Qu Fengguo: 2020 2021.05.08 - 2021.06.26
They are the colors of the world. At the beginning of summer in the Chinese calendar, Matthew Liu Fine Arts is pleased to announce “2020” , a new solo exhibition by Chinese artist Qu Fengguo. In addition to works about spring, summer, autumn, and winter, which belong to his new “Four Seasons” series, the exhibition also brings more works from the 24 Solar Terms by the artist, showcasing the full seasons and climate of 2020. The “shutdown” in “2020” motivated the artist to deeply reflect on the global environment and the destiny of mankind, so he adopted new painting techniques to specifically mark the year. Qu tries to use interleaved geometric figures and stack them onto conceptions of linear time depicted earlier, breaking the limitation of chronological representation, reflecting on this disturbing time in history, a year which caught us off guard. His works reveal people's intimate and complicated inner world through the multi-level and variable textures of space and time, thereby creating a multidimensional perceptual experience for the entire exhibition.
Qu's parallel lines alongside with mottled color blocks extend infinitely in space-time, repeating until the bright colors hurt your eyes. Then it starts over again from the next level. Qu Fengguo is poignantly anxious about nature and life. He believes that there's a kind of tragedy in our colorful visual perception, which is being, and loss. The Four Season series expresses the artist's obsession and uneasiness with the passage of time. Qu said, “Time is walked through by people.” This idea reminds us of Aristotle's first systematic analysis and discussion on the concept of time—time is the measure of change. Later, Kant's idea of time as the “subjective constitution of the mind” also provides the possibility of objective communication for all subjectivity. Qu intentionally introduces timeliness into his creation and carefully records the start and end time of each painting. These fragments reflect the passage of daily life, and the ways that we are moved by its passage.
In contrast to the German contemporary abstract artist Astrid Stoeppel's clear and explicit series of strong colors against white and black backgrounds, reflecting their own vitality, Qu Fengguo is immersed in a kind of “contingency” . He emphasizes how the colored “lines” and time “lines exist as an independent and colorful surface or at a multi-dimensional level. Qu also firmly believes that abstraction is not limited to the aesthetic nature of the formal elements themselves, nor is it simply the continuation of modernism at the level of art history, but rather reflects the individual spirit, art language and philosophy of life.American Color Field painter Gene Davis was once highly concerned with and researched the repetitive geometric rhythm of certain colors and how to define abstract line art. Qu considers that the term “abstraction” might not be precise enough but superficial. Chinese abstract artists like Qu are gradually approaching painting with alternative attitudes and angles.
There is no easy way to control a linear shape, and it is even trickier when gravity is involved. At the beginning of the 21st century, Qu Fengguo abandoned the traditional tools of painting, including learned skills, techniques, and social cognition. He simply utilized straws to squeeze pigments onto cloth, and scraped it off after squeezing, gradually forming his own “method of drawing abstract paintings” . These lines signify the very process of time, redefining the relationship between the colored bands. The color encounters uncontrollable contingency in the advancement of regular and abstract geometric lines, just like life, so the track of time is left here. Experience the changes of fate and repeated expectations in the time and space created by Qu Fengguo.