December 13, 2007 - Hong Kong Arts Centre - Jiao Xingtao
December 13, 2007

Jiao Xingtao

Jiao Xingtao
Requiem for Matter — The Transformation of Material

December 4 – 16, 2007

Opening: December 4, 2007 6 pm – 8 pm

Hong Kong Arts Centre
4th & 5th Floors, 2 Harbour Road,
Wanchai, Hong Kong

Anna Ning Fine Art is proud to present the first-ever solo exhibition in Hong Kong of the work of the exciting young Chinese sculptor Jiao Xingtao in collaboration with Hong Kong Arts Centre from December
4 – 16, 2007.

Born in 1970 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Jiao Xingtao takes familiar everyday items such as discarded packing boxes, an empty milk carton, toothpaste boxes, a rolled-up Wrigley’s chewing gum wrapper or plastic bags from department stores, and using fibre glass transform them into meticulously crafted aesthetic objects.

These works at once thrill, amuse and shock the viewer as not only does Jiao Xingtao recreate the objects with hyper-realistic attention to detail, he also plays with scale to produce the most amazing visual effects. In Jiao Xingtao’s work, small insignificant objects suddenly assume grand proportions. An old cardboard packing box, crushed at the corners, is enlarged to become a formal, monumental sculpture. One is reminded of Rauschenberg’s cardboard boxes of the 1970s, and of his determination to “work in that gap between art and life”. In the same way, Jiao Xingtao questions the distinction between art object and everyday objects, portraying boxes with marks and worn labels that reveal their history and create a patina of wear and age.

In today’s consumer society, Jiao Xingtao seems to be saying, packaging has taken on an importance out of proportion to the object it contains. Packaging may inspire and induce a desire to consume and possess; or confer a certain status. Several of his works bear well recognized luxury logos and commercial symbols including OMEGA, A/X, AK47 and bar codes. Such commercial symbols are reminiscent of Wang Guangyi’s Great Criticism series. However, Jiao Xingtao also distances himself from this consumerism and chooses instead to portray thrown away packaging. With a healthy disrespect for luxury brands, he prefers a trampled Hermes tie box to the pristine bright orange original; and finds a crumpled Marks and Spencer bag pleasing to the eye. In an ephemeral consumer culture, he manages to invest trivial and cast-away objects with dignity and value.

Jiao Xingtao considers these discarded items to be the by-products of mankind’s ceaseless pursuit of materialistic desires. He is also fascinated by the inverted relationship between the “inside” and the “outside” of such packages; he would like to inspire our imagination to penetrate the packaging and go beyond the surface. In “Green Bust” he uses a Wrigley’s Doublemint chewing gum green paper to “wrap”, Christo-like, a bust of Mao Zedong. This would once have been sacrilegious, but today the wrapping merely hints at something forgotten, fading into the past. The combination of a Chinese icon with a Western brand refers to the idolization of American commercial culture in China; and perhaps conversely, since a Chinese icon is packaged as if for export, to the current popularity of Chinese art in the West.

Jiao Xingtao’s choice of subject matter could not be further removed from that of traditional sculpture. At first it may seem strange, risky, even absurd. But he feels as his crumpled and shapeless objects impart unconscious information about our everyday lives, they gain a spiritual symbolic value forming a closer connection with us. Certainly they present a different dimension within the form of sculpture. They explore the ambiguous relationship of reality to artifice as the objects are familiar and vivid, yet transformed and strange. Jiao Xingtao pushes artistic boundaries, creating sculptures that provoke a philosophical as well as a visual response.

For information:
Anna Ning Fine Art
Room 101, 1/F, St. George’s Building, 2 Ice House Street, Central, Hong Kong.
Tel: +852 2521 3193 Fax: +852 2810 9228

Hong Kong Arts Centre
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