On an exhibition line of more than twenty meters in the newly renovated Glass Windows Space a number of artists will present their small scale works on easel, which are all less than 1㎡.
The small scale work on easel has always been important to an artist, and sometimes is even considered as an artist’s “trump-card”. Classical masters, like Rubens and Rembrandt, modern ones, like Picasso and Matisse, and the contemporary superstars in art, like Martin Kippenberger and Damien Hirst, have all contributed to the public some small scale works on easel. In terms of the exterior features and the artist’s motivation, these works on easel fall into four categories. The first includes practical exercise works like sketches, random works or notes when inspiration strikes. A variety of materials can serve as the carrier or molding material, such as a sketch book, a scrap of cloth, a wrapper, a piece of wood, a table surface, a wall, the earth, or even a stone. The second refers to those formally presented works of relatively small size which, compared with the large-scale works, are easier to handle and manage. They are either the artists’ favorites or are forced works (due to lack of material or poverty). On the other hand, easy to keep and carry, These works, not costing so much, are popular among collectors. Small-size works that are based on techniques belong to the third category, such as engravings of all kinds, printed works of limited circulation, which has some limits on the size of the work due to the complex techniques or some practical needs. The last group covers those that are aimed to create a sense of unfamiliarity or shock. The artists choose to do so because of their particular concepts, and they even deliberately reduce what they paint. It is not very common. What impresses the audience is the great number of the crosshairs. It is a symptom of the modern trend in which the great, the enormous and the powerful are overvalued in contemporary art.
In this exhibition, there wiil be no tag or introduction to the works, and neither are the artists clearly divided into different parts — the works are closely arranged and presented in a seemingly random combination. In this case, the exterior features of the work themselves, their implication, the status or the title of the artists, the history of art, and all the other original distinctions are weakened or blurred and give way to “representation” in a “confusing” or conflicting way, thus resulting in subtle intertextuality between the works. These closely displayed works are reminiscent of how the art works were displayed in French saloons in the 19th century or various goods in shop-windows downtown. In the parody, the sense of superiority that used to be attached to the “modernity” of these works is challenged and the commercial elements emerge and become abrupt and evident. The confusion and chaos brought out in the works make it hard for the viewers to concentrate on one particular work. Therefore, any gaze on a work must be on a micro level.
These works on the wall, as a matter of fact, might fail to arouse great enthusiasm in the audience in an age when the city dwellers are so accustomed to graphs, fast food and twitter. Or you might ask, as you do habitually, if we can spam, what will become of this mixture of information?