Force Majeure

Curated by Lu Mingjun

Opening Reception with the Curator: January 18 | 6-8 PM

January 18 – March 18, 2020

Zhuang Hui
Everything - 087, 2006
Archival pigment print
31 1/2 x 47 1/4 inches (80 x 120 cm)
Courtesy of the artist, Galleria Continua, and Eli Klein Gallery © Zhuang Hui.

Host Future
Inside Out, 2017
Single channel video with sound
4 minutes 48 seconds

Wang Sishun
Apocalypse 17.3.12, 2020
Acrylic on canvas
39 3/8 x 33 inches (100 x 84 cm)

Liu Qinmin
The Rite of Spring, 2019-2020
Single channel video with sound
Special version for this exhibition.

Li Ming
Single channel video with sound
Courtesy the artist and Antenna Space Shanghai

Tang Dixin
Leaves, 2015
Oil on canvas
23 5/8 x 19 3/4 inches (60 x 50 cm)
Courtesy of the artist, Aike Gallery, and Eli Klein Gallery © Tang Dixin.

Yang Zhichao
Planting Grass, 2000
Archival pigment print
34 5/8 x 53 7/8 inches (88 x 137 cm)

Gong Jian
The Second Self, 2019
Mixed media on paper
Image: 11 5/8 x 8 1/4 inches (29.5 x 21 cm) Each
Framed: 15 1/2 x 12 1/8 inches (39.5 x 31 cm) Each

Gong Jian
The Second Self, 2019
Mixed media on paper
Image: 11 5/8 x 8 1/4 inches (29.5 x 21 cm) Each
Framed: 15 1/2 x 12 1/8 inches (39.5 x 31 cm) Each

He Yunchang
One Meter of Democracy, 2010
Color video with sound
12 minutes 11 seconds

Shi Jiayun
Oval #4, 2018
Oil on canvas
40 x 30 inches (101.6 x 76.2 cm)
Courtesy of the artist, Gallery Vacancy, and Eli Klein Gallery © Shi Jiayun.

Xiao Kegang
Anonymous-1, 2019
Acrylic on canvas
98 3/8 x 78 3/4 inches (250 x 200 cm)

Press Release

Eli Klein Gallery is proud to present “Force Majeure,” a survey of 13 internationally renowned artists from China, featuring a wide range of works including painting, video, photography, installation, performance/action works created from 2010 to 2020. “Force Majeure” (“superior force” in French) invites the audience to reconsider what superior power means to individuals, in the context of nature, politics, gender and identity, mind and body, the worldly and the transcendent, etc.

Artists: Dai Furen, Future Host, Gong Jian, He Yunchang, Li Ming, Liu Qinmin, Shen Xin, Shi Jiayun, Tang Dixin, Wang Sishun, Xiao Kegang, Yang Zhichao, Zhuang Hui

“Force majeure” mostly appears in contrasting powers. Under common definition, “force majeure” covers events that include natural disasters, governmental orders, and political protest demonstrations. When certain circumstances arise, previously existing obligations are challenged because of the new generally admitted superior power. As a metaphor, “force majeure” also denotes a juggernaut, powerful and merciless. Coexisting with the superior power and sharing vulnerabilities, how could individuals respond, react, or even challenge the seemingly inevitable? What happens when one goes beyond his/her limit? Considering these questions, “Force Majeure” will display artistic interactions with the uncontrollable and the unavoidable, hoping to contribute innovative contemplations to today’s social, political, and environmental discussions.  

In a variety of circumstances of “force majeure,” the selected group of artists adopts different attitudes, strategies, and methods in their practice. In Zhuang Hui, Tang Dixin and Li Ming’s performances, the mere interaction between humans and nature creates a Force Majeure. In He Yunchang and Dai Furen’s works, the political organization of humans create institutions and operate like “force majeure.” In Wang Sishun’s adventurous journey and Yang Zhichao's grass-growing performance conducted on his own body, the artists challenge the endurance of body and mentality. For Gong Jian, Xiao Kegang, and Shi Jiayun, painting in abstraction constructs the fight against “force majeure.” As a contrast, for Shen Xin, Liu Qinmin and the performance art group known as Future Host, their characters of identity, gender, and religion have become “force majeure.” 

The curator, Lu Mingjun, concludes in his statement:

“Artists often act and practice in a relatively absurd way, while their seemingly ridiculous provocations may reveal the power dialectics between the subject of an irresistible force and humanity. With cases of ‘force majeure’ emerging from reality and history, this show comprehensively demonstrates human fragility and anxiety, wisdom and courage, and limited freedom and ease under an inexorable force.” 

Press Inquiries:
Gia Kuan, | +1 212-255-4388

Eli Klein Gallery
Phil Cai, | +1 212-255-4388