Lisson Gallery presents "Between Being and Becoming" opening 28 July in Shanghai


A Featured Image of Work by Emily Moore. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery..jpgA Featured Image of Work by Emily Moore. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

This group exhibition themed on "Between Being and Becoming" features four artists testing the slippages between imagery, language, nature and the passage of time. These artists all share a joy in the fleeting, the wild and the contingent, as well as a fluidity of thought and expression that permeates their practices. Albert Camus complained that the people of our times suffer from an inability to possess the world completely enough and as posited in Zygmunt Bauman's Liquid Modernity the modern condition is also one lacking in solidity and so leaving us all caught in a constant state of becoming, experiencing perpetual immediacy: “Instantaneity (nullifying the resistance of space and liquefying the materiality of objects) makes every moment seem infinitely capacious; and infinite capacity means that there are no limits to what could be squeezed out of any moment – however brief and ‘fleeting’”. 

Sarah Cunningham's works exist forever in the act of making, as if in constant flux, her wooded landscapes and imaginary wildernesses seemingly being carved or pulled out of the canvases in front of our eyes. Her nocturnal process of working through the night and her continuous painterly enhancements and erasures represent a high wire balancing act of painting, with final refinements being made almost up until their moment of display. 

An ability to find form in the formless can be found in the work of Shi Jiayun whose paintings disturb the visual fields between recognition, understanding and perception, lying somewhere in between. As she says: “For me, the practice of painting is not an absolute expression and output from the artist, but rather a constant awareness of the captured external ‘disposition’, which allows me to walk, wander, encounter, and connect, continuously in unpredictable fluid perceptions. 

Emily Moore's new series of textiles range from an update on the art historical tropes of minimalism to the immediate, transient moment of a flower in bloom. Following on from her recent Black Rose works, embroidered onto large-scale swathes of cloth, these more intimate, woven flower portraits made in the South of France present a glimpse of beauty as if seen in an instant. Moore has defined her own term ‘wildness’ in contemporary art, which applies both to her own multifaceted practice but also suggests a loosened, expanded state of painting compared to those more rigid, modernist examples of the grid or the striped form. 

The explosive expanses of floral growth painted by Yuki Sakuta are also instantaneous bursts of colour and emotion, but are in fact imaginary flowerscapes, have been transmuted and translated through reference to fairytales and stories, with titles including words from novels, lyrics from songs, and names of characters from folktales and myths. Her tumbling and generative compositions appear to flow and disperse organically, although they recreate sensations and memories, rather than fixed realities. 

About the artists 

Sarah Cunningham (b. 1993, Nottingham) lives and works in London. She received an MA in Painting from the  Royal College of Art in 2022. Cunningham’s first solo show in London, The Crystal Forest, is currently on  display at Lisson Gallery London (12 July – 26 August 2023). Her work has been included in numerous  exhibitions including shows in Aspen, Berlin, Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver at Almine Rech, Max  Hetzler and the CICA Vancouver among others. She is the recipient of the Ali H. Alkazzi Scholarship Award  (2019) and the Djanogly Art Award (2019).

Emily Moore (b. 1983, London) is a visual artist based in London. She completed her MA in Painting at the Royal  College of Art in 2020. She was awarded the Valerie Beston Award in 2020 and had her debut London solo show  at Ordovas Gallery in 2021. Recent selected group exhibitions in London in 2021 and 2020 include: Social Fabric at Fold Gallery, An Infinity of Traces (curated by Ekow Eshun) at Lisson Gallery, Tomorrow: London at White Cube, Grads Now at Saatchi Gallery, Without a Painter at Fitzrovia Gallery, Begin Again at Guts Gallery, Thought Threads at San Mei Gallery, and Snapshot at Hockney Gallery. 

Yuki Sakuta (b. 1995, Aichi) is based in Kyoto. She has a BFA and an MFA in Oil Painting from Nagoya  University of Arts (2018) and Kyoto City University of Arts (2020). Recent selected group exhibitions include Tsutaya Books, Kyoto (2023); CONCEPT STORE SEE?, Kobe (2023); Keifu Gallery, Kyoto (2022); Garaku Gallery, Nagoya (2021); and Shibata-cho Gallery, Osaka (2020). 

Shi Jiayun (b. 1992, Chongqing) lives and works in Shanghai. She received BFA in Oil Painiting from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2014 and MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York in 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include: Wanderlust, Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai (2023); Frames Without Rims, Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai (2019); Getting Closer to Painting, Ginkgo Space, Beijing (2017); and Accidental & Inevitable, G1 Gallery,  Shanghai (2014). Her works have been featured at SPURS Gallery, Beijing; LINSEED Projects, Shanghai; A  Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu; Eli Klein Gallery, New York; J: Gallery, Shanghai; and MadeIn Gallery,  Shanghai.

About the exhibition

Between Being and Becoming 

Sarah Cunningham | Emily Moore | Yuki Sakuta | Shi Jiayun  

Dates: 29 July to 2 September 2023 

Venue: Lisson Gallery, Shanghai

Address: 2/F, 27 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai

Courtesy of Lisson Gallery