For his last show at Pekin, ‘I Want What You Want,’ Colin Chinnery duplicated individual works and placed them in formation in such a way as to undermine their individual identities. Now, he has arranged in the gallery an odd little melange of mechanisms, objects and occurrences that address themselves to the relationships between things, their material and orientation. There are five metal frames or stands ringing the floor space. Each of them drags a small object slowly to and fro along a wire – a burnt cigarette packet, a tacky jewellery chain, a one Yuan note, a small bone and a length of hair from a wig. They progress continually and pointlessly back and forth, each object tracing its own path along the ground - lightly, almost soundlessly, methodically. These are called ‘Moved.’ In the middle of the room is the ‘Reliquery,’ which is a square white box with sand and rocks in it; two of the rocks rise up and down independently on sticks in a way that feels anachronistically surreal. Oddest are the ‘Assistants,’ a group of black-wigged heads clustered together in a bunch on the floor – no faces, only shiny fake hair. A white cross and a photograph on the wall of the ventilation ducts on the roof of a building complete the installation.
There is a beautiful uncanniness to this compact and self-sufficient installation. Having started with the idea of horizontal and vertical, it transcends mere axes to inscribe through odd movements and things a truly surreal vision. The exhibition posits the negation of meaning as its central principle; its pervasive absurdity and insistent, non-dramatic articulation make for a witty and intelligent instance of art.
-- Iona Whittaker, a writer living in Beijing.
(All images courtesy of Pekin Fine Arts and the artist.)