Edouard Malingue Gallery presents ‘There is no there there’, the first international solo exhibition of critically acclaimed Chinese painter Yuan Yuan (b. 1973, China) at Malingue Gallery, Paris. Taking inspiration from a quote by arts patron Gertrude Stein (Everybody’s Autobiography, 1937), the works respond to the late writer’s impressions upon returning home to California after living in Paris for over 30 years and discovering a ghost-like setting: all that was there was no more. Departing from Stein’s lyrical description of loss, Yuan Yuan presents a series of imagined interiors, which focus on the recurring feature of mirrors. Since 3000 BC, when the Yellow Emperor Huang Di expounded the ‘Fauna of Mirrors’ – a myth citing that every reflective surface was a portal unto a different world harbouring creatures unknown to earth – the mirror has come to be a recurring symbol in literature, from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath, associated with our soul, its continuance and its surroundings.
‘There is no there there’ points to Yuan Yuan’s identity as an absolute master of visual fictions. As in literature, from Antiquity to the later 20th century, Yuan Yuan builds his oeuvres through delicate symbolism with twists and turns, eliciting associations with fiction, horror and Romanticism – each painting, a masterful prompt for viewers to reflect upon their perception and existence.
Yuan Yuan is one of China’s most important contemporary artists. A graduate from the Oil Painting Department of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Yuan’s work has garnered critical appreciation worldwide and been exhibited in multiple international locations including Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Taiwan. His paintings are held in numerous private collections, including the White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney and have been featured in multiple publications. A monograph of his work will be published in late 2015 featuring essays by Rachel Marsden, Dr. Voon Pow Bartlett, and other critics.