Qu Leilei, ‘Determination and Responsibility’
As we enter into 2019, we face an important year for 3812 Gallery and for Asian art enterprises. Last year, we opened a Hong Kong outpost on Wyndham Street, in the heart of Hong Kong’s gallery district. As part of our international development strategy, we also moved into the St James District of London, presenting Chinese contemporary art in this historic building. There are two reasons we have chosen Qu Leilei as the artist for 3812 Gallery London’s first major solo exhibition. First is that Qu Leilei and 3812 Gallery are both marked by a union of East and West. Qu Leilei has been living and developing in Britain since 1985, absorbing the progression from the Renaissance to modern art, at once coolly observing as an outsider, while also pondering the internal issues facing Chinese art. Second, both Qu Leilei and 3812 Gallery are deeply rooted in Britain, while actively exploring the future of Chinese art (especially ink art), which is quite the rarity.
Each of us has our own unique form of life, just as each artist has their own unique creative spirit. Qu Leilei’s works have been exhibited in major galleries and museums in China and around the world, including the National Art Museum of China, the Beijing International Art Biennale, the Venice Biennale, and the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. Two of his works, Lei Feng from the Empires series, and Journey from the Facing the Future series, entered into the permanent collection of the British Museum in 2015. Qu Leilei’s works are a living integration of alienation and gazing, with powerful critical thought. For instance, the Empires series considers issues regarding war, the state, and the individual in society. In today’s fantastical digital era, Qu Leilei’s series of paintings based on human hands have an extraordinary sense of intimacy and substance, refreshing and expanding our extant imagination of painting with Chinese brush, ink and scroll paper. Just as Professor Wang Chunchen noted in Echoes: Gazing Out on Qu Leilei from the Homeland, “ Qu Leilei’s artistic explorations after leaving China were a continuation of the artistic issues he explored and discussed in China, which makes it quite meaningful to look back on his artistic creations today.” This tension between “presence” and “absence” has always existed in every Chinese artist. Tradition tugs at us, leaving us once speechless in the contemporary context; we once drifted across the seas, only to eventually, whether consciously or not, return to look back and reflect on the state of Chinese art in our own ways.
In the previous exhibition, enLIGHTenment, we discussed Qu Leilei’s unique “light-driven” painting technique that combines Chinese brushwork with the Renaissance spirit. He has bathed the “black and white” of Chinese art with ray after ray of “light.” The third line of the Qian Hexagram reads, “The gentleman perseveres through the day, and cautious at night, no fault.” Qu Leilei’s artistic life is like that gentleman, diligently creating each day, in hopes of bringing light to Chinese art. The theme of this exhibition is Echoes. Qu Leilei says, “Art itself is the echo of life.” In this digital world where existentialism has lost effect, we are lost more profoundly than in any other era. Where is the boundary between the real and the virtual? Where can the purpose and meaning of life find peaceful fulfillment? If art is another form of life, how can we elevate everyday life to the level of art? Every one of Qu Leilei’s paintings is an echo of his own life. We hope that every visitor to the exhibition can personally sense that behind each of these “black, white and light” paintings, are the echoes of the artist probing life.
We cordially invite all friends and collectors to join us at 3812 Gallery London for the opening of the Qu Leilei solo exhibition Echoes, on the first stop in its international tour from 3812 Gallery Hong Kong. Qu Leilei will also present works at the first Ink Now art fair in Taipei. Let us feel the undulations of the body through the flows of brush and ink, and through the yin and yang tones of the painting, touch the artist’s life in art.
曲磊磊,《希望在我們手中》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Hope Remains in Our Own Hands’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《同心協力》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Unity’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《未來在我們手中》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘The Future Remains in Our Hands’, Ink on paper, 110 cm x 180 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《掌握自己的命運》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Mastering our Own Fate’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《決心和擔當》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Determination and Responsibility’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《晨光》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Morning Light’, Ink on paper, 172 cm x 90 cm, 2016
曲磊磊,《蹲著的女人體》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Squatting Figure’, Ink on paper, 170 cm x 92 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《站立女人體》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Standing Figure’, Ink on paper, 172 cm x 90 cm, 2016
曲磊磊,《躺在毯子上的女人體》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Nude Lying on Decorative Carpet’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2017
曲磊磊,《俯身女人體》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Reclining Nude’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2016
曲磊磊,《我們是一支不可戰勝的力量》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Invincible’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2015
曲磊磊,《背立的女人體》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Standing Figure Back View’, Ink on paper, 170 cm x 92 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《花窗簾前的安東尼婭》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Antonia in front of the Floral Curtain’, Ink on paper, 168 cm x 94 cm, 2010
曲磊磊,《背立的克雷爾》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Natalie Standing Backwards’, Ink on paper, 168 cm x 93 cm, 2015
曲磊磊,《側面跪的娜塔麗》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘The Side Kneeling Natalie’, Ink on paper, 169 cm x 93 cm, 2015
曲磊磊,《靜卧的女人體》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Lying Figure’, Ink on paper, 92 cm x 170 cm, 2018
曲磊磊,《側臥沙發上的娜塔麗》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Side Lying Natalie on the Sofa’, Ink on paper, 93 cm x 169 cm 2016
曲磊磊,《沙發上的娜塔麗》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Natalie on the Sofa’, Ink on paper, 90 cm x 170 cm, 2016
曲磊磊,《躺在花毯上的娜塔麗》, 水墨、紙本 Qu Leilei, ‘Natalie Lying on the Floral Blanket’, Ink on paper, 90 cm x 170 cm, 2015