contemporary art


Lily & Honglei Art Studio’s augmented reality artworks “Crystal Coffin” and “Dragon’s Pearl” on view at at both Longlake Festival & LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, Switzerland, Opening June 24, 2016.

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Lily & Honglei Art Studio continues presenting their new project “Shadow Play” by launching the next solo exhibition at Wilfrid Israel Museum of Asian Art & Studies.

Although remains in-progress, the artist collective has been invited to exhibit their new project at several art venues around the globe since 2015, including Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning in New York, SOMART in San Francisco, Gwangju Media Art Festival in South Korea, and Wilfrid Israel Museum in Israel. The exhibits include a dozen of large prints, and a slideshow compiled of seventy screenshots of “Shadow Play” virtual reality.

Special thanks to Dr. Anat Turbowicz, museum director,  and Shir Yamaguchi, museum curator, for making this exhibition possible. Find more from museum website http://www.wilfrid.org.il/en/?p=578

Lily & Honglei, shadow play, asian art, chinese art, shadow puppetry

Curatorial Statement
By Dr. Shoshan Brosh-Vaitz and Shir Meller-Yamaguchi. Editing by He Li

“Chinese shadow puppet theater probably began in the 6th century during the Tang dynasty as a means of disseminating religious and historical narratives, often with highlighting the value of justice and morality. Over the years, the design of the dyed leather shadow puppets became increasingly complex; delicate cutting and coloring as well as an impressive repertoire of characters and set decorations came to be developed. Due to the dramatic ideological, technological, and cultural change that took place in China during the 20th century, this art form has waned in popularity and almost become a thing of the past. The medium has been preserved primarily through the work of collectors such as Richard Hardiman, whose collection is presented in the exhibition.

“Folk art, however, is deeply rooted in cultural consciousness and has the power to revive itself when it becomes relevant to its time again. In Shadow Play by New York-based Chinese art collective Lily and Honglei, the shadow puppets reappear in a new guise within a seemingly naïve set. Originally created on a virtual reality platform, the work was adapted for screening as a slideshow presentation for the exhibition. Using the magical imagery of the traditional shadow puppets, the artists present critical commentary on the social ills shadowing over China.

Lily & Honglei, Asian Art, Chinese contemporary artist, Chinese shadow puppetry

Image by Lily & Honglei Art Studio © 2016

“Shadow Play reflects on the radical transformations experienced by China over the past thirty years through a tragic story of a rural family. The story embodies a deplorable trend that has been taking place all over China: villages and rural neighborhoods are being razed, and people who object to it are being murdered by interested parties. Children are being abducted while migrant workers are being relocated from small villages to filthy, overcrowded underground dwellings in large cities, all the while pollution abounds and public security breaks down. Basic values such as life, freedom, and dignity are being trampled in broad daylight. Lily and Honglei sketch this grim reality as a surrealistic narrative, in which mesmerizing beauty and horror are placed side by side. Green sunlight and an enchanted moonlight of yellowish-red color become obfuscated by the shadowy predicaments of reality.

“Scenes from the traditional shadow puppet theater are presented alongside scenes from its contemporary counterpart to offer a perspective on the age-old conflict between man’s base, demonic portions-which are manifest in greed, violence and exploitation–and the beautiful, exalted facets of human existence, which dwells in harmony, cooperation, altruism, and dedication.”

For more info about “Shadow Play,” visit project website http://lilyhonglei.com/shadowplay2/about.html

 

Lily & Honglei, asian art, shadow play

Image by Lily & Honglei Art Studio

Essay by Serena Jara, Jamaica Flux 2016 Catalog:

“A smoggy window view looks outwards towards a bustling cityscape, where traffic, skyscrapers, and pedestrians disappear into the industrialized atmosphere. An inverted figure materializes from the haze, suspended midair. Free falling through dense smog, the body appears poised to crash on top of the urban sprawl, frozen in its ominous descent. Gray tones envelop the dystopian scene as well as the weightless industrial worker, who appears rendered in hand drawn lines, cut out and collaged into photographic space. Her final moments assume hauntingly mythological characteristics, telling one story of the suicides afflicting many migrant workers who build China’s expanding skylines.

“Lily and Honglei’s installation for Jamaica Flux, entitled, ‘Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization of China’ and exhibited on site at the Jamaica Center of Arts and Learning, studies the many layers of China’s expansion into modernity. Employing darkly dystopian allegories that reflect individualized struggles, the narrative of a village family displaced by mass land grabbing takes on the forms of virtual and augmented realities. The overarching storyline is comprised of both research and thirty years of lived experience. Presented in four chapters, the tale details the murder of the village chief at the hands of demolition crews, his son’s subsequent abduction, and his wife’s journey into the city to search for her lost child. Featuring a synthesis between traditional Chinese shadow play puppetry and advanced three dimensional rendering technologies, the project becomes an immersive fable told through equal parts symbolism and bleak reflections of reality.

“As the mother emerges from the subterranean city beneath Beijing, home to many rural migrant workers who build the expanding urban skyline above ground, she witnesses some of the most strikingly dark imagery visible in “Shadow Play.” Images of falling workers hover over her anonymously like ghosts, dangling from wires and steel beam ledges. Speaking at the 2015 Creative Capital Artist’s Retreat, Honglei explains that the visuals of descending migrant bodies ‘specifically reflects on the worker suicide cases at Foxconn factory, the electronics manufacturer behind popular products like iPads and iPhones.’ Despite their spirit-like, evaporating qualities, one cannot separate the disappearing figures from the “modernity” achieved by rapid urbanization of China. Lily and Honglei effectively bridge disconnect from both sides of one story into potent allegorical tensions, fitting vast complexity into small shadow puppet characters inhabiting a phone or tablet’s screen. Their imagery causes audiences to question the advancement of culture, embedded directly into the technologies which enable such costly ‘progressions’ to occur continuously.”

Lily & Honglei, Chinese shadow puppetry, contemporary art, Asian Art

Research presentation of Shadow Play at Jamaica Flux 2016, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, NY. Photography courtesy of Lily & Honglei

Lily & Honglei, Asian Art, Chinese shadow puppetry, Chinese contemporary art

Research exhibition at Jamaica Flux 2016, JCAL. Photography courtesy of Lily & Honglei

We’re so honored and pleased to join NYFA Fellows this year. Under the category of Interdisciplinary Work, our portfolio comprises of multimedia projects that utilize VR, AR and video installations reflecting on the complex reality in China and its global implication.

Lily & Honglei, new media art, multimedia art, video art

Video still of “Elegy of the Middle Kingdom,” Lily & Honglei art studio

http://artforum.com/news/id=53930

NYFA Announces 2015 Artists’ Fellowships

The New York Foundation for the Arts has announced the recipients of their 2015 Artists’ Fellowships. Awarded since 1985, the fellowships are reserved for artists living in New York state and are given out as unrestricted cash grants of $7,000 across fifteen categories over the course of three years.

The current round of fellowships were given out in the areas of fiction, folk/traditional arts, interdisciplinary work, painting, and video/film. Recipients include Jaimie Warren and Molly Lowe in the interdisciplinary category, while Kalup Linzy and Eve Sussman are fellows in the video/film area. For a complete list of fellowship recipients, see the NYFA website.

Also read the article on University of Massachusetts Dartmouth website: http://www.umassd.edu/news/lilyandhonglei.html

Shadow Play by Lily & Honglei Art Studio (Xiying Yang, He Li and Honglei Li) is exhibited at SOMArts center in San Fransisco, CA:

http://www.somarts.org/oneinwhich/

Lily & Honglei, somart, media artist from China

Exhibition poster

APICC presents ONE IN WHICH WE ARE, May 1–27

Lily & Honglei, media artists from China, Chinese media artist, media art, Asian art

Screenshot of multimedia project ‘Shadow Play: Tales of Urbanization’ by Lily & Honglei Art Studio

As part of the 18th Annual United States of Asian America Festival: Sparking Light, and with the support of the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, ONE IN WHICH WE ARE is a visual arts exhibition which explores the complex interdependencies between structures, processes, events, and the collective individual. Conceived as a relational map of reflections and experiences, this group exhibition brings forth inquiries surrounding individual positionalities and collective responsibilities. Through video works, painting, sculpture, photography and performance, these artists from the Bay Area and beyond explore personal and social wounds as collective attachments from where we may interpret and embrace our daily lives.

kristina_lee_podesva_brown_studies_brown_globe_image_by_howard_ursuliak

The opening event on Friday, May 1, 7–10pm opens with a special performance by NAKA Dance Theater, The Anastasio Project. Click here to read about this performance.

Exhibiting Artists: Zach Blas, Cristina Battle, Craig Campbell, Sarah Farahat, Tanja Geis, Kristina Lee Podesva, Lily & Honglei, Sanaz Mazinani, Omar Mismar, NAKA Dance Theater, Andrew Norman Wilson, Gala Porras KIm, Lordy Rodriguez, and Shelly Silver

Curators: David de Rozas and Alex Wang

tanja_geis_domestic_postraits_courtesy_of_the_artist(1)

Images courtesy of: Lily & Hongleil; Kristina Lee Podesva; Tanja Geis

apicc

http://www.dlux.org.au/cms/dTour/un-seen-sculptures.html

These virtual digital works are hidden from the naked eye but visible to anyone with an iPhone, Android or Nokia smartphone and an app called the Layar Reality Browser, that can be downloaded for free from iTunes, the Android Market or the Ovi Store.

For more about previous showings of (Un)seen Sculptures and to find out what’s been done in this field elsewhere in the world, follow some of the links in the AR Art Links box in the sidebar on this site. www.unseensculptures.com

If you want to create your own mobile augmented reality art, click on the DIY link at the top of this same site for some tips to get you started and some ideas about other directions to take your work.

We are pleased to announce that He Li, assistant producer and artist at Lily & Honglei Art Studio, has been featured by Yale Arts Vision website, Yale University, 02/15/15. [source]

This week, we’re bringing you a profile on He Li, a sophomore in TD.

Tell us about yourself: I was born in Beijing, China, and I moved to the United States when I was eight years old. I’ve spent most of my time here in Queens, New York.
If I had to pick, ancient history, American music, and old cars are probably my greatest passions in life other than painting.

Major: Intended History major focusing on Classical antiquity

Influences: Writings by the likes of Cicero, St. Augustine, and St. Jerome have had immeasurable influence on the way I think. Other than these philosophical influences, artists of the Early Renaissance and 20th Century Modernist period are probably my greatest inspirations. My favorites are Piero della Francesca, Vittore Carpaccio, and Jan van Eyck. More recent painters such as Edward Hopper and Giorgio de Chirico have been crucial to the formation of my pieces too. I think there is a kind of otherworldliness that is common to the works of all I’ve just mentioned.

How would you describe the focus of your work?: Above all else, my focus in art is to capture a certain essence. I can’t describe this essence in writing, because I would be a writer if I could do so. I have experienced some success, however, in infusing it into my paintings. If I had to choose a word to describe it, I would call it “divine,” since it does not seem to correspond to anything in our mundane day-­to-­day existence. Cicero wrote that one should always fix his eyes upon the stars rather than the Earth, since all human affairs are ephemeral. I am quite convinced that he feels the same kind of essence that I am referring to. I intend to express this essence through Midcentury Golden Age American imagery, since I grew up among the ruins of this bygone time.

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2015. by He Li

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2015. by He Li

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2014. by He Li

Untitled. Oil on Paper. 2014. by He Li

You can find more of He’s work here!

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