14 September – 13 October 2012
Chinese Arts Centre presented the first UK solo by Han Feng, winner of the first John Moores Painting Prize China. The subjects of Han Feng’s paintings are usually familiar objects from our daily lives. They are staged in isolation on the surface of an empty background. Removing them completely from the context of their surroundings, Han tries to avoid narrative meaning.
Paint is applied with delicate brushstrokes in several translucent layers. Instead of describing the form and structure of the subject, we are presented with a semi-abstract pattern. Han emphasizes the subtle variation of every single line and shade, which together describes the interior of a corridor or staircase. He shows a special interest in directional built environments with unseen ends. The tension created by the hidden end is further extended out into the gallery environment. Standing in front of his works, we appear to be right in the middle of moving air.
Another part of this exhibition is a large-scale installation created from photographs of buildings, printed onto tracing paper. The fragile material creates a contrast to the solidity of buildings, evoke an uncertainty in life. It allows the artist to raise a philosophical question; the question of making choices. Which direction do we go in? Where do we belong in our daily surroundings? The leather shoes and clothes for birds are artworks act as a metaphor which reflects the human world. The artist imagines how birds might respond if given the choice, would they put on glamorous outfits and sacrifice their natural ability to fly?
Our world is often built with a single perspective. It has been developed in a single way, which a majority of people never get the chance to stop and question. Han Feng is hoping to raise the question of alternative thinking by putting us in an environment of tension and dilemma.