A Lecture Upon The Shadow brings together new work by six artists from the North West and Shanghai. Using different approaches, the artists play with light, shadow and form to re-imagine familiar situations, exploring photography’s relationship to illusion and the everyday.
The exhibition takes its title from a poem by the English Renaissance poet John Donne. It is a unique collaboration between Open Eye Gallery and ShanghART, Shanghai’s leading commercial gallery.
The six exhibiting artists are: David Jacques (Liverpool); Tabitha Jussa (Liverpool); David Penny (Manchester); Fan Shi San (Shanghai); Man Yi (Shanghai) and Liang Yue (Shanghai).
David Jacques’ new series Corpus Mercatorium (2012) is inspired by the writings of 16th Century Demonologist Johann Weyer. It brings together photographic portraits from corporate PR web pages and photographs from WW1 archives, collaged together to create a surreal narrative. A short story accompanies the work, presented as a transcribed counseling session that describes the journey of an office worker as she makes her way into the city. Corpus Mercatorium includes a further text-based piece which isn’t included in this exhibition
Liang Yue’s new photographs Numerous Continuation: Summer Autumn Chaos (2012) were taken in deteriorating lighting conditions and capture frozen moments from everyday life. By subtly manipulating her images, Liang Yue enhances the effects of natural and artificial light on the camera lens and the surface of the image, creating imaginary scenes caught somewhere between twilight and darkness.
Fan Shi San’s project Two of Us (2009 -) explores the identity formation of people born in China since the introduction of the one child policy (a population control measure that applies to married, urban couples, in place since 1978). Constructing images of young people together with their imaginary reflections, the works are suggestive of separation and loneliness, as the two characters in the images never seem to be able to communicate.
Man Yi’s Memory of Water (2006 – 2010) traces details of a landscape surrounding the Yangtze River as it follows its natural course through the Yangtze region and into the East China Sea. Details are barely visible, caught in darkness, evoking a strange sense of detachment and unease. Man Yi’s experiments with light and depth of field create illusory spaces that are full of suspense and difficult to define.
A Lecture Upon The Shadow premiered at ShanghART’s H Space from 27 July to 27 August 2012 as part of the UK Now Festival, a major visual and performing arts festival taking place across China from April – November 2012.