• A Descent into the Maelstrom

Curator: Fiona He

Artists: Li Shurui, Yang Guangnan, Zhang Xuerui

Duration: 5th November – 17th December, 2022

Address: No.110, Stage 2, South Square, One Shenzhen Bay, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China


MANGROVEGALLERY is pleased to present the group exhibition “A Descent into Maelstrom,” curated by independent curator Fiona He, inviting three outstanding Chinese female artists – Li Shurui, Yang Guangnan, and Zhang Xuerui – to present their latest creations. The exhibition will be on view from November 5 to December 17, 2022.

The exhibition draws inspiration from the 19th-century American poet, novelist, and literary critic, Edgar Allan Poe’s short story A Descent into the Maelstrom. The story recounts a sailor’s unfortunate experience in the famous Maelstrom on a fishing trip and frighteningly escapes from death. The exhibition adopts literary devices such as flashbacks and multiple perspectives used in the short story to expand on these three artists’ practices revolving around their in-depth analysis and translation of nature, the urban environment, and the quotidian from their respective perspectives at particular moments.

Zhang Xuerui’s abstract paintings show the artist’s heightened sensitivity to color – a close integration with her perceptual system. At the same time, the “light spots” on her canvas break the inertia of people’s viewing and allow for a conscious “escape.” Yang Guangnan’s spatial interventions in the gallery are not only extensions of her sculptural training but also adopt a lighthearted yet unique style and approach to convey her personal and daily experience in urban space through mosaic, folding, accumulation, and collage. Li Shurui’s painting practice focuses on the two indispensable elements of painting – light and color – to discover the desires and spirituality of individuals in the current environment while relating her works to the collective consciousness in a broader sense.

Literature creates an extreme situation that requires imagination. A maelstrom carries the protagonist to the abyss, while the human instinct and courage to survive to allow him to escape and survive the impossible. Artistic practices are not smooth sailings; in complex situations and thorny paths, artists look for their breakthrough before external force majeure and dissonant environment. This exhibition intends to present their perception when they “descent into maelstrom” through their works of art.