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Turn on the bright lights: Xia’s installations illuminate contradictions

Winding up the stairs of the White Box Museum of Art in the 798 Art Zone, blinking neon light tubes spell out the phrase, "Let your soul catch up."

It's a message that sums up Brave New World - the latest solo exhibition from Xia Guo, 40, who graduated from Xinjiang Normal University, majoring in oil painting.

Brave New World, a reference to Aldous Huxley's dystopian novel, presents Xia's most recent 12 pieces of work since 2010.

In addition to three paintings, nine pieces of light installations, burnt and shaped by Xia himself, steal the spotlight in the show. The light tubes present the shapes of a hanging rope, a brain, a bow and others.

"They work up associations of ideas," Xia said. "The lighting is beautiful, attractive, but the shapes are linked to deaths and danger - they're contradictory," he said.

One special piece lying on the floor right in the middle of the exhibition room catches a lot of attention and curiosity. It's an old model of Apple computer, penetrated by a few neon light wands.

"Computers are one kind of quickly-consumed good, updated rapidly, but they can be artlized," said Xia. "The absurd image of a computer hit by shooting stars symbolizes being temperate and vanishing."

Letting the soul to catch up with the quickly-developing society is the idea that ran through Xia's whole process of artistic creation in the making of this exhibit.

It coincides with Xia's central idea of art - de-materialization. He concentrates on conceptualizations and imagination instead of the material attributes of the art. "That's the beauty of modern art," Xia said.

Zhang Han, 27, a visitor to the show, interpreted Xiao's works as trying to show "nervousness and fretfulness."

"The hanging rope normally symbolizes death but now glowing reflects Xia's dissatisfactions with the current age, and his fears about the unknown. Maybe Xia's 'new world' means heaven after death," Zhang said. 

When: Until January 8, 2013

Where: White Box Museum of Art, 798 Art Zone, 2 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang district

Admission: Free

Contact: 5978-4800 or visit 798whitebox.com
Source: Global Times
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