Excessive Transition, a new art installation from Geng Jianyi, is now on display at Koerner Library until August 19.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Yellow Signal: New Media in China at the UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Excessive Transition (2008) is Chinese artist Geng Jianyi’s second contribution to a city-wide investigation of current media art production in China.
For this installation of Excessive Transition, Jianyi chose fifteen black-and-white hand-printed photographic prints of glass bottlenecks. These images show Jianyi’s technical playfulness, both in the darkroom and in his use of the depth of field of the camera. The prints demonstrate the distance between each object photographed and the window and cityscape outside as he repetitively frames each bottle as a form analogous to the human body.
As Karen Smith suggests, for Jianyi, “Process has become as important as concept.” In Excessive Transition the artist has dramatically evidenced a trace of past processes of production. He presents photography as a powerful and versatile mechanism for artistic production that creates an awareness of present day consumption and complicates the work of the artwork. Jianyi refuses to simplify the existence of the objects portrayed to their mere utilitarian value and opts instead to surrender the bottlenecks, fathoming their content into a whimsical vision of unrest.
- From an essay by Fabiola Carranza, MFA candidate, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory
This work is part of Art in the Library, a collaborative project initiated in 2008 by the Belkin Art Gallery and Koerner Library to bring art to the UBC community. The program aims to open possibilities for interpretation and to create new perspectives from where to experience contemporary art.
About the Artist
Geng Jianyi was born in Zhenzhou in 1962. He now works out of Hangzhou, where he teaches at the China Academy of Art. Jianyi first gained recognition for his involvement with the avant-garde ‘85 New-Wave or ’85 Movement, a group formed by performance-based artists who used photography to document their conceptual efforts. His photographs explore the collective consent that enables us to identify mass-produced objects and how these objects in turn can offer us a sense of familiarity and self-identity in everyday life. Originally trained and recognized as a painter, Geng’s recent works have focused on the use of photography and video technologies. His interests are varied and his work explores issues of individuality and identity through his experience of daily life, friendships, and work.
- Smith, Karen. “The Art of Duplicity.” In Chinese New Art, Post-1989. Hong Kong: Hanart Gallery, 1993.
- Smith, Karen. “Zero to Infinity: The Nascence of Photography in Contemporary Chinese Art of the 1990’s.” In Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art (1990-2000), edited by Wu Hang. Guangzhou: Guangdong Museum of Art, 2002.