2015 | Rebirth

SEP 05, 2015 - OCT 11, 2015 | Rebirth:Solo Exhibitions Of Cai Dongdong and Li Jun

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Rebirth:Solo Exhibitions Of Cai Dongdong and Li Jun

Organizer: Three Shadows +3 Gallery

Exhibition Dates: September 5 to October 11, 2015

Opening: September 5, 2015, 16:00

Address: No. 155A Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Three Shadows +3 Gallery is proud to present “Rebirth: Solo Exhibitions for Cai Dongdong and Li Jun,” opening on September 5, 2015. This exhibition will feature Cai Dongdong’s new series “Scratched Photographs” and Li Jun’s “Shadow,” a follow-up to his “Impermanent Instant” series of two years ago.


Cai Dongdong began working as a photographer during this time in the military. He has said that this lack of professional training made him “wild,” but this has given him freedom in his work. He has studied the states of people in images, he has taken pictures of himself, and he has researched image-making, and so his explorations have never constituted a instant visual system. Recently, he has drawn from his vast archive of old pictures, choosing a few that look useless; these become the original “canvases,” which he recreates with a knife or sandpaper as his “paintbrush.” By systematically abrading the subject of the pictures, Cai removes the original figurative information in the picture. The individual’s identity becomes vague, suspicious, and unimportant. The clear power relationship between the subject and the background is also challenged. Interestingly, because the pigments adhering to the paper base have been destroyed, the winding, continuous lines are merely areas of white or golden luster. Because of the existence of the subject’s contours, the viewer still can identify the subject’s actions or movements. The act of removing specific information about the subject actually makes the subject as a whole more prominent. This is the first time that Cai’s “Scratched Photographs” series will be exhibited.


Li Jun’s new series, “Nothing,” is an extension of “Impermanent Instant,” but the objects that viewers could discern in “Impermanent Instant” become riddles in “Nothing.” The internal logic of the series is still the desire to trace an object’s presence; the cause is time and the result is space. Presence and absence are very serious ideas, but ones that are expressed very casually in “Impermanent Instant.” The soft colors, painterly compositions, ordinary environments are simply a refreshing presentation method, but this method was also the best way to present the dust. “Nothing” is an extension of this idea of presence and absence, but here, the casual tone is subverted. The color palette has been simplified to black, white, and grey. The compositions only contain the two perpendicular planes of the support and the background. Li transforms the months of accumulated dust into a light and a shadow fixed in the flash of a camera; the sense of space has been weakened and the sense of time has been weakened, but the sense of emptiness is even more pronounced. In the pictures, the color and composition create an extremely minimalist mood. Visually, they lead the viewer into an artistic realm. Expressively, the absence of the objects and the preservation of light and shadow guide the viewer towards considerations of truth and falsehood.


Cai Dongdong’s poetry and Li Jun’s minimalism present two completely different worlds, but their conception of photography is similar, in that they view themselves as re-creators. The title of the exhibition hints at their re-birth into their new identities as re-creators.

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