaning, consciousness, image, and form in paintings. Text and language are always embedded in human’s way of thinking. Meanwhile the semi-abstract construction features of hieroglyphics in China is also embedded in Chinese people’s way of understanding and practice of art. In this exhibition which is related to painting, we use the method of creating Chinese characters – Formbuilding (“Pictograms” “Ideograms” “Ideogrammic compounds”, etc.) – to refer to and demonstrate the ways of constructions and logics of creating of the four artists.


Unlike professional theorists and curators who take the logic of art history as basis, I start from the perspective of practitioners of painting and try to understand painting based on the interest and consciousness of painting history. While doing this, I tend to believe that visual art must start from watching (which belongs to perceptual viewing) and end with watching (which is about cognitive viewing). The view originated from perception requires us to fully open our sensory channels, to feel our interactions with the artist with eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind while facing the artworks. At this moment, no texts or knowledge about painting could replace perception but be concealed under perception and governed by perception. Nonetheless, the realization of consciousness and concepts under perception is the terminal of the process of appreciation.