Exploring the Labyrinth of Self: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Contemporary Art

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Exploring the Labyrinth of Self: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Contemporary Art

In an innovative exhibition set against the backdrop of three newly designed flats, a thought-provoking dialogue emerges between the intimate spaces we inhabit and the vast landscapes of human consciousness. Curated by Wenyi Shi, whose background in theatre costume design and painting informs her unconventional approach to gallery spaces, this exhibition challenges the traditional confines of art display, opting instead for living spaces imbued with a soul. Shi's curatorial practice, marked by a refusal of the conventional white cube gallery, showcases her ability to craft exhibitions that, while appearing effortless, are the result of meticulous organization and a deep commitment to the conceptual underpinnings of the artwork displayed.

Contemporary art

Featuring the works of five emerging artists, the exhibition serves as a canvas for exploring Virginia Woolf’s notion of "a room of one's own" in the context of contemporary realities. Through a selection of poems, visual artworks, and installations, the artists delve into themes of goddess mythology, reincarnation, identity struggles, and the careful observation of life. This collaboration between Fang Ting and Wenyi Shi, founders of Artists In The UK LTD, bridges the gap between personal spaces and public art discourse, inviting viewers into a world where the personal and the universal collide.

Zijing Chen, a London-based visual artist with a background in painting, digital art, graphic novels, and animation, presents a narrative language steeped in existentialist philosophy and magical realism. Her work, a complex tapestry of myths, symbols, personal memories, and dreams, explores the human existence dilemma through the lens of paradox. The symbolism of the apple in her artwork, transitioning from bitten to whole, alongside references to "The Last Supper," encapsulates a meditation on life, cycles, and desire, set against a backdrop of a labyrinthine mirror world and the elusive Tower of Babel.
Oil on Wood Panel (PRINT), 80×25cm

Jiaxing Li, on the other hand, offers a profound psychoanalytical journey into the self's subconscious, unraveling layers of emotion, memory, and perception that constitute personal identity. Her work, grounded in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, and mixed media installations, transcends personal experience to engage with universal themes. Drawing inspiration from a period of introspection in Beijing, Li's artistic practice embodies a quest for understanding the self within the collective, navigating the complexities of identity through a deeply symbolic and metaphorical language.

Oil on Canvas (PRINT), 30×40cm

This exhibition, therefore, not only serves as a showcase for the emerging talents of its participants but also as a vibrant exploration of  Woolf's concept brought to life. It is a testament to the power of art to explore the depths of human experience, the intricacies of personal identity, and the universal quest for meaning and connection in the modern world. Through the innovative curation of Wenyi Shi and the compelling narratives of its artists, the exhibition invites viewers on a journey through the mystical and the mundane, offering a reflective space where the personal and the collective, the mythical and the real, intersect.

Author: Derya Ocean