epSITE Shanghai (EPSON Imaging Gallery) and I sincerely invite you to join our new exhibition, on 28th of November at 4 p.m. this Saturday. It’s the first time that epSITE represents the non-photograph exhibition, which EPSON UltraGiclee technology is used for reproducing painting works. epSITE cooperated with ZHOU Tiehai, one of the most prestigious artists in international contemporary art circle, for this trying. The another artist, Beijing-based photographer REN Shulin who is known for his series photograph works in the early 1980’. The works from Ren exhibited in this exhibition are the series works , at a time when Ren was still a fitter of the Beijing No.2 Machine Tool Factory. Since he was a photograph amateur, the factory assigned him to take photos of the model workers of the previous year. Comparatively, Zhou’s works are a series of movie stars which he created in the early 2000’. He painted those movie stars who the publics can still know well such as CHEN Chong, LIU Xiaoqing, PAN Hong, Teresa Teng, ZHANG Yu and GONG Xue, according to the cover girl photo of “Popular Movie” magazine in the early 1980s.
Putting the seemingly irrelevant works of the two artists together arouses the conversation between painting and photography. To contrast the irrelevant “famous people” from the same period is the insight of Mr. Gu. He named the exhibition , which skillfully used the name of the American Classic in the history of American modern literature —created by the photographer Walker Evans and the great writer James Agee. Mr. GU analyzed the works of ZHOU Tiehai and REN Shulin deeply, and made serious comments and thought-provoking critiques. As he wrote in his curatorial article:
The photographs of Ren Shulin and Zhou Tiehai respectively feature the model workers and movie stars in the 1970s and 80s. Although the working class was the ideologically dominating force, workers were the grass-roots of the society, aesthetically just opposite to those in the other set, icons that reaps extensive attention of the public. On the surface, the two sets of photographs are irrelevant to, or even in stark contrast with, each other, yet paradoxically, they echo with each other today, mutually complementary and supportive. They invite us to review the relationship between the past and the present, albeit the recollections they evoke are fundamentally different. The former are simple and straightforward in spirit, causing immediate emotional response, while the latter are glamorous and fanciful, evoking a nostalgia stemmed from an aspiration for illusive icons. Whatever the case, these two sets bear the information and the taste of a specific era; they have transcended the passage of time and have been remembered today.
Putting the pinup movie stars and the model workers who belong to same era but are far distinct at two rows oppositely, Decorating the gallery with the wall paper of little flowers which was popular in Shanghainese families during the 1980s and hanging the shabby background fabric of the photo studio, the atmosphere of the era 30 years ago was presented in epSITE You could feel the reality of vanity in the exhibition and also see the brand new appearance of epSITE after being transformed and redecorated.
To reproduce the works of ZHOU Tiehai, epSITE uses the acid-free archived canvases, which perfectly present the color and the details of Mr. ZHOU’s works.
REN Shulin, ZHOU Tiehai and the curator GU Cheng will all join the opening of the exhibition at 4pm this Saturday in epSITE Shanghai, and the exhibition will be continued until 26th of December.
Again, I sincerely invite you to join the opening ceremony.