Flash - Flash

Ann Niu 

Opening Reception: October 27th, 2018, 17:00

Exhibition Dates: October 28th - December 9th, 2018

ArtCN is thrilled to present Ann Niu's solo exhibition “Flash - Flash” featuring her new series on canvas and rice paper. This is the artist's fourth exhibition held in our gallery and the first one since we have relocated in our new space.

Ann Niu uses a variety of lines and shapes, straight lines and curves, ovals and circles, which in turn, form human figures as well as a diverse array of symbols, including numerals, Chinese characters, implements of our daily life and a number of abstract signs. Her paintings offer a narrative that might be her own, or those of others. These are not one-dimensional but rather multi-faceted. If one could decipher the artist's code, one might be able to understand the stories embodied on her canvas. Ann Niu uses sparkling and fashionable colours to create a striking visual effect enhanced by graceful calligraphic lines, which in her artistic language speak about the fragility but resilience of human nature. Her paintings are full of tension, extending beyond their own edges and into infinity, creating a feeling of forward movement and restlessness.

Whether through reminiscence or prediction, the flash plays with time. For Ann Niu, time is a material to fight against, which she tries to reveal in the present. With your eyes closed, only the glitter remains. There are traces of the works, powerful colours, elusive shapes, like memories, like ideas that arise without warning and that float around our minds. And very often, we are surprised. It came to me in a flash…

Through the artist's paintings, all of which are made on thick fabrics - tarpaulins - we can guess borders and winks shared with other territories. The "Flash-Flash" series is a world of encounters, between art history, Chinese literature and calligraphy, whose aesthetic is at the frontier between street art and pop culture. Drawings, lines of paint, shiny and glittery lines intersect to generate abstract forms, conceal figures, show others, in whole or in part. Ann Niu's work is in this multi-layered territory – where no work can be viewed in the same way, depending on the distance and angle at which the eye sits – a work in which she has used codes, numbers, which refer to real or imaginary combinations, and above all, a work where she has planted her cross, as a sign of recognition. A cross that humanises the work, bringing it back to earth, because to her it shows the error, which, far from representing failure, on the contrary, ensures victory.

The artist is attached to the human being and physical presence in general. The material is therefore essential in her work, and justifies her keen interest in glitter. Glitter cannot be taken in photos, smartphones or in other screens or filters. It needs a presence to be seen. To exist. It is elusive, in the same way that what it evokes is elusive: joy, childhood, naivety... But it is also nostalgic. Each piece of glitter plays with light and has a multitude of facets. This material also carries within itself a duality: both attracting attention and concealing something... It is make-up. The artist's use of sequins also reinforces the idea of a territory to scratch and decipher. The viewer becomes an archaeologist. Ann Niu hides messages in her work. Tattoos on an incarnate canvas. The work becomes a body, with its relationship to the intimate and the memory, which the viewer tries to understand. A body full of emotion, celebrations, poetry and memories.

In the "Flash-Flash" series, words have an undeniable presence, and respond to numbers and lines. There is an exultant humour and black humour in her work... Ann Niu hides quotations, expressions, with a tribute to certain type of Dadaism, it is, according to her, "a dialogue between words, images and reality". As is the case in Chinese language, when a character has several meanings: imaginary links are created between them. The game of associations unfolds, in the artist's works, like an exquisite corpse, before our eyes. It is a liberation of thought, an invitation to daydream. A revelation to ourselves.