Between Substance and Shadow
Recent Video Art: Between Substance and Shadow
Saturday July 9th, 8-10pm, 2016, C.X. Silver Gallery held a reception with artist Le Xi (Lee Xi) to view and discuss his recent video art work.
Contemplating the transition from the mechanical to the biological, Le Xi experiments with technology to explore the space between the object and shadow, in which he believes art exists. His source material includes the unbroken procession from day to night, the cycle between sunlight and the world of electricity, and the dramatic relationship between structure and sensibility created by repetition, change, shifts, and the fluidity of action. During the day he follows the structure of the world as defined by shadows. At night, he conceives power over shadow by controlling illumination. The result of these investigations is a disregard of the boundaries between substance and shadow, and time and space. His work suggests the struggle between the limitations of life and its limitless perception, attuning the poetic-bridge between the reality and the imagination, dealing with such questions as what is the gap between them.
Based in Chongqing, Vermont and New York, Le Xi grew up in China. He trained at the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts from 1989 to 1991. He has a MFA from The School of Visual Arts in New York and is on the faculty of Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts. In 1994, he began to paint the “atom, molecule and surprise” project. This project expressed the idea that people stay together while experiencing the shift between the biggest surprise and biggest loss, because of the three gorges Dam project, which started in his city. As part of the contemporary Chinese art scene, Le Xi’s video installations have appeared in China, the United States, Italy and Denmark.
In his new series of videos, Le investigates the act of imagining and observing the passage of gradual change and motion through time, punctuated by pauses, the reality of shadows and objects, the fantasy of objects, shadows and motions behaving differently than assumed or expected. In each video, the viewer looks into a space and onto ‘surfaces’ by morning or afternoon light. To determine what is happening in each video the viewer lets time pass by. In ‘Studio’ the blimp passes by outside the window and is echoed in the table’s reflection. A butterfly wanders through the space, interacting with picture frames, going into the computer screens, and later flying off outside. In ‘Backlighting’ there are passages of the shadows of birds or group of birds flying overhead. In ‘Cube,’ the shadow of the street light’s pole darkens by degrees without corresponding atmospheric lighting changes, the shadows transforming into a cube which then eventually dissipates into the sidewalk. In ‘The Tuning of Place,’ the artist tunes the space-time with an electrical plug gradually dissolving into its shadow, articles of clothing flying randomly across the surface, and a ladybug wandering across the surface and appearing to nibble on the shadow of the electrical cord. In ‘Untitled,’ there is a study of the surface of a wall of a train, the focus, again, on the passage of time, the flitting random motion of glints of light and shadows of passing trees.