2016.09.09 - 09.11 Shanghai Exhibition Center
Matthew Liu Fine Arts is pleased to apply to Photo Shanghai 2016, proposing to present works by three leading contemporary photographers, including Olivo Barbieri, Candida Höfer, and Vik Muniz.
As one of the most prominent artists, Candida Höfer has been best known for her shrewd captivation of public institutions of culture, history and memory. A student of Bernd and Hilla Becher, she is one of the earliest artists from the “Düsseldorf school” who introduced color into their works. Completely devoid of human presence, the spaces in her works encapsulates multiple times and spaces that fall into Michel Foucault’s rubric of heterotopia. The lack of visitors has allowed Höfer to concentrate her lens meticulously on the building’s design details and spatial qualities, and how they may influence human experience. For our booth at Photo Shanghai this year, we are proud to present works from her recent series Li Yuan Library and several additional works that she created during her visit to China in 2014. Different from the interior spaces with elaborated decorations, wood carvings and paintings in her previous works, the spaces Höfer chose to present in this series are minimalistic and functional. The symmetric composition focuses on ways in which humanity can be coexistent with nature in harmony. Located in a village on the outskirt of Beijing, the LiYuan library was designed by the famous architect Li Xiaodong. Inspired by the surrounding abundant natural resources, he deliberately clad the exterior walls and roof with fruit-tree twigs, which not only introduces natural light into the reading rooms in the building, but also allows it to be heated it by the sun in the winter and cooled by water from the river next to it in the summer, rendering this structure perfectly eco-friendly. If her past works show the triumph and glory of humanity, this new series can be seen as a humble representation of a contemporary site as a threshold of the harmonious coexistence of human and nature.
Born in 1961 in São Paulo, Vik Muniz is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works ultimately takes the form of photography. For more than thirty years, Muniz has collaged and assembled from a variety of prosaic materials, such as pigment, magazine, scrap metal, thread, photo album, garbage and food-creating images in reference to recognizable images throughout the history of art and popular culture. For Photo Shanghai 2016, Matthew Liu Fine Arts is pleased to bring Nymphéas, after Claude Monet (diptych), a major work from his famous Pictures of Magazines series II (2011-2013). In this work Muniz employs torn paper pieces from popular magazines to recreate the iconic images of from the history of art in collages, then photographed and enlarged it. The intersection and rich layering of text and image render the masterpieces by Claude Monet delightfully kaleidoscopic, providing continuous visual pleasure. The thickly layered images and text evoke the massive fragmented information that we encounter on daily basis. In addition, the juxtaposition of images and text sindicates their equal importance, reflecting contemporary life with its incessant influx of information, which leaves an endless stream of materials in our insatiable search for the new.
Olivo Barbieri is an Italian photographer who is known for his large scaled, hyper-focused vistas of nature taken from a helicopter. Although he never alters the image by any means, Barbieri masterfully manipulates lights and the focus point of his images, presenting the unexpected aspects of nature to the viewers. In conjunction to the artist’s first solo exhibition in Shanghai at the gallery in September, we have selected several highly abstract works from his new series Alps-Geographies of People (2013) for Photo Shanghai. Having previously completed a series of aerial photographs in the Dolomites range in northern Italy, Barbieri has embarked on a project documenting the largest range in Europe, and the relationship that extreme climbers have to the terrain. As the artist describes: “The subject of ʻAlps – Geographies and Peopleʼ is how the mountain is perceived from the climbersʼ point of view – its peaks and precipices, the mirages and hallucinations in its geography. In these images, everything is true. The proportions and the forms are real. Even the people and the position theyʼre in…those, too, are real.” Employing a technique he calls “solid color”, Barbieri makes erasures and selectively whites out portions of the mountains, opening the possibility to define their fundamental forms in a concise way. Shot from a helicopter, the sublime and dizzying vantage is further enhanced by the inclusion of climbers traversing rocks and chasms, seeking to discover a hidden truth in what Barbieri describes as “blank maps”, a kind of spiritual space outside the realm of traceable geography. Whereas his previous Dolomites series revealed the terrain and included people as a near supplemental element denoting scale, Alps – Geographies and People moves the climbers to the fore, presenting their extreme and dangerous traverse as a near hallucinogenic journey of discovery among the most famous heights of Europe’s largest peaks.