White Rabbit Gallery -

The Dark Matters

The Dark Matters

16 08.03–30.07.2017

The Dark Matters

How Black is Darkness?

The ancient Chinese got their ink from smoky oil lamps, brushing away deposited soot and mixing it into a paste that hardened into “stones”. This black was pure, indelible and did not fade, and they fell in love with it. They used it not only for writing but for painting, which they saw as just another way to express their thoughts.

By adjusting the ink’s dilution and the density of their brushstrokes, painters could create a multitude of shades, from deepest blue-black to palest dove grey. Black had always been the colour of mystery, night, the void. The better the artists got to know black ink, the more superficial, even gaudy, colour seemed. As the Daoist philosopher Laozi declared: “Colours cause the eye to go blind.” Black—utterly simple yet infinitely subtle—allowed one to see the truth.

Chinese artists no longer live in a simple, natural, orderly world. They get their blacks not just from ink stones but from printer cartridges, spray cans, propane torches, X-ray film, newsprint, polyester, computer bits and steel. And they use blacks to convey realities the classical masters never dreamed of: oil spills, air pollution, megacities, mass production and political machinations. The artists in this show don’t shun light or colour, but in using them they follow Laozi’s advice: “Know the white, but hold to the black.” Containing more than ever, the dark also conceals more than ever. And it matters more than ever that we see.

Lin Yan Sky 2, 2016 ink, paper
dimensions variable
Sun Lei Clarity, 2009 plastic on lightbox
80 x 140 x 160 cm
Shi Jinsong Design 2007—Instruments of Torture, 2007 steel, paint
123 x 220 x 51 cm
Li Qiang Seascape, 2015 printed paper
156 x 330 cm
Kong Chun Hei Brick, 2014 ink on paper on board
6 pcs
ea 6 x 9.8 x 21.5 cm
Shao Fan Five-Legged Table, 2011 red sandalwood
88 x 100 x 30 cm
Wu Chi-Tsung Crystal City 007, 2015 metal, motor, plastic, LEDs
dims variable
Nick Dong Cosmic Dance, 2015 mixed media
109 x 62 x 62 cm
Feng Mengbo Not Too Late, 2010 video installation
dims variable
Lin Ke Star Travel, 2013 video animation
2 min 10 sec
Wang Weiyu Let’s Wait Together, 2014 video animation
4 min 36 sec
Dai Hua Monkey King, 2016 video animation
4 min 30 sec
Edie Yang The Fruit, 2012 video animation
1 min 30 sec
Cheng Ran Summanus Butterfly, 2010 video
4 min 22 sec
Zhou Zixi Xiaogang Caves 025, 2015 oil on canvas
300 x 602 cm
XU ZHEN® Under Heaven 0302VS0137, 2013 oil on canvas
170 x 250 cm
Zhang Jin Enlarging a Classic Photograph, 2014 gelatin silver print on X-ray film on Plexiglas
90 x 72 cm
Fame Is the Sum of the Misunderstandings that Gather About a New Name, 2014 digital print on Plexiglas
72 x 90 cm
Hu Liu Grass, 2015 pencil on paper
109 x 253 cm
Trace series, 2015–16 Polaroid emulsion lifts
various dimensions
Gao Ge Trinity, 2010–13 carbonised wood
67 x 437 x 80 cm
Lin Tianmiao Focus 1 and 2, 2007 lithographs on handmade paper with mixed media
ea 128 x 102 cm
The Sea in the Sea 60 and 61, 2015 ink on paper
124 x 246 cm
Li Xiaofei Assembly Line—Silent Series 2, 10, 35, 2012-14 videos
A Packet of Salt, 2013 video
7 min 26 se
A Cart of Coal, 2015 video
10 min 52 sec
Yang Mushi Grinding, 2013-16 lacquered wood
55 x 510 x 780 cm
Chen Chun-Hao 12 Animals—Rabbit, Monkey, Chicken, 2015 headless nails on canvas on board
ea 60 x 60 cm
Past Exhibitions
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