Form and Matter: Ni Youyu Solo Exhibition


Form and Matter: Solo Exhibition of Ni Youyu


Exhibition name: Form and Matter: Solo Exhibition of Ni Youyu

Artist: Ni Youyu

Curator: Wang Cha Chi

Producer: Xia Jifeng

Exhibition Director: Tong Juanjuan


Organizer: Hive Center for Contemporary Art

Opening time: 4 p.m. on 3 August, 2013

Exhibition date: 2013/8/3—2013/9/2

Exhibition venue: Hive Center for Contemporary Art (E06, 798 art zone, Jiuxianqiao St. 4, Chaoyang district, Beijing)


The “Form and Matter” which will be opened by Hive Center for Contemporary Art on 3 August, 2013, is the second solo exhibition of the new prominent artist Ni Youyu after his first one: “Brief History” in Shanghai Gallery. His latest works in “Guanyin” and “the Milky Way Plan” will be on the show. As the exhibition name “Form and Matter” puts it, the artist aims to have a perceptual discussion towards “property and image of things” academically.


As one of the most renowned artists born after the 1980s, Ni Youyu is accustomed to turning ordinary and trivial things into conceptual works through his acute sentiments magically. The exhibited “Guanyin” and “the Milky Way Plan” series fully express his unique and distinct creation style. Originated out of the artist’s long-term interest in Zen, the “Guanyin” serial works cost as long as over three years in preparation and actual creation. The artist duplicated more than160 soap bars in the image of Guanyin and distributed them to people of different ages, nationalities, careers and religious beliefs via various channels of communication. The participants who were asked to use/not use this special shaped soap bar in accordance with their living habits kept in touch with the artist, as they promised, to convey their feelings towards the Guanyin soap and its use. Eventually, the artist took a high-precision macro-spur photo of both the front and rear sides of each recovered Guanyin soap bar respectively, of which 81 pictures shooting various shapes of “Guanyin” were selected for the exhibition. The whole creation process is similar to a public case of Zen or more like a social survey text in which the artist returns “form” to “matter” from a philosophical and dialectical perspective. As for “The Milky Way Plan” series, Ni Youyu flattens with a hammer and polishes his collected coins from different nations and of different nominal values in order to undo their transaction function as currency and transform them into carriers of artistic creation by carefully drawing miniature pictures on the metal sheets with writing brush and magnifying lens. The two sets of ‘Summer Starry Sky 2013’ and ‘Ten Views of the West Lake’ which will be displayed in this exhibition are important parts of “The Milky Way Plan” series.


Seen from the social reality, soaps and coins are daily essentials in modern material civilization and both act as signifier of “value”. Soap, as a cleansing product, whether used to wash body or things, is a life purifier and serves as a suggestive shift of people’s pursuit from a bodily level to a mental or spiritual level. Coins, made for transaction and trade, are more closely related to material life than soaps. The difference lies in whether the money is used to satisfy material lust or to elevate spiritual life—these are all relevant to value judgment, selection and conversion. As the “use value” carried by external form is stripped off, does its self-contained “value” dissolve accordingly, or instead, complete its reconstruction through conversion? In this sense, “Form and Matter” actually is a metaphorical representation of the eternal dialectical relationship between substance and its value. It is the artist who has purposefully put forward an alternative, perceptual and soft art reflection against the modern materialistic consumerist society as well as people’s universal values. 

Chia Chi Jason Wang was born in Keelung and now lives in Taipei, Taiwan. He 
began his career as an art historian, translator and educator. He has become an art 
critic since the 1990s and a curator in contemporary art starting 1998. During the past 
decade, he has curated various major exhibitions for the Taipei Biennial, Taiwan 
Exhibitions at La Biennale di Venezia, Taiwan Biennial, and MoCA Taipei. From 
2006-2012, He also taught fulltime at the Department of Arts and Design, National 
Hsinchu University of Education, Taiwan. 


Form and Matter: Ni Youyu Solo Exhibition

DATE: Aug 03 - Sep 02, 2013

ADDRESS: E06,798 Art Zone, No.4 Jiuxianqiao Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China

CURATOR: Wang Jiaji

ARTIST: Ni Youyu