Princessehof acquires new work by Geng Xue

Princessehof acquires a new work by Geng Xue for a new exhibition

The Princessehof has acquired new work by the artist Geng Xue (1983, China): The Name of Gold, which was highly acclaimed at the Venice Biennale (2019). The acquisition, consisting of an animated film and sculptures, will be displayed in the museum from 10 October 2020 in the major exhibition Human After All: Ceramic Reflections in Contemporary Art. Geng Xue is generating an international furore with her films and installations. In 2017 the young artist was nominated for China’s most prestigious art prize: the Award of Art China.

The video component of The Name of Gold begins with images of a black and white world. Black and white symbolise cruelty and humour, reality and illusion, earth and heaven. In the story the clay human figures are disfigured by trauma, adversity or temptations. But through the use of gold, Geng Xue also hints at desire and hope. They work in a kind of mine in a black and white world. The hardworking clay people form an intense reflection on life and on our collective behaviour: humans are responsible for the environment and nature, but often sacrifice the most valuable things for transitory gains and goals.

The animated film is presented together with large mountainous sculptures. Short films are screened on monitors that are worked into the mountains, about which the artist says: ‘(...) characters are rolling in a golden world, like fetuses in a golden womb. The viewers look down at the screen, like peering into a well to find the fountain of life. The illusory visual experience highlights the perception of fate. (…) Life and death are the irreversible fate, and also the natural law of human evolution.’

La condition humaine
This theme of humans and how their environment shapes them is the thread that runs through the new exhibition Human After All, Ceramic Reflections in Contemporary Art. The works in the exhibition – sculptures and installations by ten artists from East and West – do not appeal to rational feelings, but rather address primary human qualities and aspects: la condition humaine, humanity with all its limitations, insecurities and self-confidence, beauty or cruelty. This exhibition is part of a series of leading contemporary art presentations of international stature, curated by Tanya Rumpff.

Emerging talent
Geng Xue’s work was previously shown in the Princessehof, in 2017 at the anniversary exhibition In Motion. Her work has also been exhibited at the Venice Biennale (2019), the Sydney Biennale (2018), the Venice Biennale (2018) and the Busan Biennale (2014). Museums that have shown her work include Berkeley Museum of Art (California, United States), Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro) (Barcelona, Spain), Museum of Applied Art (Frankfurt, Germany) and Museum of Contemporary Art (Shanghai, China). Among others, her work is in the collections of CAFA Art Museum (Beijing, China), National Museum of Wales (United Kingdom), Kwangju Art Museum (South Korea), Seto City Art Museum (Japan) and the Princessehof (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands).

Partners: Ottema-Kingma Foundation, Society of Friends of the Princessehof and Club Céramique.

This exhibition has been made possible by the Mondriaan Fund (the public incentive fund for visual arts and cultural heritage) Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and P.M. de Klerk Keramiek Fonds and Snoek Puur Groen.

The Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics is co-financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Municipality of Leeuwarden.

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