RETNA & LIU BOLIN
At the 65th annual Cannes Festival
Exhibition will be held at COSY BOX at the Festival De Cannes
16 June – 27 May, 2012
C O S Y B O X
N. 1, boulevard de la Croisette
Cannes, France 06400
At the celebrated Steps of the Festival de Cannes
Upon a first glance, Chinese-born artist Liu Bolin’s portfolio of photography is a catalogue of carefully constructed panoramic shots documenting international urbanity and prestige in both Eastern and Western cultures, pointing his lens at government buildings, landmark locations, and quotidian tourist attractions, typical destinations for the well-heeled traveler. Yet, what lies beneath these impressions is a body of work that tells an entirely different story. It becomes apparent that what is presented to the viewer has a hidden something- or more specifically someone- who is, in turn, viewing us from the textural depths of the photograph. That someone in question is Bolin, who quietly inserts himself into the metropolis by painting his face, clothes, and feet to submerge into the backdrop. Often referred to as “The Invisible Man,” Bolin focuses on what is not present. His physical concealment is a reference to the frequently regressive representation and support for artists in China. Born from Bolin’s emotional response to when the Chinese governments destroyed the Beijing artist village of Suo Jia Cun in 2005, his work acts as a voluminous yet silent protest against government control over progress, development and creativity in the form of camouflage and concealment. Since the artists studio was dismantled, he began hiding in cities.
Similarly, Los Angeles-born graffiti writer Retna utilizes a method of construction and presentation based on concealment and disguise. Merging traditional scripts as diverse as Old English, Asian calligraphy and Arabic and Hebrew text with street-style graffiti writing, Retna unveils his own method of communication and language- one that is like Bolin’s photographs, not instantly able to be de-coded, yet visually captivating by presenting an alternative method of discourse. Retna too takes his influence from his surroundings, his interests, and his challenges, and builds from experience to express personal messages and meanings hidden within his work. His recent mural on the Bowery wall in New York, reflects on the social interaction and development, proclaiming, “the power of the world always works in circles,” a statement that works in conjunction with Bolin’s desire for a mutually agreeable relationship between the upper echelons of power and the common man in artistic terms. This exhibition presents both Bolin and Retna’s modes for interaction and discussion, exploring the personal and political, destruction and development and the hidden and revealed.
Reflections on the artists written by Felicity Henshaw
C O S Y B O X is the destination for a glamarous evening during the Cannes Film Festival. Cosy Box provides sumptuous array of gastronomic indulgences composed in accordance with artistic innovative and evocative concepts. With a stylish interior design and avant-garde art work, you can enjoy a once in a lifetime experience. In the fashion of an Art Salon and inspired by numerous New York and International influences, Cosy Box showcases leading contemporary artists in a wam and elegant enviornemnt that is a fusion between intimate restuarant, nightclub, and art gallery.