One of the latest additions to the Brickell skyline, the East, is getting in the Basel spirit with an installation and show of recent work from Chinese artist Ye Hongxing. The Shanghai-based artist is known for her intricate canvas pastiches, constructed with stickers she finds at flea markets and small shops around her studio. The overall effect is colorful melange of kitsch images—with an equally pop conceptual bent—that consider the intersections of commercialism and spirituality.
Entitled Prajñaparamita, which roughly translates into “the perfection of (transcendent) wisdom,” the show's centerpiece is sticker-composed mandala: a deeply spiritual, geometric chart rooted in eastern spirituality and religion. Atop the piece are various plastic toys and action figures that viewers are encouraged to pick up and place along the mandala.
For Hongxing, the piece is a veritable centerpiece of a practice ensconced in a modern social and spiritual vision of China. As the country opens its doors to the West, lingering vestiges of the repressive Maoist years are upended. Hongxing's bright and colorful work stands in stark contrast to the nation's monotoned recent history, and is a testament to a vibrant spiritual core that lay dormant. Her work is part of a new generation of Chinese artists forging a new creative path for their country while reflecting their unique aesthetic.
Hongxing's work comes to Miami thanks to the work of Lexiing Zhang, the eponymous owner and purveyor of Art Lexiing in the city's Ironside Arts District. Zhang has made it her mission to usher the work of contemporary Chinese artists to Miami's burgeoning art scene. Hongxing is one of the artists Zhang has championed in the states along with photographer Quentin Shih, painter Lu Chengxiang, and many others.
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"Ye Hongxing's artworks mix traditional Asian cultural elements, as well as pop culture icons," Zhang told New Times. "The language using sticker collage is an universal language. This reflects East's philosophy too—zen yet contemporary, urban and international at the same time."
Prajñaparamita first appeared at Pulse New York 2015, where the installation caught the attention and imagination of fair attendants with its interactive component. The piece's current iteration was a collaboration between the gallerist, Swire Hotels (the company that owns the East), and National YoungArts Foundation. Swire thought Hongxing would be the perfect fit for the East—a hotel with deep ties to China.
With Basel Hong Kong premiering last year to plaudits, China's creative culture is on the rise stateside. Hongxing's work provides just a taste of the dynamism and originality about to be unleashed on Miami, and the national art scene at large.
Currently on view at the East, Miami through December 19. Call (305) 712-7000.