Opening: 4PM, November 20, 2020
Duration：November 20, 2020 – January 29, 2021
Opening Time：11:00-17:30，Closed on Monday
Venue: A07, 798 Art Zone Buildings
Organizers: Beijing 798 Creative Industry Investment Co.,LTD.
Central Academy of Fine Arts
Graphic Designer: Yang Linqing
Coordinator: Cong Jia
Translator: Jeff Crosby
By the time we decided we wanted to name this exhibition “Détournement,” we were already clearly aware of the circumstances in which it would emerge. It is a movement being presented in the form of an exhibition. This implies that the nature of the exhibition is not retrospective, but a moment-in-progress. Furthermore, the moment of this movement's occurrence is the occurrence itself, and does not encompass any dramatic implications. For this reason, the exhibition will not be cut off or embellished by any superfluous theme. In other words, there is no “outer appearance” to this exhibition. We have done everything in our power to remove any potential “outer appearance” that may emerge in this exhibition. The only things that are really important are a color, a shape, the force and direction of a line, those actual facts of painting itself.
For Liu Xiaohui, this détournement, or turn, is not an outward-facing stance or metaphor for said stance, but is aimed at the facts of painting in the here and now, and the conundrums that arise as he experiences them. These conundrums cannot be resolved through a conceptual shift or exhibition rhetoric, only through the very act of painting, that direct physical experience. The long term repetition of themes and depictions of figures, the layered stacking of lines and colors, this is done not to add something more to the world, but to turn back to the self and effect an opening, cutting through the surface image into the interiority of painting, tearing open cracks in the smooth surface of time. As he has done so, the artist has grown increasingly aware that the only fertile soil is to be found in these fissures. Painting thus appears as an incredibly narrow yet unfathomably deep field. The “truths” the artist has constantly sought through years of painting are none other than those countless moments he has painstakingly opened through personal experience, moments prone to close again at any time.
This exhibition’s hope is to restore these moments. Covered by the picture, they are quite difficult to discern, so there is no point for the exhibition to add some new pathway for seeing. “Turn” is not a great, stirring piece of rhetoric, and likewise, the moment it signifies is perhaps that most ordinary, mundane moment in Liu Xiaohui's labors in the here and now. But in this progression from this instant to the next, some change has taken place. It is like the title of this exhibition, “détournement”—if we are to understand this term in the sense it applied to Guy Debord or Marcel Duchamp, it implies that what changes in this “turn” is not the thing itself, but the way we receive it. To use Liu Xiaohui’s own words, painting at this point becomes a question of simply whether or not you believe it.
About the Artist
Liu Xiaohui was born in Shandong Province in 1975, came to Beijing in 1991, and completed middle school, undergraduate and graduate studies at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He was invited to London for artistic exchange in 2007. He currently teaches at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Mural Painting Department.
About the Curator
He Jing is a young scholar, art critic and curator. The main focus of her research is on aesthetic questions in modern and contemporary art within the “concept–image” framework, particularly the research of painting within the visual threshold of phenomenology, and she engages in experimental writing in contemporary art criticism. She received dual bachelor's and master's degrees from University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne and Tsinghua University, and served as a researcher at the National School Supérieure Des Arts Décoratifs. She is currently a doctoral candidate at the Fudan University School of Philosophy. A seasoned contemporary art researcher and writer, He Jing has served as the founding editor-in-chief and head writer of the LEAP Magazine French edition; academic director of the Mao Ji-Hong Arts Foundation; and has organized numerous exhibitions, symposiums and screening programs at institutions including the Centre national de l'édition et de l'art imprimé, Centre Georges Pompidou, the Musee Hospice Comtesse, the Fudan University School of Philosophy, OCAT, the Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival, PHOTOFAIRS San Francisco, and other art institutions and academic platforms in China and abroad.