A soft landing

Simon Kentgens


February 27 at 5 PM, 2009


February 27 till March 20, 2009


CEAC, Xiamen, China

Dutch artist Simon Kentgens will present an exhibition of new work at the Chinese European Art Center. These works were created during his residency at the CEAC in Xiamen over the past two months and are a reflection, in one way or another, on his experiences in China. The exhibition will consist of installations, paintings, photographs and video.

The title ‘A Soft Landing’ is a reference to Xiamen and its reputation of providing foreign visitors with a gentle introduction to China. It also refers to the Softlan brand of fabric softener that Kentgens uses in one of his works (Softlan, 2009). The Dutch word ‘ding’ translates into English as meaning ‘thing’, giving Kentgens’ exhibition the additional and somewhat humorous title ‘A Soft landing’.

Beauty is in the moment
Kentgens shows a variety of works that seem to be very temporal in nature: sculptural objects constructed from light, constellations made of fruit, a puddle of fabric softener, flowers. Works that are not intended to be permanent, but will instead break down and decay. Kentgens deliberately chooses these materials in order to show that beauty is very temporal and beautiful moments can be found everywhere in daily life.

However, the oil paintings in the exhibition attempt to defy this impermanent state. The paintings are copied from photographs documenting installations that Kentgens has made during the past few years. These installations were temporary, existing for only a limited period of time. After being deconstructed their permanence remained only in the memory of the viewer and in photographs documenting the work.

Kentgens employed an oil painter in Xiamen to copy several of these photographs documenting previous exhibitions on to canvas. By transforming these photographic records of past exhibitions into traditional oil paintings Kentgens attempts to reverse the temporal nature of his practice and make the work in some way permanent.

Kentgens is fascinated by the copy-culture in China, particularly the process of copying paintings, which is such a thriving industry in Xiamen. By exhibiting these paintings Kentgens questions the concept of authorship and highlights issues regarding originality and authenticity.

More about his work: www.simonkentgens.combr> A photoblog about his residency in Xiamen: www.simonkentgens.com/china


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