past exhibition

Under a flag:
Shao-Jie Lin
Anthony Ngoya

10th January –
20th February 2020

20 February 6pm-9pm

‘Under a flag’ is a two-artist show introducing Shao-Jie Lin and Anthony Ngoya, comprising various installations including paintings, video, found objects and sculptures.

About the exhibition

The two artists employ vastly different languages; Lin's is a carefully constructed statement often social and political, the message covered under the subtle and simple, but intriguing visual. His objects are created by deconstructing original materials, image or ideas, and composed anew; thoughts and ideas are weaved in at every step of the process and become an integral part of the physicality of the works. The reconfigured materials and internalised concepts render the gracious presence of Lin’s objects into a quiet yet potent statement.

Dynamic, fluid and intuitive, the oeuvre of Ngoya is personal, reflecting his own life and identity. His practice is based on painting, but he often works directly with untreated canvas sheets or repurposed fabric. His liberal use of found objects such as discarded construction materials asserts the contemporary life and incorporates marginal or non-mainstream existence through decontextualisation and recontextualisation. Feel of roughness that is omnipresent in Ngoya's works, either physically or metaphysically, only reveals the acute sense of sophisticated equilibrium or very slight lack of it, as if to arouse curiosity and uneasiness.

Formally the practices of the the two artists may seem to be the farthest away from each other, but then, the drive for creation and their conceptual backgrounds have some common elements, one of which is a deep-rooted question of identity. Lin's primary concerns evolve around the ideas of immigration, national borders, the concept of nation state and sentiments deriving from it, such as national pride. Ngoya's practice is driven by his desire to trace back time and revive memory or reconstruct the past, present and future both real and imagined. As a member of the society where his parents came to live, his idea of past, present and future and memory are naturally shaped at least partly by the conscious or unconscious conceptualisation of where they came from, where they came to, and the conflict as well as the wealth of living and owning more than one culture.

A flag is an object loaded with symbolism pertaining to collective conscience and sense of belonging, and it is no coincident that the two artists have produced works that resemble flags, or works using flag-like objects. Lin's 'The Road on Which the Sun Never Sets' is a video installation composed of a video and a specially created screen; the video features the moving images of 62 streets across the Common Wealth countries seen in Google Street View, all of which are named after the British Imperial era and its glory. It is projected onto a screen made with images of the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign posters of the Remain and Leave Camps, making up a mock Union Jack. Ngoya's flag can be read as a structure-less painting, or 'de-materialisation' of a painting. With a wrinkled, dyed repurposed fabric in guise of a flag hung on a beaten-up aluminium pipe and a concrete block as the pole and the base, it is not a shiny national flag flying high on a national day. The artist claims that the 'Etendard' may be read as an affirmation of his identity; identity formed through his parents travelling through borders, identity that may not strike as immaculate and handsome, but identity which keeps its head up, shyly but obstinately and which infuses doubtless sentiment of hope for the future.

Shao-Jie Lin

b. 1984 in Hualien, Taiwan. Lives and works in London.

Concerned about the geopolitical and anthropological issues, Lin investigates the themes of border, mobility, equality and justice. Across media including digital media, installation, objects created employing various materials and techniques, his poetic and imaginative sensibility has always navigated his practice into producing pieces with tranquil but acute social statements under the refined and sophisticated visual. A Bloomberg Contemporary 2018 artist, Lin has participated in various group shows including 'Nakanojo Biennale', Japan (2019), 'Busan South Port Seaside Art Festival', South Korea (2019). Having obtained the MFA Goldsmith UoL in 2017, Lin will start the PhD program in Fine Arts in the Slade School of Fine Art UCL in 2020.

Anthony N'Goya

b. 1995, Limoge. Lives and works in Bruxelles.

Ngoya's paintings and installation works reveal the forgotten or overlooked emotion and beauty under the brutal and rough surface. The artist describes his work's aims as sublimation of forgotten memory, and as the fragments of memory become blurred, they are confounded with imaginary, hovering between the real and unreal. Ngoya is primarily a painter, but also works directly with fabrics, often dying and repurposing used textiles for installations with found objects including used and disposed industrial materials. Ngoya is in the Master's course in painting at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels La Cambre, Bruxelles where he obtained the Bachelor's Degree in painting in 2019. He has exhibited mainly in Bruxelles, and the current show is the first time his works are shown in the UK.