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IFP New Exhibition | XIE Yi’s Project:V-Ray–Rehearsal for Reification

IFP New Exhibition | XIE Yi’s Project:V-Ray–Rehearsal for Reification

Opening Party: 10th March, 2019, 4pm

Exhibition duration: 2019.03.10 - 2019.04.08

Address: Institute for Provocation · Black Sesame Space. Heizhima No.13, Dongcheng District, Beijing

“A relation between people takes on the character of a thing and thus acquires a ‘phantom objectivity’, an autonomy that seems so strictly rational and all-embracing as to conceal every trace of its fundamental nature: the relation between people.”

—— History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics, Georg Lukács

This is nearly the fundamental essence of commodity structure, which is also what Xie Yi has always touched on - “labour” in artistic practice. Omitted or invisible, it constitutes a material “perfection” and the sublime in artworks. In his recent works, he further probes into the essence of the concept of “reification” (objectification) on levels of objectivity and subjectivity. This also comes from the artist carding through his past works along the thread of “reification”, for example:

“Reified labour” (Barge Haulers on the Volga - Chapter - The Politics of Muscle)

“Reified artwork” (Constituted Color Blocks)

“Reified drama” (Romeo and Juliet)

Through the paintings in this exhibition, Xie Yi constantly grapples against himself - the subjectivity of him being an artist. This has to do with how to subdue or even avoid (if possible) “coincidences”, and how to reify what’s abstract or to simply realize a more objective and scientific image. He uses CPU calculation and rendering to produce “worlds” made up of ready-mades and their relationships (simulating scenes, gravity, reflection and refraction of light and collision and separation, etc.). He then deploys a method similar to that of “divisionism” in neo-impressionism paintings to transfer them (the worlds) onto canvases. In this process, the artist’s labour is subjective compared to an “experimental law” but at the same time objectified just like himself and turned into an artwork (commodity). It is the same with any other consumer goods that become commodities; they comply with a society’s natural laws and necessarily conduct their own “movement” independent of human. Maybe, we suspect that this process also alienates the artist himself?


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