Chen Ke opens 'Bauhaus Gal - Theatre' at Perrotin in Paris

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, March 1, 2024


Chen Ke opens 'Bauhaus Gal - Theatre' at Perrotin in Paris
View of Chen Ke’s exhibition ‘Bauhaus Gal – Theatre’ at Perrotin Paris, 2023. Photo: Claire Dorn. Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.



PARIS.- Perrotin is presenting Bauhaus Gal – Theatre, Chen Ke’s first solo exhibition at Paris gallery. For this new exhibition, the artist created a series of portraits of young Bauhaus students and architectural photographs presented in a theatrical scenography.

Chen Ke has been creating paintings based on photographic portraits for several years. Some feature celebrities like Marilyn Monroe or Frida Kahlo, while others show lesser-known people like painter Helen Torr (1886-1967), who inspired Chen Ke’s 2020 exhibition The Anonymous Woman Artist. Torr exhibited very little and received mostly negative critics unlike her husband, the American painter Arthur Dove. Yet their works shared many formal similarities. Torr stopped painting entirely after Dove's death in 1946. And like so many other women artists, her so far under-appreciated work was rediscovered long after she died. In her latest exhibition, Chen Ke continues this “appropriationist” practice with a series of portraits of young Bauhaus students and architectural photographs taken from a sourcebook entitled Bauhaus Mädels (Patrick Rössler ed., Taschen, 2019).

Experts may recognize the features of artist and designer Marianne Brandt on some of the paintings. Yet most of these figures are likely to be perceived as brilliant representations of brave and determined young women who embarked on a career that was closed to them a century ago.

The subject of the series is historically charged. Founded in 1919, the legendary school of architecture and applied arts is increasingly seen in a critical, if not dark1, light. Ke even abandoned her original title for the exhibition, Utopia, which she deemed too out of touch with the reality of life at the Bauhaus, especially for women. Her aim is neither to capitalize on the historical aura of the famous institution nor to deconstruct it but to use existing images to express her own emotions. She says she was “touched” by these young women, who reminded her of her own early struggles as an art student and female artist on the Beijing art scene of the early 2000s.

Chen Ke's choice of colors powerfully reinforces the subjective dimension of her appropriation. The paintings are strangely chromatic versions of the original black-and-white images, sometimes dreamy, sometimes sinister. They trigger a sensation of vertigo similar to those colorized photographs that have gone viral in recent years: the Champs-Elysées in 1900, Claude Monet in his garden, daily life in a trench, or, closer to our time, Ke’s own series of paintings based on photographs created in the early 2000s. Rather than adding realism, this transformation produces a powerful derealizing effect, dreamlike and disturbing. The artist explains that the use of non-realistic colors in the exhibition also echoes the “surreal” period of the global COVID -19 pandemic and its extremely harsh lockdowns.

Unlike the Bauhaus, Chinese art schools do not typically teach non- figurative practices. Chen Ke became interested in abstraction after researching Helen Torr and the Bauhaus, and the exhibition features a series of abstract paintings on aluminum sheets of varying thickness. Despite the radical gap that seems to separate the two sides of her pictorial work – perfectly methodical on the one hand, highly “impulsive” on the other – they share a kind of material and conceptual kinship. The small abstractions on metal are painted with the same palette of colors as the canvases, often on the same day, like an improvised sequence, in a freer style. And like the paintings, they are formal, colorful transpositions of the artist's emotions.

Chen Ke's emphasis on theatricality is not only a theme but a sceno- graphic principle that permeates the entire exhibition. Certain pain- tings are designed to create a spectacular frontality through their lighting effects and depictions of bodies. In the first room, a screen- like work blocks part of the view and directs the visitors’ movement through the space. A series of portraits hung in a line on the wall creates a sort of exhibition opening in the next room. Further on, a large, colorful, suspended sculpture rotates slowly, reminding viewers of their physical presence. The entire exhibition itinerary is designed with great precision.

Exploring the concept of theatricality, the artist references the epic poem Bhagavad-Gita, one of the founding texts of Hinduism, particu- larly Krishna's transformation from human form to devouring monster. For the artist, this monstrous figure is “perhaps what we might call the true face of the world, the truth hidden beneath the pleasant things of life. We sometimes come across this hidden side, but we are quick to turn away from it”. According to the artist, “Theater is a place [where] you can shed your skin, to hide or to show another self, perhaps a truer version of yourself.” The notion that theater's chaotic, inverted, cruel world can be the bearer of truth is part of the very principle of dramatic art in both Eastern and Western traditions. Chen Ke applies this principle to her pictorial art. The images she appropriates through painting are masks, and all her works are self-portraits.


Jill Gasparina











Today's News

October 16, 2023

Facing scrutiny, a museum that holds 12,000 human remains changes course

Portraits of members of one of the oldest & most important Gloucestershire families head to auction

Almine Rech opens Kenny Scharf's second solo exhibition at the gallery in Paris

White Cube Paris opens an exhibition of works by TARWUK

Kennedy Yanko's 'She is a Verb' opens at Salon 94

Piper Laurie, reluctant starlet turned respected actress, dies at 91

Special exhibition "Designing the Beautiful Game" officially inaugurated at The FIFA Museum in Zurich

Craft in America Center presents 'Influences/Influencers: California Fibers'

Double exhibition at Strawberry Hill House shows the past and present of woodcuts

Scottish artist duo Beagles & Ramsay exhibition of new work opens at Glasgow's GoMA

New exhibition at Orlando Museum of Art explores the essence of motherhood

A play revisits the making of 'Death of a Salesman' in Mandarin

NGV launches new podcast Connecting the Dots: First Peoples Art from the NGV with Tony Armstrong

Related Group unveils Andare Residences by Pininfarina

Smithsonian adds visionary leaders Byron Lewis and Lillian Vernon to landmark "American Enterprise" exhibition

In an opera about Civil War spies, dancers help drive the drama

Ballet thrives on live coaching. Her roots extend to the source.

Chen Ke opens 'Bauhaus Gal - Theatre' at Perrotin in Paris

Solo show by Wang Keping opens at Domaine national de Chambord

Survey of artists from Robert Curcio's 30-year career on view at Lichtundfire

Jack Hanley Gallery opens an exhibition with new works by Sophie Treppendahl

Conservation of "Border Crossing": Iconic sculpture at ISU is undergoing specialized treatments

Smithsonian acquires collection of work attributed to poet Phillis Wheatley Peters




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful