LOS ANGELES, CA.- Kopeikin Gallery
presents Mei Xian Qiu's first exhibition with the Gallery, titled "Qilin" after the Chinese mythical creature, which is itself a combination of the four most sacred beasts in Chinese mythology. It is a creature of innate hybridism and duality, representing simultaneously and truth. Qilins signal the passage of the wise, and is the compass to the West. The exhibition opens with a reception for the artist on Saturday, March first from 6:00 - 8:00 and continues through Saturday, April 19th.
Mei Xian Qiu grew up in Java as a third generation Chinese Diasporic minority during a time when being Chinese was unlawful. Her family immigrated to the U.S. where she has been a student and artist her entire life. Qiu visited China several times seeking out her families past, only to learn that the Country was eagerly shedding its past in order to embrace modernity. She has therefore reconstructed and self invented the unknown, creating fantastical notions of culture by dissecting essential archetypes, revelatory and iconic.This type of flexible self view and easy piercings of notions of the impermeable interior self, are in keeping with the new contemporary landscape of commonplace transience and growing global monoculture.
Qiu's photographs use familiar symbolism and historical dystopianism. Never forgetful of the past, this body of work engages the constitution of the future, affirmatively critical, specifically with respect to globalism, the identity of the self and self view, the social landscape, post-colonialism, and that of the larger national body politic.
Qilin is an extension and includes imagery from Qiu's series "Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom," which portrayed a Chinese takeover of the United States. In the earlier series, hidden political dangers are suggested that must be addressed urgently, but are put aside momentarily, subservient to the romance of "the beautiful ideal." The models for the imagery are Pan Asian American artists, and academics specializing in Chinese culture, the same group persecuted in China's "Hundred Flowers Movement." The costumes are discarded U.S. military uniforms, cheongsams constructed for the photographs, and Chinese mock ups taken from a Beijing photography studio, specializing in getups for foreign tourists to re-enact Cultural Revolution Propaganda imagery.