When gods and mortals roamed side by side
The ancient mythological mountain known as Buzhou Mountain (不周山) is believed to once have been the only link between humans and the divine. It is said that as it fell, the worlds of god and humanity split apart, leaving only the colorful and ethereal tales that have been passed down through the ages as proof of the divine.
Meng Zhou's solo exhibition "Incomplete Wonder – Everlasting Land" is the artist's attempt to "transport" the viewers back to a time when gods and ordinary people interacted with one another through his creations.
The exhibition, which was curated by Alexandra Grimmer, showcases Meng's most recent series of sculptures, installations, and paintings. The exhibition unfolds gradually, much like a voyage, with light and shadow changing as time passes. Meng creates foggy scenarios where truth and fantasy seem to play out in a dream world by using mythology and miscellaneous elements.
Meng, who was born in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, graduated from London's Camberwell College of Arts and earned his Master of Art from the Royal College of Art in 2018.
The artist has spent the last 10 years traveling between the UK and China in an effort to examine how cross-cultural identities interact. His art embodies both the intellectualism and authenticity of the West as well as the grace and flavor of the East.
Meng's works incorporate anthropology, history, fiction writing, and music and outline hypothetical models of human life and development through unique images and materials.
Much like a "cultural archeologist," he gathers and arranges tales from several historical civilizations, including Greece, Egypt, and China, as well as from the oral tradition of the indigenous people.
For example, a sculpture in the form of a Christmas tree is named "Mount Top," invoking thoughts of the towering biblical Tower of Babel, which, too, was destroyed by the gods – a recurring theme in the myths that have been passed down through generations.
Through his paintings, the artist also endeavors to decipher ancient recollections. These images appear to be cave paintings, providing a glimpse into the lifestyles and beliefs of early humans.
It is interesting to see that his displayed works include fossils, meteorites, ores, herbs, and creatures.
Incorporating natural substances such as clamshell powder, buckskin glue, and Dunhuang mud into the texture of the paintings connects humanity to history and resonates with the natural world.
The exhibition is divided into two chapters and spaces.
The first chapter, "Incomplete Wonder," is on display at Nan Ke Gallery, whereas the second chapter, "Everlasting Land," is on display at the BACKSTAGE ART space in the Lyceum Theater.
Under the guidance of gallery staff, visitors would literally pass through the stage and into the backstage area of the theater. The unique venue with a veranda gives the artist's works and installations a distinct atmosphere.
The backstage visit can be booked from 2pm-4pm every Friday and Saturday.
Date: Through October 31 (closed on Mondays), 10:30am-6:30pm
Venue: Nan Ke Gallery
Address: No. 5, Lane 386, Changle Rd
Appointment Tel: 5272-7270
Date: Fridays and Saturdays through October 16, 2-4pm
Venue: BACKSTAGE ART space, Lyceum Theater
Address: 57 Maoming Rd