Bian Yunxiang: A Trio of Tales


  • Opening hours

    10 : 00 – 18 : 00
    Tuesday – Saturday

  • Location:

    No. 1, -1F Sunken Garden, Lane 9, Qufu Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai

  • Artist:

MadeIn Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of “A Trio of Tales”, the first solo exhibition of artist Bian Yunxiang at the gallery on May 6, 2023, presenting his video trilogy Corridor (2021), Arête (2022), and Bled (2023). The three short films cohesively explore a political-philosophical paradox that constitutes the artist’s ongoing concern, namely, human society is in a state of “eternal confrontation”, a “dynamic stasis” that makes a conclusive and urgent verdict to the relationship between civilization and nature.


In his past practice, Bian discusses the reflexivity of technology and its relationship to our political life through interactive video installations rendered in real-time. In recent years, as uncertainty has over-whelmed the private and public spheres on a global scale, the proliferation of incidents has greatly outpaced the speed of art-making and challenged its validity. As a consequence, the artist’s focus shifts from real-time to linear time, attempting to capture the commonality, that is the certainty, of the uncertainties.


This certainty is manifested in human beings’ passion and ambition for confrontation throughout time and space. The collision and fusion between human beings, civilizations and the forces of nature, the transformation of geological landscapes, have all been shaped into specimens of avid human activities over millennia, displayed on the endless wilderness. In Bian’s semi-fictional, pseudo-documentary videos, when the shadows of modern signal towers overlap the beacons built two thousand years ago, the melancholy of confrontation throughout eras collapses and becomes plain landscapes. The native ecological knowledge and the modern civilization representing advanced productivity then coexist upon the collapse. In the meantime, the noble will for excellence blocked by the giant construction fortifications echoes over the desert as permanently and inexplicably as the signals we sent out.


The wilderness and the landscape, as the background and the home of the confrontational activities, respectively submit to the artist’s video rendering technique. If the voidness of temporality and locality in the video narratives dissolves the meaning of confrontation in human society, then the technology on which video production relies re-dissolves and re-parodies this dissolution in a post-contemporary sense. Thanks to the accessibility of advanced digital technology, the boundary between the rendered and the actual image breaks away from being recognizable and important. Whether seen through the naked eye, the lens, or the technology of human invention, the scenery in our view is equally dubious and uncertain. In this sense, Bian uses contemporary technology as a prism to refract linear time as an image medium, distorting, overlapping and diffusing it into reflections on geopolitics, digital technology and natural environment, thus achieving a unified contemporariness of technique and concept.