Geng Jianyi

Dimension of Vision, 1996
three-channel video

Geng Jianyi, Dimension of Vision, 1996. Installation view, OCAT Shanghai, 2020. Image courtesy of OCAT Shanghai.

Dimension of Vision (1996), as a three-channel CRT monitor installation was exhibited in Phenomenon and Image, in Hangzhou in 1996 – considered to be the first video art exhibition organized in China. The work is dominated by a repeated singular image, the eye of a duck anchored in the center in the screen. The single spare image shifts sequentially to each screen while the other two monitors cut to show black void.  The only movement in the image is that of the drowsy eyelid lowering and jerking open.  The close-up video recording of the duck’s eye produces its own black void in the expanded pupil. The work exploits the portability and intimacy of the recording equipment allowing the artist to record the mesmerizing situation. The extended exposure to the central black void of the duck’s eye creates an apprehensive tension between recognizing a captured or disabled animal, the recognition of the eye as belonging to a consciousness being, and the sensation of an overwhelming sublime within the central black void of the duck’s eye. Because of the dominant black content within the work, the monitor’s reflective glass surface acts a mirror implicating the viewer through their own and others reflection. (Text / Kim Machan)


Geng Jianyi
1962-2017, Zhengzhou, China

 Born in Zhengzhou, Henan province in 1962, passed away in 2017, Geng Jianyi graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (today: China Academy of Art, Hangzhou), Oil Painting Department.

The work of the artist Geng Jianyi is characterized by an uncompromising resistance to any categorical form of representation. Since the mid 1980s, when he first came to prominence within China as a seminal member of the ‘avant-garde’ movement known as the ’85 New Wave, Geng has sought to foment this resistance through the use of a wide range of techniques―including various forms of painterly transcription, staining, frottage, photographic and filmic transfer, chemical transformation and textual juxtaposition–whose conspicuously disjunctive effects constantly undermine any attempt to arrive at definitive meaning.

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