MANCHERSTER, UK.-Gordon Cheungs first solo exhibition at Chinese Arts Centre, Death by a Thousand Cuts, sees the artist continuing his interrogation of power structures and belief systems, and our obedience to them. Cheungs paintings capture the hallucinations between the virtual and actual realities of a globalised world oscillating between Utopia and Dystopia. Spray paint, oil, acrylics, pastels, stock listings and ink collide in his works to form epic techno-sublime vistas.
Featuring newly commissioned works, Death by a Thousand Cuts responds to the rise of China as potentially the next superpower, its affect on the world order and how their socialism is mutating into socialist capitalism. Cheung captures a sense of these issues and formulates his response by working with Chinese propaganda and acrobatic images converged with ideas of zombie horror B movies.
The exhibition title is a dark playful reference to the cut/paste techniques Cheung employs to create his post-apocalyptic landscapes. The title also references slow slicing or língchí, a form of execution used in China from roughly 900 AD to its abolition in 1905. A torturous practice, the method of execution has become a fixture in the image of China among some Westerners. Some modern writers suggest that exaggerated retellings of língchí have led to it becoming known as the sensationalistic death by a thousand cuts and betray mistranslation, cultural differences, racism and other factors. Nowadays the phrase is used metaphorically to describe the gradual or incremental destruction of something, such as an institution, program or policy by repeated minor attacks or in business management to describe a product or idea that is damaged or destroyed by too many minor changes.
Gordon Cheung lives and works in London. He graduated from Royal College of Art in 2001 and since then has exhibited nationally and internationally. Cheung was the second artist to take part in Chinese Arts Centres Breathe artist residency programme in 2004 and was the first British born Chinese artist to be included in the largest and most ambitious survey of recent developments in UK art, The British Art Show 6 and The John Moores Painting 24. In 2007 he was commissioned for a Laing Art Solo Award (Selected by Susan May), Laing Art Gallery, UK, a solo show at the Aspex gallery, UK called The 1000 Yard Stare and God is on Our Side, Unosunove Gallery, Rome. At the same time as this solo show at Chinese Arts Centre he will be having a solo show called The Fall of the Rebel Angels at Alan Cristea Gallery, London.