White Rabbit Gallery -
Exhibitions

Ritual Spirit

Ritual Spirit

17 30.08.2017–28.01.2018

Ritual Spirit

Holy Smoke!

Chinese art was once regarded as a gift from the gods. Artists were conduits between earth and heaven; their aim was not just to capture the beauty of nature but to convey its vital “breath”. Many were recluses or monks, for whom painting and calligraphy were spiritual exercises. But that was long ago, in a China where the “three teachings” of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism suffused every aspect of life.

China today is a different country, where the official “religion” is atheism and most people are too busy making a living to spare much thought for their soul. But interest in spirituality is growing, as is the freedom to pursue it. For some contemporary artists, faith fills a personal need. “I grew up without religion,” says Tianzhuo Chen, a Buddhist. “I think that is one of the reasons I have this longing to believe.” Even for atheists or sceptics, the symbols of religion tap into deep wells of cultural memory and human meaning.

“Art is not like science,” says Gade. “It is concerned with the soul, the spiritual world.” Ni Youyu is not religious, but he thinks “a good artwork should have a sense of the divine”; otherwise, “it is just a pile of paint”. Zheng Guogu believes ideas and imagery from Tibetan Buddhism give “a new dimension” to his work. Other artists put religious symbols in outrageously secular contexts to mock the modern gods of money, power and pleasure.
The artists in RITUAL SPIRIT do not seek to raise man into heaven. But all are trying, in one sense or another, to bring the gods down to earth.

GF
Yu Hong 100 Years of Repose, 2011 gold leaf and acrylic on canvas
418 x 600 cm
1F
Gade Precious Objects, 2007 stone pigments and gold on fabric
200 x 115 cm
Xu Qu Ignorance, 2016 video
2 min 53 sec
Xu Qu Balcony, 2016 iron, found objects, spray paint
300 x 90 x 130 cm
Zong Ning Ginseng Fruit, 2011 inkjet print
175 x 124.5 cm
2F
Chen Yu-Lin God Comes Down to Earth 1–14, 2013 inkjet prints
14 pcs
60 x 72 cm
Geng Xue Mr Sea, 2013-14 video
13 min 15 sec
and porcelain installation
Jun T. Lai Nonexistence, 2009 stainless steel
274 x 295 cm
and video of performance
Peng Hung-Chih Excerpts from the Analects of Confucius, 2008 video
15 min 38 sec
Ni Youyu Dust (Thomas Ruff: 16h 30m –50°), 2016 chalk and glue on blackboard
193 x 280 cm
sketch, 37 x 55 cm
Xu Bing New English Calligraphy—Spring, River, and Flowers on a Moonlit Night, 2012 ink on paper
277 x 588 cm
XU ZHEN® Play 201301, 2013 leather, BDSM accessories, foam, metal, wood, rope
330 x 545 x 300 cm
Zheng Guogu Visionary Transformation of an Insight 2, 2012 oil on canvas
196 x 138 cm
3F
Xia Hang Defence, 2014 stainless steel
200 x 140 cm