Fresh from the success of their outstanding exhibit, I Will Be Your Eyes, which showcased the work of seven emerging ‘90s born Chinese artists, Art+ Shanghai Gallery is back displaying the work of established artist Ye Hongxing. Her playful sticker art, which has grown in popularity within China over the past ten years, is as unique as it is pleasing on the eye.
As you enter the space, you’re greeted by huge shimmering canvases. It’s only on closer inspection that you realise these canvases aren’t made of expensive, glistening jewels, but rather a confusing collection of cute children’s stickers. The canvases take 200-300 hours to complete, with the largest taking over 600 hours and measuring 220 x 220cm in size. That’s a lot of stickers.
Inspired in part by Ye’s travels around the world, motifs running through the work represent two opposing ideas of traditionalism and consumerism, with images of tigers being offset by the faces of Star Wars storm troopers. The work also explores themes of childhood, adulthood, religion and wealth, with the use of sweet childish stickers placed together to create striking images of world banknotes. In one piece, Rolling No. 4, Ye uses an image of the rarely seen North Korean banknote, and the canvas includes custom-made stickers printed with Buddhist prayers.
The exhibition also includes the emotive, eponymous installation The Accumulation of Silence, which uses grey soft pillows hanging from the ceiling to represent Mani (Tibetan) prayer stones. These stones, which would often contain messages and prayers of hope, have nonsensical words and phrases printed upon them.
Poignant yet playful, this is a collection of work that is accessible and enjoyable for all audiences – and it’s really, really shiny.