LI Ning 李寧: Welcome Jon Looka
LI Ning 李寧: Welcome Jon Looka
16 July 2022 – 27 August 2022
Gallery EXIT presents LI Ning’s new solo exhibition ‘Welcome Jon Looka’, which revolves around a fictional village of the same name in a future world created by the artist and which means ‘going home’ in the Hakka dialect. Through a range of media such as mixed media prints, pencil on paper/canvas, ceramics and video, the artist leads the audience into this dystopian sci-fi landscape. The exhibition will open on Saturday 16 July, and will run till 27 August, 2022.
LI Ning’s works have always been narrative in nature, their images filled with all kinds of metaphorical imagery and symbols. Stylistically they incorporate elements of popular culture such as film, manga and animation, as well as myths and legends from all over the world. Since the artist’s graduation show in 2019, his works have always been based on this fictional world: Earlier works were collages of scattered images created by the artist where a sense of repetition existed among the many works of flattened images, while the works on show this time are more focused on an existing narrative between them, where the forms of creatures and characters are realised in a more three-dimensional way.
According to Li, he describes the world as an observer ‘Time Traveller’, a reference to French photographer and filmmaker Chris Marker’s 1962 black and white sci-fi experimental short La Jetée, in which a narrator narrates the story over the course of the entire film, which is composed of still photographs. Li’s treatment of ‘temporality’, his method of presenting ‘Four Dimensionalism’ that incorporates the past, present and future is also heavily influenced by this work.
Set in the near future, the time where the story unfolds, the world as we know it today has long been annihilated. Unable to identify the authenticity of their memories, the survivors set out to ‘Jon Looka’, a place where all kinds of memories are stored. In the works are illustrated the various scenes and images of that world, that of nomads, myriad hybrid biochemical species, and apocalyptic ruins.
The artist’s pencil on paper/canvas works will be on display for the first time in this exhibition. For the artist, drawing is immediate and spontaneous, usually the beginning of an idea and creation, and the brushstrokes carry the emotions of the moment. Printmaking, on the other hand, requires time to prepare and master the printing technique. While the ‘light’ is carved out of the surface of the prints, drawings depict the ‘darkness’. Li feels that displaying these two mediums together not only complements the two conceptually but also shows a kind of contrast in visual effect.
Part of a continuous exploration of different forms of printmaking, the fusion of drawing and printmaking is a recent attempt on Li’s part. The artist prints the image on coloured Gampi paper, then traces the details with ink and portrays the three-dimensionality of the shapes with spray paint. Gampi paper toughens the painting’s surface, adding texture and variety to the images and lines.