Xu Qu

Hong Kong Tatler - - Features -

With a de­gree from the Nan­jing Arts In­sti­tute and an MFA from Ger­many’s Braun­schweig Univer­sity of Art, this con­cep­tual mul­ti­dis­ci­pline artist is a prod­uct of the new China—in­ter­na­tional yet also Chi­nese, with one foot firmly in the East and the other in the West.

Xu’s Cur­rency Wars se­ries re­flects global con­cerns about eco­nomic, so­cial and political is­sues. He mag­ni­fies and ab­stracts wa­ter­marks from the ban­knotes of var­i­ous cur­ren­cies, re­sult­ing in bold geo­met­ric paint­ings. They touch on the ear­lier ab­strac­tion and min­i­mal­ism of US artists such as Sol Lewitt, Don­ald Judd and Frank Stella, yet also draw from ’80s street art cul­ture—a strong in­flu­ence on the artist when he was grow­ing up. The se­ries is a tonguein-cheek com­men­tary on col­lect­ing and the com­mod­i­fi­ca­tion of art, one in which Xu has lit­er­ally re­duced art to money.

Xu dis­plays the paint­ings back-to-back on mo­bile stands, pair­ing new notes with old ones from each coun­try. The out­lines of the newer side are sharp and clean, while the older notes are blurred and the colours are mud­died. The move­able stands chal­lenge the tra­di­tional no­tions of art dis­play, but they are also in­tended to serve as a metaphor for the cir­cu­la­tion of cur­rency. “The paint­ings can be moved, like the way cur­rency moves and cir­cu­lates,” the artist ex­plains. Im­por­tantly, Xu groups spe­cific cur­ren­cies based on their re­spec­tive coun­tries’ re­la­tion­ships. For the foun­da­tion’s show, he ex­hibits his US dol­lar, euro and RMB paint­ings to re­flect the dom­i­nant eco­nomic and geopo­lit­i­cal cli­mate.

Bentu— Chi­nese Artists at a Time of Tur­bu­lence and Trans­for­ma­tion runs un­til April; A Se­lec­tion of Chi­nese Works runs un­til Septem­ber 5.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.