Vanguard Gallery is pleased to present Tang Chao’s solo project at Liste Art Fair Basel 2023, booth No.55. The booth will be converted into a film set by the artist, which is instrumental in exploring personal and emotional shifts in the digital era.
Mind Movie: A Horror Story
Digital drawing (200 pieces)｜18.91 X 14.18 cm｜Ed.5+1AP｜2022
Tang Chao is among the natives of China’s open internet era around the millennium, and established his practice following the era of image explosion in the 2010s. His recent works involve video, performance, and digital drawing. In this project, Tang Chao employs the graphic heritage across analog and digital ages, developing it into his unique set of vocabulary and grammar. He re-exams and embraces Asian popular culture, including the icons and narratives of games, comics, animation, and films, while reflecting on their history and value in the global visual culture. “Mind Movie: A Horror Story“ is a spanning storyboard consists of 200 computer-generated illustrations. The plot is adapted from the classic Japanese horror film “Ring”. In the original 1998 production, the vengeful ghost used an old TV monitor as a portal to crawl back into the real world. However, in Tang Chao’s reconstructed scenes, ironically, the ghost struggles with its own horror caught in an age of high-resolution digital images.
Whimper Song No.2: Backward Masking
Single channel video, color, sound, 4K｜6’42’’｜2022
The nightmare in “Mind Movie: A Horror Story” reincarnates at the booth as “Angry Rabbits”, a blue-screen motion capture set, and “Whimper Song No.2: Backward Masking”, a video placed to the center of the blue set. Rendered in a melancholic tone, the video mixes images of fundamental elements from both the analog world and the cyber space, and emits grainy graphics and white noise which is imagined as cosmic microwave background. Surrounding the video, the same-sake protagonists of “Angry Rabbits” hide in plain sight—there imbedded in the orange cross marks of the blue set are images of two rabbits: one derived from Joseph Beuys’ 1965 performance piece “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare”, and one borrowed from the punchbag bunny doll in popular Japanese carton Crayon Shin-Chan. The two rabbits cross-referenced as a witty metaphor for anger.
Spatial installation (pattern, tape, blue screen)｜Dimension varies｜2022
In “Black Pearl”, Tang Chao edited pixelated video game clips into a historical montage that leaves some things unsaid. The image of fire appears constantly in the work. Fire was a landmark moment in the evolution of the human species, but it has also written an epitaph of mutual destruction; it is a symbol full of contradictions. A Contest Between Fire and Heart is a predestined part of the course of human history. The repeatability and immersive nature of video games mean that, as they are played, they become very good simulators of parallel narratives. In the game, players have countless opportunities to start over, but they often simply welcome a pre-determined ending.
Single channel video, color, sound ｜1080×1920，12’53’’｜2022
Tang Chao dives into the intersected realms of physical reality, analog signal, and virtual simulation, and use them as the extension of bodies. Leaping back and forth among the hybrid realities, his works create bubbles of situations, interactions, and storytelling. The booth at Liste offers interrelated parts to be weaved together in the mind of viewer. It provides emotional clues—melancholy, anger, and fear, as well as the structural, graphic, and audio materials to be detected, processed, reorganized, and reimagined. Taking forms in video, installation, and digital drawings, Tang Chao transforms symptoms of our time into poetic and mythical narratives.
ABOUT THE ARTIST | Tang Chao
The essence of Tang Chao’s work is like Italo Calvino’s suggestions on lightness in literature. For instance, he refines a whole script into one sentence: “The dilemma of being in a modern island, a paradise of self-exile.” And recently: “Several delightful dots covered of a series of weak voices.”When you focus on the tone and rhythm of the sentence, and express it though camera, you then get the shaking focus, light and the scenes. The words are not the most important content; they are sometimes softly whispered, stuttered, or even topsy-turvy. Of course he occasionally uses pictures, performances, installations or dramas for expression, sometimes even typing a few letters on the keyboard.Tang Chao is good at pause and press space, press and hold for a few seconds would be fine as well. He always tries to release some illocutionary meaning in every blank space with a straight forward manner.
His recent exhibitions include: Liste Art Fair Basel solo project at Vanguard booth, Basel, Switzerland (2023); “Out of Sync”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China (2022); “Nights after Days”, The Store, Seoul, Korea (2022); “Nonphysical: Shimmer (online project)”, Vanguard gallery, Shanghai, China (2021); “From Lack to Light” (2017) took place at Vanguard gallery, Shanghai. His works were featured in the following group exhibitions: “The New Survivors”, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing, China (2023); “Year by Year”, DEJI Art Museum, Nanjing, China (2023); “The Pieces I Am”, UCCA Edge, Shanghai, China (2022); “Night Dimension: Night as Prelude”, UCCA Sky Space, Shanghai, China (2022); “Unnamed River: Curatorial Award for Photography and Moving Image”,Three Shadows Art Centre, Beijing, China (2022); “Warehouse Story VIII — On Your Mark!”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China (2022); “Within Space – Time, We Walk Through Images”, Glow Shenzhen 2021 – Futian, Shenzhen, China (2021); “Emerging Media Artist Exhibition Un/Conventional”, OCAT Shanghai, China (2020); “Play Socieities: wolves, lynx and ants”, Hyundai Motorstudio, Beijing, China (2020); “In a Half of Maze”, CAA Art Museum, Hangzhou, China (2019); “Sooner/Later”, SNAP, Shanghai, China (2019); “Incandescence”, BIG SPACE x Chino Gallery, Shanghai, China (2019); “The Time That Remains—Room No.6”, Grey Cube, Goethe Institut China, Beijing, China (2018); “Questioning Photography Now”, GCA, Chongqing, China (2018); “Pity Party”, Sleepcenter, New York, USA (2018); “Indoors Universe”: the 5th Huayu Youth Award, Huayu Art Center, Sanya, China (2017); “A map of the world that does not include utopia is not worth glancing at”, Beijing Commune, Beijing, China (2017); Spain Moving Image Festival, Madrid, Spain (2017).