• Date
      2015.06.06 - 2015.08.09
    • Artist
      Ren Jian
    • Curator
  • Links
  • Images

History: Not Always What it Seems

Through the last several decades, Ren Jian has devoted a large portion of his studio time to research. The culmination of his extensive reading and writings is the painting titled Epoch, a monumental work 36-metres in length, which took seven years to complete.
The subject of Epoch is history. Its timeframe is human evolution from dawn of recorded history through to the 21st century. The focus of the painting is the world of intellectual and philosophical, scientific and technological advance that took place in this era. Each of the major events Ren Jian includes is interpreted in the form of a story. The combined effect of myriad stories is of a work of extraordinary imagination that we know to be grounded in irrefutable reality in which real events are shown to be fantastical and where inventions are both amazing and horrifying. Ren Jian further demonstrates how prodigious ideas can produce devastating effects. As Epoch deftly illustrates, in its wake so-called advance produces as much chaos as progress.
Epoch shows us history anew. It also presents the world past as present from a local perspective. This point of departure is, in many respects, awkward for being new and unfamiliar, but importantly, to the issue of where we come from and of where we might be headed if the history of progress continues unchecked, Epoch offers much to reflect upon.
About the Artist

Ren Jian (b.1955, Harbin) graduated from Luxun Academy of Fine Art in 1983. He currently lives and works in Beijing and Dalian. Exhibitions include: "Myth/History: Yuz Collection of Contemporary Art", 2014, Yuz Museum, Shanghai; "Re-view", 2014, Long Art Museum (West Bund), Shanghai; "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China", 2013, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Kwangju Art Biennial, 2002, South Korea; "Inside Out: New Chinese Art", 1998-2000, Asia Society Galleries, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, New York; "Post 1989; China's New Art", 1993, Hong Kong; "Modern Art Exhibition", 1989, National Art Museum of China, Beijing.


Newsletter Subscription