中文

Frantumaglia

Article/ Stella Sideli 

 

‘Things are neither present nor absent, real or unreal, but flickering ralationality of trans/matter.’ 

——— Karen Barad

 

Frantumagliais Li Li Ren’s first solo show in Beijing, at Qi Mu Space, opening on the 19th of November 2021. 

 

‘Frantumaglia’ is a disused Italian word meaning ‘a collection of fragments’, also used to talk about indescribable feelings. It’s the title of a recent book by Elena Ferrante, the famous Italian pseudonym writer. The book is a memoir, an autobiography joining reality and fiction, placing and playing the reader between dream and matter. A similar attitude is found in Li Li Ren’s exhibition: an impalpable premise shaping up the experience in the gallery, which becomes a place where the real and the imagined merge for the duration of the show.

 

The exhibition unfolds on both floors of the gallery, with sculptural elements in glass, resin, marble, bronze, memory foam and water. The pieces inhabiting the spaces are interior everyday objects we are well used to: a mattress, a chair, car bits, some swim fins, and even some hands evoking gestures and basic emotions. However, in their present state, these elements appear more like familiar ghosts, or traces embodying a mirage-like narrative, a distant idea of being.

 

Entering Frantumaglia catches by surprise. Walking into what might look like the aftermath of some traumatic event, witnessed by the elements of broken objects sparse around the gallery, we are left to wonder on the state of disorder as a feminist intervention. As a matter of fact, it’s in the patriarchal, capitalist world, all about real estate building and propulsive making, in the era of ‘just do it’, that destruction, un-building, un-worlding are the only alternative, the only solutions. In the exhibition, turning destruction and collapse into an aesthetic, we are forced to think about the inevitability of change and decay: our own bodies collapse and we cannot escape that. With this awareness we move around the space, experiencing a rupture of time, entering a mental state of displacement by which we suddenly and intimately realise that time is diluted, diffused. 

 

In Frantumaglia, past, present and future merge, and time, like water, flows across and connects us. Parallelly we notice that the materiality of the pieces is crucial to this experience: it’s itself in constant flux, in continuous action. Static objects but alive and mutating— from permanent to contingent, from soft and ethereal to hard and heavy. Sculptural materials constantly alternate and shift, manifesting their transformative powers. In the new materialist tradition, we start perceiving that it’s in the relationships between the objects that the exhibition takes its form. Difficult to grasp but present everywhere, meaning is created in the interdependencies of the objects and entities populating the gallery. 

 

 

As we proceed through space, the works are choreographed in order to activate an osmotic narrative which navigates feelings of intensity, fear, shock, followed by recovery, healing, intimacy and rebirth at last. And while we find and witness signs of the irreparable and forming, water in fact becomes an essential element— a vessel for life and hope, a place holder to imagine, from the intensity of a stretched present moment, a new future.

 

LILI REN

 

Graduated from sculpture at the Royal College of Art, she lives and works in London.

 

To poke, to irritate, to intervene, and to pervert are my gestures toward surroundings. Playing with personal experiences and emotions, my work unsettles ubiquitous objects with a sense of irony and humour to invoke horror lurking within everyday reality. It explores boundaries between the real and the manufactured, the private and public, the repressed and the power of the “powerful”. I seek to create a moment—a moment of thunder and oblivion.











Related Artist

Related Video