© Hugo Tillman

Peng Yu, 2005
C-Print, 30 x 40 inches / 40 x 50 inches

Hugo Tillman
Film Stills Of The Mind

F2 Gallery is proud to present "Film Stills Of The Mind",
Hugo Tillman's first solo exhibition in China.

Tillman conceived the idea for "Film Stills Of The Mind", which is a series of portrait photographs of Chinese Contemporary Artists, in 2005. Over a period of 2 years and after many trips to China, Tillman has taken portrait photographs of Chinese contemporary artists performing various roles, reflecting to a very definite extent, the real atmosphere of contemporary Chinese art.

He interviewed each artist about his or her childhood, seminal moments, dreams, fantasies, philosophy, etc. The interviews were documented with video and will be part of the exhibition installation. Based on these interviews, Tillman created a vision and wove together a film scene by inventing characters for the artists to play, building sets, finding locations, costumes, etc. He then asked each artist to come to his or her set, act out the scene, which is documented using a still camera. This concept is very much influenced by Cindy Sherman's historical "Film Stills" series.

Hugo Tillman states, "In the autumn of 2005, I was diagnosed with bi-polarity; little seizures in my brain, after a lifetime of dramatic ups and down where I often found myself broke in a foreign country in a cheap hotel room with a horrible hangover. My diagnosis came as a relief to say the least, and I decided to do a project that referred to my own experience with psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. As my work is often about infiltrating sub-cultures, I decided to look for empathy in a culture that I was completely ignorant about in an effort to bridge a cultural divide though common experience and compassion. I chose the Chinese Contemporary Art World.

So I mortgaged my house to get some money and headed for Beijing clueless about how I was going to actually accomplish my goal not knowing the city or people. I soon found the Chinese Art World to be incredibly open, welcoming and without the metaphorical velvet ropes found in New York and Europe's Art Scenes. So, I have created film stills of the mind in collaboration with China's most significant Contemporary Artists.

The result is a metaphorical map of the Chinese Artistic psyche against the backdrop of an ever changing urban and national cityscape, as Chinese society gets propelled from the past to the future desperately attempting to comprehend the present as it disappears before any possible recognition.

The series of approximately 80 large scale photographs accompanied by the sounds of interviews conducted with each artist is a cohesive primary source of the Chinese Art World's subconscious. Subtly the journey moves from what Edward Said might call an Orientalist perspective to a fusion of common experience that acts as a platform for dialogue between myself, a British New Yorker, and all of those artists, that I am ever so grateful to, in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou. This imagery presents one snapshot of China in 2005 to 2007.

The narrative begins to describe some of the currents in this extraordinary transformation happening in China. Through the collaboration I am beginning to understand the conflicts and dynamics in current Chinese society and by extension my recent diagnosis with bipolarity. As I begin to try to peel back the layers of the complicated history of China, I am beginning to decipher and decode the conflicts, real and perceived. This work begins to lend shape to an autonomous relationship that is evolving organically between myself and my generation with China. It is the first of what I hope to be many forays into China and with Chinese artists moving forward."

Exhibition 2 June - 12 July 2007

Gallery hours Tues-Sun 10 am - 6 pm

F2 Gallery
319 Caochangdi, East Dashanzi Road, Chaoyang District
China, Beijing 100015
Telephone +86 10 6432 8831
Fax +86 10 6132 8203
Email art@f2gallery.com