He Art Museum (HEM) is presenting Dome & Scale, the largest solo exhibition of artist Ni Youyu to date. Opens on August 27th, 2022, the exhibition curated by Zhu Zhu features over 100 works in a variety of forms, including painting, installation, sculpture, image collage, woodcut, photography, and video that will showcase the artist's creative practice from 2008 to 2022.
Ni Youyu often invokes the conceptual and pictorial sources of art history in a subtle way to shape, measure and expand himself. In the scraps of artifacts, unknown photographs, or old flea-market-objects that he collects on a regular basis, he reveals his keen interest in human history and museology. Through his imaginative reconstructions, these relics from the depths of time are given a new halo that leads the viewer to re-interpret. This gives his artistic form a unique character and originality, at the same time a reflection of post-production.
Influenced by his father, who taught architecture and mechanical drawing at the university, as well as Joseph Cornell, many of Ni Youyu's creations show an intimate relationship with the handcraft. He would even be fascinated by the slightest error and see it as part of the work or as a new opportunity. He identifies with an artistic paradigm that tends to be "rational but not sensual". In exploring "the hidden logical relationships between otherwise unrelated things", Surrealism has brought him important insights and pleasure. But he is always wary of overly vague and indulgent associations, emphasizing the deceptive nature of the visual - "There has been deception since the beginning of images". It is this training in thinking that makes his works at times seem like detective novels: rigorous, neat, and intriguing.
Confronted with the fundamental proposition of time, Ni Youyu has used different perspectives, materials, and forms to relentlessly express himself over the years, claiming that "'time' is the axis that runs through many of my works, and it ties together almost all of my series." In line with this, many of his series have long creative cycles, a process that seems tedious but gives him the opportunity for solitude, and materialization through layers of metaphysical meditation: "My work seems to be constantly about 'time', but almost never about 'timeliness'".
The exhibition takes place at He Art Museum, designed by architect Tadao Ando, to correspond to the context of Ni Youyu's work, the implied three traditional elements of "the heaven, the earth and the mankind". With all his creativity, the artist constitutes a finite and always hovering scale, measuring the dome of infinite space and time above.
About the Artist
Ni Youyu is an artist currently living and working in Shanghai. He was awarded the Contemporary Chinese Art Award (CCAA) as “Best Young Artist” in 2014. Ni Youyu has been curating contemporary art exhibitions in Shanghai and writing art critiques since 2005. Ni became an independent artist in 2007. He was invited to hold solo exhibitions at the Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2012), Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan (2015), Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China (2019), Orange County Museum of Art, California, USA (2018), Kunstverein Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany (2017), Galerie Perrotin, Shanghai, China (2019), Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany (2018), and Gallery Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France (2017). His works of art have been collected by Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, M+ Museum, Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China, He Art Museum, Shunde, China, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia, Arario Museum, Seoul / Jeju, South Korea, me Collectors Room / Olbricht Collection, Berlin, Germany, Sigg Collection, Switzerland, Pinault Collection, Paris, France, DSL Collection, Paris, France, Ghisla Art Collection Foundation, Locarno, Switzerland, Shanghai Center of Photography, and the Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts, Nanjing, China.
About the Curator
Zhu Zhu, poet, art curator, art critic, was born in September 1969. He won the Second Anne-Kao Poetry Prize, the third Chinese Contemporary Art Critic Award (CCAA) and Hushi Poetry Prizes. He is the author of collection of poems, essays and art reviews, including Franch version poetry ‘Blue Smoke’ (2004, French version, translator: Chantal Chen—Andro), ‘Gray Carnival: Chinese Contemporary Art Since 2000’ (Collection of ‘Imaginist’ by Guangxi Normal University Press in 2013, published by ARTCO Journal in 2016). The English version poetry anthology ‘The Wild Great Wall’ is published in 2018 by Phoneme Media in United States.