TURN Gallery is pleased to present CABINET OF CURIOSITIES, a solo exhibition in our Parlour Room by Li Jun. This marks her United States debut.
Li Jun’s paintings reconfigure realistic space and matter to form uncharted hypnotic environments. Objects—including bowls, cups, fruits, vases, sinks and teeth—appear removed from their typically prescribed restrictions of time and function. Instead they appear in a “quiet, warm, desolate, and constant accumulation,” according to the artist. For Li Jun, the real and surreal depend on one another: “The escapism and expectation of real space shape these works together, where existence and fiction are interdependent. They are not imagined as a place to live, they need beauty, air, and a sense of static time. It's not the end, it's not the beginning. There's no one here.” Drawing on traditions of still life painting, she presents simultaneously inhabitable and habitable spaces whose frozen tableaus indicate a moment unfinished. Jun’s canvases, channeling the privacy of domestic space, as well as the immediacy of her flattened objects and muted color pallet, further a sense of suspended time. Beyond employing painting’s inherent visual illusions of depth, space, and realism, Jun touches on the placebo of control; as the artist states, “These objects are everywhere, carefully crafted and selected to be delivered to us. They are different from us while seem to be under our control.” These “places of stay,” as the artist designates them, present engaging falsities, pills of escapism, in which internal longings and curiosities are free to roam, inspired yet uninhibited by reality. The relationship between the viewer and what at first appears to be an easily recognizable and palatable still life transforms as surrealist motifs evoke a destabilizing sense of impermeable time and ignite the desire to explore.
Born in Changsha, China (1994), Li Jun received her BFA from the China Academy of Art, and currently lives and works in Shanghai. This will be Li Jun’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Her recent solo exhibition, Half and Half was shown at the PJ Gallery in Shenzhen, China (2020). Her previous group exhibitions include the Shanghai Youth Art Exhibition, Shanghai (2019), Room, Nomoface, Hangzhou, China (2019); and Animation Art Biennial, Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China (2018).