Cao Fei is amongst the most internationally renowned artists of her generation, and ‘Hollow in a World Too Full’ stands as her first major solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Born in Guangzhou in 1978, Cao Fei is one of a number of artists who have come of age in China where everyday life was faced with a surge of electronic infiltration in the form of advertising, along with imported culture and media. This rapidly changing landscape of Guangzhou continues to be a nexus for Cao’s work. Curated by Philip Tinari in association with Xue Tan, ‘Hollow in a World Too Full’ will span the three floors of Tai Kwun Contemporary’s exhibition spaces, and include films, installations and sculptures.
This exhibition centres on Cao’s newly commission work, ‘Prison Architect’, where a poetic dialogue unfolds across time between two characters – a prisoner and an architect. They seek to represent the building complex’s past as a police, judicial, and penal institution, and its future as a cultural institution. This is curated within the environment of an installation and is designed to embody similar complexities. The film references Hong Kong’s colonial history, its cinema, contemporary notions on the Mainland, and its relation to that of the global. It forces viewers to question their position within Tai Kwun, if they might exist on a parallel scope to the inmates who inhabited the space before them, “waiting indefinitely for trials to come”.
Image courtest of the artist
Cao’s works have been cited as “a study in exuberant ambiguity”. With a BFA from the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, she works with mediums such as photography, video, and digital media to highlight her experiences with China’s dramatic changes growing up. Such changes include China’s high economic growth, urban development and rapid globalization, with her works acting as artistic commentaries on these social themes. Cao additionally interplays between themes of the virtual and real worlds, utopia and dystopia, as well as body and technology.
Image courtesy of the artist
Cao has showcased at the Venice Biennale, and major institutions around the world such as the MoMA, Serpentine Gallery, Centre Pompidou, Palais de Tokyo and Fondation Louis Vuitton. She was named the “Best Young Artist” in 2006 at the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards, and in 2016 was named “Best Artist”. Her works are in collections internationally, including at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Cao Fei's 'Hollow in a World too Full' is presented by UCCA, and opens at Tai Kwun Contemporary 8 September 2018.
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