Ni Youyu:Dome & Scale


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.

Public Program

Online Sharing Session for "Dome & Scale" Exhibition
The session invites Ni Youyu, Zhu Zhu and HEM curator Shao Shu to retrace and analyze the origins, narrative logic and creative process of the exhibition. In addition, a number of guests who are engaged in art practice discussed the natural and social-historical views of the exhibition and the works in relation to the current reality, taking into account their own industry experience and the development trend of contemporary art.