“Social Landscape” as A Landscape in Society
Nov 16 - Dec 15, 2013

Press Release

November 16, 2013, “Social Landscape” as A Landscape in Society of Shanchuan Lv will be held in the White Box Museum of Art. The newest large paintings will be on show. And the critic Guiyan He is the curator of it.  

Arts created by Shanchuan Lv these years, have always been presenting various information veiled by the spectacle of society with a grandly magnificent momentum. Meanwhile, he wished to integrate diverse spectacles into his series of individual creations. As Guiyan He said, “there’s no pure spectacle but just one in diverse space-time and cultural context. What’s different from the nature is that the spectacle of society may socialize the nature and landscape. And in the spectacle of society, artists would create the scene in the view of sociology without simplicity. Therefore, scene we see is just a representation, under which remains the narration.” And Lv’s paintings are exactly the exposure of the meanings behind the spectacle of society.

CURATOR: He Guiyan
PRESENTED BY: Sun Yongzeng

ORGANIZER: White Box Museum of Art 
OPENING:4pm,16th of November,2013
DATE:November16- December15,2013
MUSEUM OPENING HOURS:10:00- 18:00,Tuesday- Sunday
VENUE:WHITE BOX MUSEUM OF ART,798 Art Dist., NO.2 Jiu Xianqiao Road, Chaoyang Dist., Beijing, China

T: +86-10-5978 4800      
Website:  www.798whitebox.com

Curator Article

Held in 2007, Lv Shanchuan’s solo exhibition, “Event”, all of which exhibited have covered the timely international news in that year. In 2008, the artist turned his attention into the domestic news and created his new series “Event 2008”, which covered the big earthquake in Wenchuan and the 29th Olympic games in Beijing. Digging into the track of the artist’s creative concepts, we can read a new feature in Mr. Lv’s works - social landscape as spectacle, which can be concluded from his “Event” series, a translation of the news photo, and the “Square” series (2009), the real symbol of the new feature.
The word “spectacle” originated from a French sociologist Guy Debord’s concept “The Society of the Spectacle”. Inspired by Marx’s concept of the “fetishism of the commodity”, Debord believes the “spectacular” fetishsism is the main feature of the post industrialization, in which the relationship between human and object reversely reflected as the relationship among objects. Stepped into the “spectacle”, the real object is less required, but instead with the fictitious image and become an illusive landscape. The so called “spectacular landscape” underlined the “appropriation” and “parody” which usually could be seen in the post modern art, the fragmented and inconsistent narration is then advocated. The chaos and the disorder exist together within the aesthetic pursuit of the absurd through the combination of the real and the surreal. In Lv Shanchuan’s work, we can read “appropriation”, “fragmented and duplicated element”, as well as the civilian appeals, which is delivered in a restraining and serious way, not a absurd way.
Honestly, when the artist focused on the news photo, he has realized the dependency between image and reality. Meanwhile, the “spectacle landscape” reflected the change of the methodology in Chinese contemporary painting. In late 90s, China society entered the “image era”, constituted by media networks. The “image conversion” in the contemporary painting refers the “photo conversion” or “photo translation”. That means the scenes of the “spectacular landscape” are mostly from the converted photos or other visual image. In this kind of works, the artists are no longer representing the surface of the world; instead, they alter and appropriate the visual images to build up their fictitious real world. But this also gives rise to another question, namely the change of realism in the visual era. That means, though these photos and images come from the reality, but these are “second-handed” truth, then where is the “real” truth? In Lv Shanchuan’s work, he neither directly copy the news photos, nor simply representing them. Considering the “Square” series, he was recoding the photos, in order to express his subjective language and concept, at the same time to turn them into the brand new landscapes. However, what is the relationship between the spectacle landscape and the real landscape? In fact, we can consider the creating process as a significance derive of the photos: reality - recoding - spectacle landscape. Obviously, there are two stages between spectacle and reality.
By the news photos, it is hardly to touch the “real truth” of Lv Shanchuan’s work. Since we couldn’t know the truth of the reality, the meaning of the creating then lies upon how the artists choose different images. In another word, the news photo that the artist chose in beginning, it is the meaning he delivered later. Generally, the basic function of the news photo is to record, however, the reader is consuming the culture by reading newspaper, knowing news, and receiving information. Since 2007, reading newspaper becomes the main part of Mr. Lv’s daily life. When he did the filtrate of the news photo, he was considering the information of the news and the significance that a news photo brings, which contains two dimensions: how to stimulate the inner meaning out of the social civilian context, and how to dig into the new possibility of the contemporary painting.
Same as the “Event”, “Square” is also originated from the news photos, which not only refers the physical space but also contains politics and social rights. In a previous interview with Mr. Fan Dian, Lv Shanchuan mentioned “The square in a certain time can bear the memory of the events in that time. As a domestic and local public space from Athens, square is a symbol of the democracy, in which people can participate in the public politics. Millions of the big events happened in square, criminal was sentenced or winner was celebrated, it is a place to share the information and news, like the media platform in nowadays. It is also a place can represent the country and power, standing as a temple and be protected with weapons.” Through Lv Shanchua’s work, we can see his thought on the daily news. Although he tried to decrease the politics sense in his works, like “Huangyan island”, “Diaoyu island” and “nuclear power station”, it is still easy to read the social information inside. In another word, when the artist decided to do this news photo theme, which use a new language to tell the social issues, and the artist has to accept them as a part of his creativity.
“Recoding” the news photo and working on it in another way can be regarded as a new try that the artist made to explore the new possibility of the contemporary art. Lv Shanchuan requires himself to deal with the daily news on that day, in order to set himself in the event. In the late works, we can see that he is still trying to close the core of the event. With the limit of timeliness, news is born and vanished one by one, however, Lv Shanchuan has produced his own way to record the news and events, which brought the information of time, background and memory. With an experimental work, Lv Shanchuan did the painting on the same work every month, to cover the old version and create a new one. Although there is a fuzzy connection between the painting work and the original photo, the artist can’t predict the final version at all with his every movement. For the artist, it is not only a painting, it is a way of acting and feeling. At the end, an unexpected work is born in its way.
In the mid & late 19th century, the western art world was predicted ‘the death of painting’ & ‘the end of painting’ when the photography had been accepted widely in the society. For Chinese artists, their painting also faced the crisis of ‘aphasia’ when ‘the image time’ was born in the mid & late 1990s. From this perspective, Lv Shanchuan’s exploration in the concept painting is positive. Actually, from <Event> in 2007 and <World Square> to recently <Huang Yan Island> series, the dominant direction of Lv’s paintings still follows a kind of landscape scenery. In the painting style, Lv has always been the pursuit of the grand and majestic, and the painting structure not only hides personal vision, but also makes the formal view become possible. At the same time, the huge painting enhances the appeal of the scenery, and turns the ‘events’ in the news pictures to a kind of landscape, which is a sociological scenery. 
When we talk about “Social Landscape”, we mean the socialized the landscape and spectacle, with which to meet the aesthetic and cultural expectation of the contemporary audience. Lv Shanchuan, produced the “Event” series, believes his paintings can be regarded as a kind of image or channel, to delivered the covered expressions of the real events. In that case, the “Social Landscape” and the “Landscape of social event” have a common nature. In fact, to draw the “Events” as sceneries can reveal the questioning attitude of the artists to the media, as well as their own thinking on the individual existence and art production. 


Installation View


Media Report