Current Exhibitions 2023.3.12 - 6.25

Gallery 1-5: Gabriel Kuri

Gallery 1 – 5
Gabriel Kuri

Aranya Art Center is pleased to present the first museum exhibition in China by Gabriel Kuri, the acclaimed Mexican-born and Brussels-based artist. The exhibition assembles nearly 30 works made between 1999-2023, including 3 major commissions produced by the Aranya Art Center, as well as a series of new works conceived for this occasion.

A sculptor at heart, Gabriel Kuri (b.1970) is celebrated for his dexterity, precision, and wit in convincingly forging unexpected unions between diverse materials. From found objects to collected or repurposed items, Kuri consistently directs our attention to the easily neglected detritus of the everyday. Cigarette butts, receipts, doorstops, and metal sheets become emblems of capitalist and consumer society. For the artist, there are no strictly “natural” materials. Every object is imbued with information and signification. Kuri extracts from these items coded meanings and hidden values, such as risk, luck, speculation, and emergency, filtered through the lens of commerce and modern economics.

Materials are converted into forms, reminiscent of and renewing our understandings of art historical movements like Minimalism, Arte Povera, and New Generation Sculpture. Kuri’s artistic strategy employs a system of rational structures and categorization, inspired from such industrial organizational schemes as the directory board, Take-a-Number tickets, punch cards, as well as corporate charts and graphics. Through such an intellectually rigorous approach, the artist strives to comprehend and unearth the inner mechanisms and operating patterns of the real world.

In response to the context of Aranya, a seaside real estate development, a selection of old and new works about seashells, and questions of housing and shelter, has been purposefully included and produced for the exhibition.

This exhibition is organized by Damien Zhang, director of Aranya Art Center and curatorial assistant Wang Jiaming. The exhibition is on view from March 12 through June 25, 2023.

Special thanks to Sadie Coles HQ.

Gabriel Kuri, Forecast, 2015
Mixed media in wood and plexiglas vitrine with interior lighting, 240 × 200 × 100 cm
© Gabriel Kuri - Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul

Gallery 0: Michelle Wang Yiyi

Aranya Art Center is pleased to present Chinese artist Michelle Wang Yiyi’s first solo exhibition, featuring her recent sculpture series Petriceps and photography series Cordyceps. The artist considers fungi to be a medium in which she establishes in-depth communication with nature. Through hyphae, fungi bio-hacks into host organisms to break down and transcribe their secrets. The message extracted from the host is then presented in the form of mushrooms, reflecting the symbiotic network and intricate system between interspecies interactions.

The work in this exhibition is inspired by Cordyceps, also called Chong Cao (Caterpillar herb) in Chinese. For years, it was classified as an herb, as the result of fungi being misclassified as plants in early taxonomy. The artist cultivated several species of parasitic fungi that live on a rock-formed host and named them Petriceps, or Shi Hua (Rock Flower) to respond to this “scientific error.” In the Petriceps series, the artist attempts to train fungi to grow in clay by inoculating them into her sculptures. The life cycle of a Petriceps completes when mushrooms surface from the host. She then covers the mushrooms in more clay to preserve their shape and loads them into the kiln. The body of the mushroom burns out during the firing, leaving fossil-like evidence of its biological existence on sculpture surfaces. In the Cordyceps series, the artist explores the entangled relationships between arthropods and fungi. To create this series of works, she hiked through Anhui, Zhejiang, Yunnan, and other provinces, accumulating materials during forest field trips. Through the perspective of ecology, the exhibition is seen as an experiment in which the artist collaborates with fungi, each using its own unique linguistic system.

Michelle Wang Yiyi, born in Nanjing in 1988, lives and works in Shanghai. The exhibition is the first presentation in Gallery 0, Aranya Art Center’s newly opened independent project space. The exhibition is on view from March 12 through June 25, 2023.

Michelle Wang Yiyi, The Young Queen’s Nuptial Flight, 2022
Archival inkjet print, 47 × 50 cm
© 王一一 Michelle Wang Yiyi - Courtesy of the artist

Videos by the Sea: Han Qian

Gallery 1 – 5
Gabriel Kuri

Aranya Art Center and the Aranya Library are pleased to present Chinese artist Han Qian’s solo exhibition, which includes her video Stillness Between Two Waves of The Sea (2022) and two installation works developed from the video: Resisting, Reposing Ⅰ and Resisting, Reposing Ⅱ (2023).

Stillness Between Two Waves of The Sea explores a mountain range stretching for hundreds of miles in Xuanhua, Hebei. It uses the camera to imagine the perspective of a rock and is presented in the form of a dialogue through letters. From a conjecture about red rocks in the beginning of the last century to the gradual decline of the steel industry, the work traces the geological memory and evolution network of this land. People have left, rocks have been discarded, but the sediment of identity and memory continues to transform and relapse. The artist strives to create an opening slit that allows for reflection on individual identity and history, revealing how multiple temporalities and spaces encounter and intertwine with each other on a specific land. 

Han Qian was born in 1993 in Wuhan. This solo exhibition is the first presentation of the independent program Videos by the Sea, organized jointly by the Aranya Art Center and the Aranya Library. The exhibition will be on view from March 12 through June 25, 2023.

Han Qian, Stillness Between Two Waves of the Sea (still), 2022
4k single channel video, color, stereo channel, 36:38 min
© 韩倩 Han Qian - Courtesy of the artist

About Artist

Gallery 1 – 5
The Land of Exile

Gabriel Kuri was born in 1970 in Mexico City and currently lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Recent solo exhibitions include sorted, resorted, WIELS, Brussels (2019); with personal thanks to their contractual thingness, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen (2014); Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen (2012); Before Contingency After the Fact, South London Gallery, London (2011); nobody needs to know the price of your saab, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2011); join the dots and make a point, Kunstverein Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany (2010). 

Gallery 0
Wang Zhibo

Michelle Wang Yiyi was born in 1988 in Nanjing and currently lives and works in Shanghai. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Exhibitions include The Language of Mushrooms: The Interspecies Internet, Contemporary Gallery Kunming (2022); Towards a New Land: Tales of the Ancient Pavilion, Suzhou Garden Art Festival (2021); Project C2C-Melody of Virtual Love, Untitled Art Fair, Miami (2015). She has lectured at Design Shanghai (2015) and the ICA Philadelphia (2015).

Videos by the Sea
Nguyễn Trinh Thi

Artist and writer Han Qian received her BA in Fine Art Printmaking from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma in 2016, and her BA and MA from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts de Paris in 2021. Currently, Han Qian is investigating the migration and reconstruction of China's iron and steel industry from the north to the south in the twentieth century, within the context of her own family history spanning three generations. She has initiated a series of long-term field-research-based creative projects examining the genealogy of natural resources and political discourses behind this historical narrative, and the changing fates of the individuals within.