The Tell-Tale Heart is a group exhibition co-hosted by K11 Art Foundation, Pilar Corrias Gallery (London) and Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai). The show features recent and commissioned new works from a lineup of internationally acclaimed artists: aaajiao, Ian Cheng, Cheng Ran, Guo Hongwei, Koo Jeong A, Ken Okiishi, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.
The exhibition takes its title from a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. First published in 1843, The Tell-Tale Heart is a first person account of events in which the narrator wavers between the real and the imaginary, his state of mind leading to contradictions and disparate interpretations of the truth and a warped sense of reality. In the story, the sound of his own beating heart betrays the narrator’s inability to distinguish between the unfolding of events and his own interpretation, ultimately confirming the power the mind can hold in the construal of life.
The exhibition The Tell-Tale Heart brings together works, that deconstruct the ways in which experiences are relayed through storytelling: how new technologies and media have altered the way of constructing and representing narratives; how the power of the mind and affect lead the perception and interpretation of reality as well as the recording of daily activities and gestures punctuating mundane life.
New York based Ken Okiishi’s work gesture/data (2015) considers the formal properties and the traces of sources of stored memory, along with the new ways we have of reading memory and images through gestures. By processing and transferring footage across different formats, Okiishi questions the very nature of data and its historical makeup – the image breaks down and is corrupted into its jittering essential elements of colour and pixel. The flatscreen surface becomes a support for both the video it transmits from within and the gestural marks of oil paint. Okiishi works in the studio with the flatscreens-as-canvases powered on, with the footage playing while he is painting a constantly mobile ground.
Known for her minimal and poetic installations, Koo Jeong A’s work could be described as a metaphor for existing in the world. Using commonplace objects in precise spatial arrangements, the artist conjures new perspectives, which arise from simple acts of looking, listening or walking. First presented as part of her solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Untitled (2012) is a group of watercolours depicting mountain tops in colourful hues, which the artist made while taking long walks in the Alps. The daily act of walking is revealed through the physical tracing of an experience in time.
Working with data and algorithms, Shanghai artist aaajiao presents the video installation Meta (2013). Mounted in a vintage wood frame with electronic components exposed, the video adopts the form of computer representation from 1970s sci-fi pictures to convey an abstract animation of the processing of data. Anomaly (2015) is a set of sculptures in the shape of meteors or splitting cells, celebrating the dark fascination of bio and physical mutation shared by sci-fi imagination.
Ian Cheng uses gaming technology to explore the mutation of complex behavioural patterns and the development of human consciousness. First premiered at the Taipei Biennal 2014, the animated simulation Droning Like an Ur (2014) plays out three archetypal games in which characters morph and mutate both in their behaviour and status, emerging in and out of the flow of information ¬– inanimate object becoming human becoming animal.
Beijing-based Guo Hongwei adopts a more analogue approach to re-contextualize the new visual and performative presentation in a digital age. Walking (2013) is a short film appropriating Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg's first feature film Stereo (1969).Guo Hongwei collaged the original film frame by frame, transposing a former story of commune living that explores sex and life into a psychedelic journey across landscape and architecture. For It Must be a Good Work (2013) the artist adopts a similar technique in transforming a manga publication into a theatrical play enacted by performers. During the exhibition a live performance featuring a set of actors will narrate the conversations from the book.
Hangzhou-based Cheng Ran will present HIT-OR-MISS-IST (2013), an LP produced using ambient recordings made by the artist during his travel on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, and in the cities of Amsterdam and Paris. Time and space, carried on the different sounds, are interwoven: day and night, city and wilderness merge into one. Natural sounds are repeatedly amplified and reproduced in real space and in emptiness as an exploration of lost time and kept memories and the relationship between truth and nothingness. HIT-OR-MISS-IST is a collection of dreamt-up words by Cheng Ran to describe an aimless state of continuous extension and growth.
Interested in exploring the potentials of human interaction around the ritual of consuming and sharing food, internationally renowned artist Rirkrit Tiravanijatransforms the gallery into a convivial space, where each day at lunchtime dim sum will be served. Tiravanija looks at food in an ‘anthropological and archeological way’, approaching the cultural layers that make up a local tradition. The work becomes a platform that fosters an experimental relationship between the audience and the work as lived experience.
Artists' Talk: Thursday 12 March 2015, 4 – 5pm. Aaajiao, Cheng Ran, Koo Jeong A and Ken Okiishi with Para/Site executive director and curator Cosmin Costinas.
Daily performances of Rirkrit's work from 13 - 17 March at 1 – 2pm.