Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
The painter Ji Dachun (b. 1968) is best-known for his surrealist, satirical critiques of contemporary China. “Ji Dachun: Without a Home” spans several key moments in the artist’s prodigious career and includes a new suite of works made specifically for this exhibition.
With some 40 works realized in the past decade, the show also marks the artist’s first institutional exhibition in Beijing and the most comprehensive look at his mature practice to date.
Since he started showing in the mid-1990s, Ji’s painting has alternated between a wry figurative mode and an aesthetic characterized by abstract quasi-landscapes and still lifes. In his earlier works, Ji depicts historical figures, cartoonish animals, children’s toys, and everyday objects against stark white backgrounds. These familiar objects and figures are marked by bizarre visual non-sequiturs and juxtapositions, resulting in humorous, otherworldly scenes: cryptic caricatures, cartoonish perversity, and variously macabre, trenchant, and grotesque overtones. The animation cel-like images seem ineffably familiar yet inexorably estranged, resisting conventional interpretation.