Juhyun Cho, Flight to Nowhere, 2023. Single channel video, 2023, FHD, 9’15”, colour sound, Courtesy the artist and Aranya Art Center.
Aranya Art Center is delighted to present the group exhibition How Far, How Close, which features nearly 50 works by 14 artists and one duo, including newly commissioned works by 6 artists. Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese Daoist philosopher, divined the concept of '相去几何' (Xiang Qu Ji He) to convey a sense of abstract or ambiguous distance, both in physical and metaphorical terms. It often relates to questions of 'how much?' 'to what extent?' or 'what kind of?' This concept corresponds to the English title How Far, How Close, which evokes a lingering sense of both progress and retreat: something seemingly in the distance, but in fact, is not that different.
Shuyi Cao, Odont I, 2023. Stoneware, phosphorite, 58 x 40 x 40 cm, Courtesy the artist and Aranya Art Center.
The exhibition embodies feelings of displacement and serves as a starting point for exploring questions related to identity, belonging, and the abstract nature of distance. As we are already in a deeply polarised world filled with competition and difficulties, and we experience contradictions at physical and psychological levels, this exhibition explores supposedly irreconcilable differences. How can we transform history and the present? The here and now, there and then? Can we bridge the self and other into common subjective experience? In our precarious present, the act of bridging difference and overcoming barriers becomes the main theme of How Far, How Close. The works of art in this exhibition raise doubts about geographic boundaries and evoke complex emotions, which are not only related to self-identification and mobility, but also affect how we search for direction as we negotiate multiple social situations.
Prae Pupityastaporn, The time is now, 2023. Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 110 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Nova Contemporary.
Through poetic narratives that illustrate how intimacy and detachment can coexist, the works of Leung Chi Wo+Sara Wang, Juhyun Cho, Pam Virada, and Jiang Zhi interrogate diasporic culture, an identity no longer confined to national definitions and imagined borders. Instead, diasporic culture exists as an ambiguity suspended in uncertainty. The works of Ishu Han, Joeun Kim Aatchim, and Woosung Lee depict overlapping layers of identity, woven through family, community, and social belonging. It also challenges fixed identity politics, highlighting a more complex interplay and dynamism.
Rachel Youn, Prostrate, 2023. Shiatsu massager, artificial and dried plants, 72 x 72 x 29 cm, Courtesy the artist and Aranya Art Center.
Continuing throughout the exhibition space, the works of Tang Chao, Wang Tuo, Heman Chong, and Rachel Youn explore the intricacies and subtleties of everyday life, emphasising individuality and privacy while resisting generalisation. Nuanced and sensitive, their works explore intimacy and how it manifests in life at various scales. Lastly, Timur Si-Qin and Cao Shuyi use nature as a metaphor to challenge anthropocentric perspectives, while Zhu Yingying and Prae Pupityastaporn's paintings trace and retract memories, renegotiating our distance to—and closeness with—nature. The exhibition seeks to re-establish consensus among complex structures and contradictory forces, rejecting simple, linear narratives and denying fixed coordinates.
Tang Chao, First Person, 2023. Two channel synchronised video (Colour, stereo sound, 4K), Courtesy the artist and Vanguard Gallery.
This exhibition is curated by guest curators Leo Li Chen and Mijoo Park, with the assistance of Gao Liangjiao, curatorial assistant at Aranya Art Center. The exhibition is on view from October 29, 2023, through February 25, 2024.
This exhibition is supported by Arts Council Korea and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Zhu Yingying, Herbal Medicine, 2023. Oil on canvas, 150 x 160 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Hunsand Space.
About the Exhibition
Dates: 29 October 2023–25 February 2024
Venue: Aranya Art Center
Address: Aranya Gold Coast Community, Beidaihe New Area, Qinhuangdao, China
Courtesy Aranya Art Center.