BANK presents Lin Ke's "Sky Paintings" in Shanghai

TEXT:Sue Wang    DATE: 2019.8.2

BANK is delighted to announce Lin Ke’s second solo show with the gallery, Sky Paintings. This show presents the artist’s continued fascination with the ever blurring boundaries between the digitally manufactured, virtual spaces of our computer age and traditional reality. In Sky Paintings Lin posits a series of seemingly conventional watercolor works, digital images and video works as vehicles for exploring this tenuous terrain.

Over the past few years, the artist has returned to his artistic roots by painting a watercolor each night before going to sleep. Referencing real life, as well as computer and magazine images, Lin amassed a large collection of works that depict various religious figures, friends and pop cultural celebrities. In search of the essence or pictorial significance behind these hand-painted images Lin then began a process of deduction and analysis by scanning the images and breaking them into layered elements, almost like a forensic detective. In Sky Painting he re-presents the digitized remains of these watercolors as reconstituted prints on various surfaces. Through the long journey of analysis, conversion, and re-production Lin Ke’s practice questions the import and essence of artistic medium, image making, as well as the impulse to exhibit art. The artist writes:

“From Void to Solid (Watercolor) to Virtual (photoshop Painting) to TIF and then to object in the space—the context of the exhibition of the work. There is even an image behind the meta-image, which is what I look at when I paint watercolors. I see some fuzzy, stimulating images of a head, and then I draw a watercolor portrait of such an image, like copying in the void. I am inspired by the Tibetan Buddhism Fuzang. A line of texts would appear in the sky, and Fuzang would see it and write it down.”

Inspired by the mystics of Tibetan Buddhism who gazed at the sky for divinatory revelations Lin Ke equates the sky with the image as a muse for introspection—a mirror onto himself and his surroundings.

In a space where physicality no longer exists, resemblance and authenticity ultimately lose their substance. So in the remains of the images presented in the exhibition Lin creates a visual language imbued with the celestial inhabitants of the sky, an immaterial universe, a formless sky world. Conversely, the void of the sky like that of the image unveils truths about the earth, inspiring the artist to examine the immaterial substances that permeate our every day spaces, from electromagnetic fields to rays of light.

Since 2010, Lin Ke has turned his attention to the behavioral science of the computer age by making himself his own Guinea pig. Converting his laptop into a studio, Lin extracts material from computer software and the Internet as the fodder and form of his art. The mundane act of exploring the vicissitudes of the world wide web and various applications becomes the catalyst for art making and self-portraiture. He records operational behavior and conceptual images by using screenshots and screen recording software. His work takes the form of installation, image, sound, text, video and computer painting.

Lin Ke has gained major critical acclaim for his work having won the OCAT—Pierre Huber Art Prize in 2014, and the Chinese Youth Artist Award of the 9th AAC Art 2015. His work was shortlisted for the BMW Art Journey at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017 and has been shown at ZKM, Karlsruhe; Museum Folkwang, Essen; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai;The Front Triennial, MoCA Cleveland;OCAT, Shanghai, Shanghai Biennial, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, among other prestigious venues. His work is in the collection of M+ Museum, HK; New World Foundation, Beijing; K11 Art Foundation, among others.

About the exhibition

Dates: Aug 10, 2019 - Sep 10, 2019

Opening: Aug 10, 16:00

Venue: BANK

Address: Building 2, Lane 298 Anfu Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai, China

Courtesy of the artist and BANK.