The commonly used phrase “Mind the Gap” cautions pedestrians to avoid a hazard, to look down when crossing platforms, or entering a transit vehicle, or walking over gaps in pavement or construction. For many travelers, avoiding potential obstacles is an everyday occurrence but gaps below foot may represent many things: vulnerability, instability, an unknown ecosphere, or inaccessibility.
Through the lens of contemporary Chinese female artists, the Mind the Gap exhibition seeks to expose the universal and deeply hidden gaps existing in present and past memory, and in the realm of experience and imagination. These artists span several different generations, living in both the U.S. and China and their works explore the generational, geographical, and cultural gaps.
In the process of curating the exhibition, curator Wenlu Bao, chose to focus primarily on Chinese women. Due to historical and social reasons (or subliminal expectations) women and their ascribed roles connected to the home leave gaps, mainly, a fulfillment deficit. The past decades have witnessed a number of earth-shaking changes in China and the world. Within the rhythm of rapid change, women often feel the ruthlessness of the years and thus appreciate the improvement in living conditions. On the flip side to the process of urbanization and globalization, individuals seem to have no place or time to rest. The artists in Mind the Gap captured such emotions, occasions, concerns, and romance in a poetic and insightful manner. Covering topics on social roles, mobile identities, and diverse cultures in time and space, Mind the Gap asks the viewer to question where are we from, what is out there, and what gaps can we close?
Caroline Chen is fascinated by the “rich and beautiful garden in the middle, fertile with influences from both sides that will cultivate generations to come.” This series of paintings depicting people having food is inspired by her experience in a Hong Kong shopping mall from the elevator. These works reveal the digital device and food culture in China in our current era.
Caroline Chen, Solo, 2016, 8 x 8 in., oil on canvas
Chen works and lives in Wilmington, Delaware. She is included in the book 100 Artists of the Brandywine Valley by Catherine Quillman, published in 2010 by Schiffer. As American born with Chinese heritage, she represents both sides of these cultures to honor and appreciate.
Meng Du uses the bodies of birds as her artistic language to deliver the concerns, confusions, and shifts in our modern society in her pieces, Before the Dawn andEverywhere, Nowhere II. By showing them together, the works create a new meaning of contemporary immigration trends in this globalizing moment.
Meng Du, Everywhere, Nowhere II, Glass, multi media, fabric, L8.2 x W3.6 x H6.9 in., ©Meng DU, Courtesy Fou Gallery
Du was born and raised in Beijing, China. In 2008, she finished her BFA in Graphic Design at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. In 2013, Du received her MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Glass Program. She has been an Artist in Residence as well as the Adjunct Faculty at RIT in the following years until she returned to China in 2016.
The following artists use the Chinese name format of last name first:
FENG Bingyi‘s work, Splendor In The Grass, Plenty Fish In The Sea, was photographed in a nameless fishing village on the southeast coast of China where men spend most of their time fishing, heading out to sea leaving and their families waiting at home. The work’s title refers to the name of a song playing in the background, which expresses people’s unspeakable emotions.
FENG Bingyi, Splendor In The Grass, Plenty Fish In The Sea., 2018, Single Channel Video/Color/Sound, 2’15’’
FENG was born in Ningbo in 1991 and is currently based in Shanghai. She specializes in creation styles between video art and movie as medium of expression. She graduated with a BA degree from the School of Intermedia Art at the China Academy of Arts in 2013 and received an MA from Chelsea College of Arts at the University of the Arts London in 2015.
HU Xiaoyuan‘s single channel video, Bang, shows two people and balloons enclosed inside a flesh-colored translucent cover, as they are moving and struggling with anxiety and fear. The motion of intense discomfort calls attention to the unexpected dangers in life.
HU Xiaoyuan, Bang, 2015, Single Channel video, 2’09”
HU was born in Harbin, China, in 1977. She graduated in communication design from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2002. In 2007, she was the first female Chinese artist to participate at Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany. HU has participated in exhibitions globally, including the New Museum Triennial in New York in 2012 and at the Taipei Biennale in 2014, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France, Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, and others.
LIN Yan‘s works show her exploration of the relationship between space and architecture; and, people and environment. Modernization happened so fast that both countries, China and the United States, have changed rapidly. LIN sensitively searched the materials such as bricks from both countries then used the traditional Chinese Xuan paper as the material to express the nostalgia of places and memories.
Lin Yan, One Step, 2016. Xuan paper, ink and string lights. 12 x 12 x 2 in. ©Lin Yan, Courtesy Fou Gallery
LIN was born into a distinguished family of artists. As such, she developed her own artistic voice. After graduating from The Central Academy of Fine Arts, LIN pursued further studies at L’École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1985. Then she received her MA from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (1989). She has lived and worked in the U.S. for over twenty years.
XIE Kun‘s series of works are originated from the artist’s dreams of alienated bodies. Each one was “framed” in an old fashioned Chinese aluminum lunch box and matched with a short poem as a side note. The installation shows the contrast of a variety of imagined figures wrapped in our everyday objects.
XIE Kun, You can not Introduce Two Persons to Me at the Same Time, 2019, 7.5×4.3×2.4 in., Aluminum cardboard oil pencil
XIE was born in 1989 in Hebei Province, China. She graduated from the Mural Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts with an MFA degree. XIE works and lives in Beijing. Her solo shows have been presented in Tokyo and Beijing. She was awarded Italy Arteart Prize Laguna Venice in 2017.
About the exhibition
Curator: Wenlu Bao
Dates: November 16, 2019 – January 30, 2020
Venue: DuPont II Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, December 6, 2019 5 – 9 PM during Art Loop
PANEL DISCUSSION: MOCATalks: Mind the Gap
Located at the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City, 215 Centre Street, New York, NY
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 | 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Tickets are $15 and include wine and MoCA Museum admission.
PANEL DISCUSSION: Mind the Gap on Role and Identity
Located at The Delaware Contemporary
Friday, January 10, 2020 | 6 – 7 PM
Courtesy of the organizer, for further information please visit www.decontemporary.org.