Tang Contemporary Art presents“Block,” a solo show for Cai Lei featuring his work from 2020, in the gallery’s second Beijing space. The Curator of the show is Sui Jianguo, and the academic director is Zhan Wang. In forms ranging from relief images with a compressed perspective to assemblages of objects that create visual dislocations and tensions to interior landscaped installations, Cai Lei’s diverse practice has shifted from personal creative methods to linguistic patterns to artistic concepts. “Block,” the theme that he has chosen to explore due to the pandemic, represents a new direction in his work, namely, perceptions of everyday narratives and bodily experiences.
By Sui Jianguo
Several years ago, Cai Lei held three solo exhibitions in three years: “Method of Descent” (2014), “In Ambiguous Sight” (2015), and “Échelle des Plans” (2016). In that span, he shifted from relief images with a compressed perspective to assemblages of objects that create visual dislocations and tensions to landscaped interior installations. With this hop, skip, and a jump, he shifted from personal creative methods to linguistic patterns to artistic concepts. In his rapid leaps between the three, he has quickly grown into an eye-catching young artist.
Planning for the current exhibition began at the end of last year, but the coronavirus outbreak just before Chinese New Year changed Cai Lei’s work and its direction. This exhibition is presented in three interconnected spaces. The four walls of the first exhibition space show the kind of work for which Cai Lei is known: rooms and corridors presented with compressed perspective. What is different this time is that the perspectival rooms and corridors are compressed from the front and back, then compressed again from the left and right, changing the way we look at them and emphasizing the psychological influence of space. Here, Cai Lei has advanced his original perspective work.
However, the theme of perspective disappears almost entirely from the works displayed in the second and third spaces. The beds that recede into the wall using perspective appear on the primary wall in the second gallery, but they are no longer as meticulously arranged as the works in the first gallery.
About the artist
Cai Lei’s works explore the relationship between illusion and space. From his interest in planarity, he carves out an illusory conceptual space which oscillates between the second and third dimension for his creations. Working in both painting and mixed media sculptural relief, light plays an important factor in enhancing this illusion of depth. Painted spaces of interior hallways or corners simultaneously protrude and recede depending on the viewer’s experience of the work.
Cai Lei graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sculpture at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. An award winning young artist from the 80s generation, he has exhibited internationally including the Yangtze Art Museum (Chongqing), Foundation Taylor (Paris), Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts (Taiwan), CAFA Museum (Beijing), Poly Art Museum (Beijing), Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art (USA), Today Art Museum (Beijing), and Museum of Contemporary Art Bonn (Germany). His solo exhibitions experience: “23 Square Meters”(2018), Whitestone Gallery, Taiwan; “Échelle des plans”(2016), Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing; “In Ambiguous Sight, Unaccompanied”(2016), Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong, China; Group Exhibitions: “Motif and material”(2017), Tang Contemporary Art, Hong Kong; “Among”(2015), Museum of Contemporary Art Bonn, Germany; CAFA Postgraduates Graduate Exhibition”(2015), CAFA Museum, Beijing, China.
About the exhibition
Dates: 09.05 - 10.18, 2020
Venue: Beijing 2nd Space, Tang Contemporary Art
Courtesy of the artist and Tang Contemporary Art, for further information please visit https://www.tangcontemporary.com/.