A New Ballardian Vision at Metro Pictures

Artists: Nina Beier, Camille Henrot, Martin Kippenberger, Oliver Laric, Robert Longo, Trevor Paglen, Jim Shaw, Cindy Sherman, aaajiao, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Cui Jie, Li Qing, Liu Shiyuan, Pixy Liao

Exhibition title: A New Ballardian Vision

Curated by: Leo Xu

Venue: Metro Pictures, New York, US

Date: June 29 – August 4, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists, Metro Pictures and Leo Xu Projects

As a part of CONDO Complex New York, a gallery swap between New York galleries and national and international partners, Metro Pictures hosts Leo Xu’s two-part exhibition A New Ballardian Vision. The show brings together a selection of works that reflect recent social, technological and environmental developments through the lens of author J.G. Ballard’s (1930–2009) writings. Xu conceived the exhibition as two distinct chapters; the first features Metro Pictures artists Nina Beier, Camille Henrot, Martin Kippenberger, Oliver Laric, Robert Longo, Trevor Paglen, Jim Shaw and Cindy Sherman. The second chapter focuses on a younger generation of Chinese artists represented by Leo Xu Projects, including aaajiao, Chen Wei, Cheng Ran, Cui Jie, Li Qing, Liu Shiyuan and Pixy Liao.

In Chapter One, a recent untitled painting by Jim Shaw references imagery from H.G. Wells’s dystopian science fiction classic War of the Worlds. The painting features a figure based on Gilded Age industrialist William Henry Vanderbilt, depicted as a bloated gas bag scouring an ominous post-industrial cityscape with vacuum tentacles sucking up denizens in his path. Alongside Shaw’s work is a selection of photographs from Cindy Sherman’s Disasters series, which was first shown at Metro Pictures in 1987. The often grotesque tableaux are suggestive of macabre narratives and taboo psychosexual fantasies. Dark psychological currents are also evident in the works of Trevor Paglen, which directly address the omnipresence of the US surveillance state using the tropes of traditional landscape photography and painting.

Chapter Two includes works from seven Chinese artists represented by Leo Xu Projects. Both Chen Wei’s cinematically-staged photographs and Cui Jie’s multi-layered paintings reimagine China’s already strange urban landscapes after reform and opening-up. Li Qing paints post-apocalyptic scenes inspired by Hollywood films on windows made during Shanghai’s colonial period. Liu Shiyuan’s photo-collages and fictional diary tell the story of an anonymous female artist’s trek around the world and her subsequent encounters with political turmoil and war. aaajiao’s video installation draws on society’s obsession with social media and the culture of constant approval, conditions anticipated in Ballard’s writing.

Leo Xu is a Shanghai-based curator, writer and gallerist.

English novelist J.G. Ballard (1930–2009) was born and raised in the Shanghai International Settlement and was later imprisoned in an internment camp for European and American residents during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai during World War II. These experiences influenced the various dystopian themes found in his works.

A New Ballardian Vision, 2017, exhibition view, Metro Pictures, New York

A New Ballardian Vision, 2017, exhibition view, Metro Pictures, New York

A New Ballardian Vision, 2017, exhibition view, Metro Pictures, New York

A New Ballardian Vision, 2017, exhibition view, Metro Pictures, New York

A New Ballardian Vision, 2017, exhibition view, Metro Pictures, New York

A New Ballardian Vision, 2017, exhibition view, Metro Pictures, New York

A New Ballardian Vision, 2017, exhibition view, Metro Pictures, New York

Robert Longo, Untitled (Mirror Flag), 2015, silver oxide, clear coated aluminum bonded polyester resin, 42 x 56 x 14 inches, 106.7 x 142.2 x 35.6 cm

Martin Kippenberger, Lonely American In The Corner Who’s Not Allowed To Speak, 1987, Silver paint on wax Santa, wood shelf, Santa: 6 x 4 x 3 inches; shelf c. 13”

Robert Longo, Untitled (Bodyhammer: 9mm), 2008, Charcoal on mounted paper, 96 x 48 inches (image), 243.8 x 121.9 cm, 100 1/4 x 52 1/2 inches (framed), 254.6 x 133.4 cm

Trevor Paglen, Color Study (San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA), 2016, pigment print, 48 x 80 inches (image), 121.9 x 203.2 cm, 49 1/8 x 81 1/8 inches (frame), 124.8 x 206.1 cm

Trevor Paglen, NSA-Tapped Fiber Optic Cable Landing Site, Point Arena, CA, 2014, C-print, 48 x 60 inches (image), 121.9 x 152.4 cm, 49 1/8 x 61 1/8 inches (frame), 124.8 x 155.3 cm

Oliver Laric, Naturabdruck, 2016, selective laser sintering, alumide, aluminum base, 35 3/8 x 15 3/4 x 11 3/4 inches, 89.9 x 40 x 29.8 cm

Jim Shaw, Dream Object (Hanging legs made out of fiberglass with toes bitten off to demonstrate effect of animal traps), 2007, paper, chicken wire, foam, acrylic paint, 58 x 14 x 27 inches (each), 147.3 x 35.6 x 68.6 cm

Jim Shaw, Untitled, 2016, acrylic on muslin, 64 x 48 inches, 162.6 x 121.9 cm

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1987, Chromogenic color print, 85 x 60 inches (image size), 215.9 x 152.4 cm, 86 3/8 x 61 1/2 inches (frame size), 219.4 x 156.2 cm

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1987, Chromogenic color print, 71 x 47 3/4 inches (image), 180.3 x 121.3 cm, 72 1/2 x 49 1/2 inches (frame), 184.2 x 125.7 cm

Trevor Paglen, Symbology, Volume IV, 2013, 20 fabric patches, framed, 4 3/8 x 4 3/8 inches (each patch size), 11.1 x 11.1 cm, 12 7/8 x 128 7/8 inches (frame size), 32.7 x 327.3 cm

Camille Henrot, Study for Nightmare (Minor Concerns), 2017, watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches (image), 76.2 x 55.9 cm

Camille Henrot, Study for Nightmare (Minor Concerns), 2017, watercolor on paper, 30 x 22 inches (image), 76.2 x 55.9 cm

Nina Beier, Demonstrator, 2015, vinyl print on frame, 61 1/8 x 48 inches, 155.3 x 121.9 cm

Nina Beier, Demonstrator, 2013, Deck chair and poster, 36 1/2 x 38 x 25 1/8 inches, 92.7 x 96.5 x 63.8 cm

Oliver Laric, Sphinx, Sphinx, Sphinx, 2016, selective laser sintering, polyamide,, aluminum base, 47 1/4 x 18 1/8 x 13 3/4 inches, 120 x 46 x 34.9 cm

Oliver Laric, Mutter mit Kindern, 2016, two parts; selective laser sintering, polyamide, aluminum bases, 57 x 13 1/4 x 8 3/4 inches (left side), 144.8 x 33.7 x 22.2 cm, 57 x 14 1/4 x 11 5/8 inches (right side), 144.8 x 36.2 x 29.5 cm

Camille Henrot, Dropping the Ball, 2016, bronze, iron, copper, 117.32 x 65.75 x 26.38 inches, 298 x 167 x 67 cm

Li Qing, Window – Tsunami, 2017, wood, oil on Plexiglas, acrylic paint, aluminum plastic panel, 28 x 19 x 1 inches, 71.1 x 48.3 x 2.5 cm

Chen Wei, Mike, 2016, archival inkjet print, 39 x 31 inches (image), 99.1 x 78.7 cm, 41 3/4 x 33 3/4 inches (frame), 106 x 85.7 cm

Liu Shiyuan, Untitled, 2014, set of 8 inkjet prints and 6 text prints, dimensions variable

Cui Jie, Dalian Telecom Hub Building #4, 2017, photosensitive resin 3D print, 20 13/16 x 9 x 8 5/8 inches, 52.9 x 22.9 x 21.9 cm

Cui Jie, Friendship Building #2, 2017, oil on canvas, 90 1/2 x 59 inches, 229.9 x 149.9 cm

Cui Jie, Friendship Building #2, 2017, oil on canvas, 90 1/2 x 59 inches, 229.9 x 149.9 cm

aaajiao, Candy Wrappers, 2017, single channel video, color; screen, cables, duration: 26’36”

aaajiao, Lorem Ipsum, 2017, single channel video, screen, cables, duration: 20’05”

Chen Wei, Light Box, 2013, archival inkjet print, 59 x 74 inches (image), 149.9 x 188 cm, 61 3/8 x 76 inches (frame), 155.9 x 193 cm

Cheng Ran, Dead Horse Bay, 2016, single channel HD video, color/sound, 16:9, duration: 5’11”

Cheng Ran, The Bridge, 2016, single channel HD video, color/sound, 16:9, duration: 4’25”

Cheng Ran, The Homing Pigeon, 2016, single channel HD video, color/sound, 16:9, duration: 5’53”

Cheng Ran, New York, 2016, single channel HD video, color/sound, 16;9, duration: 4’08”

Pixy Liao, In One Dress, 2017, digital c-print, 40 x 30 inches (image), 101.6 x 76.2 cm, 40 7/8 x 30 7/8 inches (frame), 103.8 x 78.4 cm

Pixy Liao, Moro with a Typewriter, 2017, digital c-print, 40 x 30 inches (image), 101.6 x 76.2 cm, 40 7/8 x 30 7/8 inches (frame), 103.8 x 78.4 cm

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