New Work by island6
Tally Beck Contemporary
25 January – 11 March 2012
By Kendall Tichner
Tally Beck Contemporary is currently wrapping up an exhibition of the artist collective island6 from Shanghai, China – the contemporary art scene in China is booming – and we at Mana Contemporary are opening a new exhibition space dedicated to emerging Chinese contemporary artists.
There is a current trend in the modern art world to use LEDs, neon and visible circuitry. Light art can represent modern consumer culture. I love the luminosity of it, the rawness and its implied cheapness and flamboyant nature.
island 6 uses electronic media to characterize the city of Shanghai. The work that is being shown focuses on female sexuality and issues of exoticism, eroticism and orientalism. Shanghai is considered a showpiece that represents the booming economy of Mainland China. The Bund, or the stretch of skyline by the bank of the Huangpu River contains an elaborate collection of early 20th century architecture – a blinking, beaming tourist destination seems to be mimicked by the exhibition.
Some of the pieces, including Famous Flower 1932, are reminiscent of the Hasbro toy Lite-Bright. The viewer is reminded of their childhood – although the figure that is depicted is a girl in risky pink dress. The pixelated quality of the gridded LEDs likens the graphics in original Nintendo games, further pushing the viewer to be reminded of youth and the advancement of technology. The cheapness of the girl and the light that forms her presence evokes a fleeting feeling of excitement and newness shaped by the strain of depression and exploitation that both women and the earth’s resources face.
Island6’s piece Twenty Toes portrays two assumed lovers interlocking toes. Due to recent embarrassment caused by revelations of the foot fetish amongst the rich and famous, some may feel some alarm. However, the rawness of the toe embrace has impact, while the artists choice to use pink flesh, hints at the starkness of humans and their desires.