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Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
19 September, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
26 October, 2019
Event Category:

Massimo De Carlo Hong Kong is pleased to present a new series of paintings by Xu Qu, entitled “Fineness.”

Known for his original multiform approach, Xu Qu is one of the most interesting creative talents from the new generation of young Chinese artists who grew up in the 1980s. For over several years, Xu Qu has been exploring a wide range of mediums, such as videos, paintings, sculptures and installations that are questioning the reality of our global world.

In Xu Qu’s new body of work, the artist deviates slight from his previous map-like topographic canvas questioning power relations and the role of currency in our modern world, creating a series of extremely personal, zoomed-in canvases reflecting the currency design of money. “Fineness” emphasizes the collision of various painting elements instead of visual investigation on the partial enlargement of world currencies. Focusing in on a specific aspect of various global currencies, Xu Qu zooms into a tiny cropped section of Hong Kong dollar, RMB, US dollar as well as the Euro. In this sense, Xu Qu’s paintings take up the conceptual characteristic of plural investigations, revealing an artistic approach that is minimal, non-figurative, dematerialized and globalized. Once you identify the crucial iconographic designs of each currency, the perception of each painting alters itself in a strange way, in which the intricacy of each hand drawn canvas morphs with the indentation of a monetary system that is at the core of our society, creating an intimate yet distancing effect.

In “Fineness”, symbols on the currencies begin to mutate, distort and overlap on the canvas. These strong visual effects seem to herald the breakdown of globalization or the arrival of a crisis. As the artist said: “The world moves in an extremely fast speed and its effect has incredible influences on everyone. Nodes of the painting inevitably interact with massive social change, such as Impressionism arising from circumstances of the 19th Century Industrial Revolution, the global movement of Minimalism, etc, the world has come to a juncture again.”

Elements of Xu’s geometric abstraction remains in the foreground of the works, adopting a softer colour palette with meticulously painted brushstrokes, miraculously transforming these power signifiers into small quaint frames bursting with colour and symbolism. Impressionistic techniques are referenced throughout Fineness, with each short and quick brushstroke capturing the essence of the currency, which the artist also convolutes with the clashing of symbols.

Through this exhibition, the artist plays on the topical disruption the of our current society, hinting towards the idea that we are at the apex of a global crisis, referencing monetary symbols and systems as well as vanguard art historical techniques to create a new sense of urgency towards our time. 


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