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The Dazzling World of Ye Hongxing

Kara Pickman

Ye Hongxing, Another Space No. 5, 2014. Crystal and sticker collage on canvas, 150 x 150 cm. Courtesy Art Lexïng, Miami

Art Lexïng
January 24–March 10, 2015

Art Lexïng debuted its new gallery space in Miami Ironside with a solo exhibition by Beijing-based artist Ye Hongxing. Selected in 2004 by the Asian Art Museum of California and Art Cologne as one of China’s twenty top rising artists, her work has been shown at the China Art Museum, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, and Art Cologne, among others.

Hongxing’s jewel-like compositions pop in the small white-cube space nestled off the interior courtyard of Ironside complex. The canvases on view are composed of brightly colored stickers, sequins, and glass beads—tiny points of color that, on close view register as densely layered, delicate collage. From a short distance, however, the perspective shifts and the stickers become pixilated, revealing ordered and detailed compositions drawn from nature (tropical flora and fauna), traditional and spiritual aspects of Chinese culture (Buddha forms, mandalas), and—circling back to the images on the stickers themselves—manifestations of pop and Internet culture (Betty Boop, smiling kittens).

Overall, the juxtaposition of old and new is just another layer that contributes to the dizzying effect of the compositions themselves. Hundreds of miniature Pokemon-like stickers form the sweeping rooftops of Imperial Chinese architecture or compose the several featureless faces of the vaguely spiritual female figures in Chakra No. 2 (2014). This kitsch, Lisa Frank aesthetic is more densely packed the closer it’s considered—the artist notes that the work addresses the swift development of China’s social system that is complicated by the country’s economic and technological rise.

The mosaics, many produced on rounded canvases, are painstakingly made. After composing her larger figurative forms, Hongxing assembles the coloration of the image one sticker at a time. The artist was a 2014 resident at the Lux Art Institute, Encinitas, California.