K: Welcome Guan Shuai to KeYi Gallery Hefei Space to hold his first solo exhibition. Please briefly introduce the theme of this exhibition - "Paean"!
L: These paintings in "Paean" are my works from 2022 to 2023. These works are my imagination and connection to the eternal unknown and the future unknown as a complex individual, which forms a tangled relationship due to the differences between my personal beliefs and real life. The false beauty of the apocalypse, the silence, the giant, and the visualised figure of the will gave me a new embrace of life, faith, judgment and some of the texts, photography and film of the moment. It feels like a long hymn to me. I would also like to thank KeYi Gallery for contributing to this exhibition.
K: We often see some "divine" objects in your works. Where do these images come from? How do we understand them?L: Most of these images come from some films, the <Divine Comedy> or some allusions to the text, as well as some photographs by Sebastiao and others. In fact, I often understand these visual and textual elements as more complex and meaningless than others see, so I usually do not draw directly, and it is not an image sketch, nor is it based on a text scene reproduction if it is a sketch, it should be a sketch of a certain emotion and will after watching.K: Is "faith" important to you? Does it have anything to do with your expression?
L: Important. It influences my judgment beyond the influence of art. It makes me find a layer of complex components in my body in the process of self-cognition, which comes from the difference between belief and reality.
So, I think the word “faith” is too big a message for me to believe... Whaaa... It seems more appropriate. The expression of faith in my paintings often makes me feel that painting is actually powerless because people can't imagine what is beyond cognition. But think about it. In addition to the subjectivity beyond words that art can bring, there is no way to describe what is outside of these cognitions; “belief” is often outside of cognition and within cognition, and words have no way to convey this information.
K: How do you see the painterliness in your work?
L: No matter what I discuss, mysterious or romantic, there will always be a better way to convert on the screen. Still, after wandering back and forth between these methods, the output of the screen result may be more "painting" because it has a concentration. For example, in the “Mao Li Xing Jun” image, Mao Li Xing Jun is a fictional god I do not believe. I do not think so, but why can it cause my desire to draw it? It fully reflects my complexity, and it is worth my questioning. This process is always in the game back and forth, naturally reflected in the image of Mao Li Xing Jun in the picture, so the image is revised back and forth. With the result achieved by these premises, it seems that it has the concentration of painting that I want. Macroscopically and abstractly, it is an antistructure under structural constraints.
K: I know that you studied printmaking in Sichuan Fine Arts Institute before, what do you think is the biggest change or influence of printmaking on your painting?L: The study of printmaking has helped me a lot. Printmaking is more restrictive, more specific and has less space for activities. Printmaking varies from simple to complex, but its properties make it difficult for people to think about "what to paint". Later, when painting oil paintings, you can find the conversion between what to paint and how to paint it. It taught me how to find freedom with fewer constraints.
K: How do you view the "spiritual pull" in creation?
L: At present, I understand "spirituality" as one of the most essential things closely linked to the concentration of painting. For example, a painting needs an image at its core, but a more “beautiful” image replaces it, and this beauty now refers to beauty that seems visually challenging but does not challenge me. And fell into a general aesthetic that I had created. However, to express the core, do you dare to break through this universal beauty? This is how I understand the pull of spirituality and the concentration of painting. We can't imagine or do anything beyond the sum of our perceptions, but as an artist, I think I must do it anyway.
K: In the works on display this time, you have left some pictures blank, such as "Observing the World" and "Good Night 2". How do you consider this?
L: It all depends on the core of the picture. The “Observing the World” picture does not have a particular text, but it is like a collection of multiple texts then transformed into a picture with detailed images. The diffuse expression of this text, the scene implies that its greatest need is the absence of need. "Good Night 2" comes from Jacob and the angel wrestling. The strange thing is that it is not a surface confrontation; there is strong rhetoric in it; this is a good night for Jacob; this narrative cannot be particular in the scene, so choose to leave it white.
In fact, even ignoring the significance of this level of content, the sense of ritual or beauty formed by positive and negative forms is also very important to me, and the white space actually makes this thing obvious.
Some works have a background because I think their text needs to be extended, imagined, and directly transformed in the picture. On the contrary, the white space has the traditional meaning of leaving imagination space, which needs to be actively extended on the screen.
K: More than ten new works in this exhibition are also primarily large-scale, usually more accustomed to creating large paintings. Does size directly affect your expression?
L: Yes, because when I start a painting, the text or visual source needs to add a complex emotion, and the picture is transformed into an image. Sometimes romantic, sometimes mystical, but both have a sense of ritual, and for these reasons, my paintings need size. For example, when I was looking for texts related to love stories driven by the faith society, I found two texts with little contrast because the atmosphere of the two texts is too different. In my opinion, there is a difference in size.
For example, in “Narrow Door”, Alyssa and Jerome suffer from each other's losses and mixed with subtle mild emotion, its appeal is to contain this atmosphere, so the large size will lose these surface ambiguous components unless I want to subjective distort and alienate this relationship.
However, the love between Paolo and Francesco has a tragic solid colour. Due to his "deformed" emotional carrier, he can bring a lot of new judgments, and the modification in the Divine Comedy has a strong sense of ritual—such an atmosphere in the text conversion process for me to need size.
K: How are you used to arranging the composition of the picture language?
L: I basically do not arrange the language of the picture, except that I think the influence of a certain part on the whole picture is very important. Otherwise, I would prefer to rely on instinct often.
K: Have there been any recent events that influenced your work a lot?
L: The studio moved and got bigger, but nothing else.
李关帅，1997年生于山东东营，2019年就毕业于四川美术学院版画系，2022年研究生毕业于四川美术学院造型艺术学院，曾在四川美术学院驻留，现工作生活于重庆。他的作品收藏于澳大利亚悉尼白兔美术馆，广东当代艺术基金会，罗中立美术馆等。他参与的群展包括：“驿驿其达”，龙美术馆，（重庆，2023）；“在动物园散步才是正经事”，可以画廊（合肥，2023）；“动态刷新”，罗中立美术馆（重庆，2023）；“罗中立奖学金作品展”，芒果美术馆（长沙，2023）；“向前的前一步”，赛麟空间（上海，2022）；“折叠·覆盖”，鸿坤美术馆 （北京，2022）；“固体与偏差”，重庆星汇当代美术馆 （ 重庆，2022）；“信息捕捉器、超未来、启示、友爱共生”，北京妙有艺术（北京，2022）；“无论盛开还是不盛开，花都是花” ，可以画廊（合肥，2022）；" 礼物提名奖 " 作品展，并获得提名奖，罗中立美术馆（重庆，2022）；明日视线奖，（杭州，2021）；作品《我为什么在这里》，中国美术馆（北京，2018）等。Li Guanshuai born in 1997 in Dongying, Shandong Province, graduated from the Printmaking Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2019, and graduated from the School of Plastic Arts of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute as a postgraduate student in 2022. He has been in residence at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, and now lives and works in Chongqing. His works are collected in the White Rabbit Art Museum, Sydney, Australia, Guangdong Contemporary Art Foundation, Luo Zhongli Art Museum, etc.The group exhibitions he participated:"Sprouting",Dragon Art Museum,(Chongqing,2023);“Walking in the Zoo is the most Serious Thing”, KeYi Gallery,( Hefei, 2023);“Dynamic refresh” ,Luo Zhongli Art Museum, (Chongqing, 2023);“Luo Zhongli Scholarship”, Mango Art Museum, (Changsha, 2022);“Look Before You Leap”, Sailing Space, (Shanghai, 2022);“Fold and cover”，HK Fine Art Museum,( Beijing, 2022);“Solids and Deviation”, Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art, (Chongqing, 2022);“MOUart X Meta MOUart Group Exhibition 2022: Information catcher, super future, revelation, fraternal symbiosis”, MOUart, (Beijing, 2022);“Whether in Full Bloom or not, All Flowers are Flowers”, KeYi Gallery, (Hefei, 2022);“The 4th Gift Nomination Award” and won the nominated award, Luo Zhongli Art Museum,( Chongqing, 2022);“Hyper Youth Award”, (Hanghou,2021);The Work: “Why I am Here”, NAMOG, (Beijing, 2018),etc.
关于可以画廊 / About KeYi Gallery可以画廊 KeYi Gallery 是一间成立于2019年的当代新星空间，旨在为艺术家打造一个开放性的具有学术实验性的平台，致力推广多元独特的展览项目和艺术家作品，挖掘和培育年轻艺术家。可以画廊前身以私人收藏为主，20年间不断收藏那些具有一定学术价值的当代作品，并始终关注艺术当下及未来的发展趋势。
KeYi Gallery is a young contemporary art space established in 2019. It aims to create an open and experimental platform for artists and dedicates to promoting diverse unique art programs and works of art, exploring and developing young artists. KeYi Gallery gave priority to private collections previously and has been insisting on collecting contemporary artworks with high academic value while concentrating on art trends in the art world.