RH Contemporary’s Buzz-Worthy Perspective on Chinese Contemporary Art
Home furnishings giant Restoration Hardware made headlines last year with their acquisition of rAndom International’s Rain Room (2012), which inundated Instagram feeds during its summer on loan to the MoMA. In November, they launched RH Contemporary in a spacious, five-story building in the Meatpacking District. The gallery’s latest show, Outside the Lines: New Art From China brings to New York a survey of new Chinese art that is buzz-worthy for a variety of reasons. The show coincides with the upcoming Armory Show’s focus on China as well as Art Paris’s recent decision to spotlight Chinese art at this year’s fair.
Many of the 12 artists in the show have never exhibited outside of China. Some are well known in Europe, but none have been shown previously in New York. In order to find them, Holly Baxter, VP of RH Contemporary, took several trips to Beijing and Shanghai where she visited studios and got to know what she calls “a new generation of Chinese artists [who are] more International…and who have the freedom to look East or West for inspiration.” This freedom is reflected she says in an “inventive use of materials that transcend traditional forms – including new media, performance and installations.”
Arguably the most memorable work is V, an installation by Li Hui. Meticulously crafted over the course of five years using just three materials (red LED lights, fog, and a mirror) it is reminiscent of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms in both media and ability to transport the viewer to a serene, ethereal world. “The inspiration behind the work is the Buddhist principle that when two different kinds of energies collide, a new energy emerges,” Baxter said.
Outside the Lines: New Art From China opened on January 31, 2014 and is on view at RH Contemporary until April 12, 2014.
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