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  1. Geng Jianyi
    Excessive Transition series, 2008
    15 gelatin silver prints, steel and magnets (detail)
    Courtesy of the artist and ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai
    Photo: Michael Barrick

Yellow Signal: New Media in China

Geng Jianyi - Excessive Transition, 2008

Walter C. Koerner Library
1958 Main Mall

May 11 - August 25, 2012

Walter C. Koerner Library Click here for directions

Geng Jianyi (born: Zhenzhou, 1962) is a multimedia artist based in Hangzhou where he currently teaches at the New Media Program at the China Academy of Art. Originally trained and recognized as a painter Geng’s recent works have focused on photography and video. His interests are varied and his work explores issues of individuality and identity through his personal experience of daily life, friendships, and work.

Excessive Transition is presented at two locations on the campus of the University of British Columbia: at Koerner Library and at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery as part of Yellow Signal: New Media in China that features the work of Geng Jianyi, Huang Ran, and Zhang Peili.

Excessive Transition is a series of large and small black-and-white photographs of everyday objects from the artist’s life and features a collection of photographs of bottlenecks posted on magnet boards. It is part of Geng’s ongoing exploration of the essence of photography and the artist’s interest in what is seen and how it is interpreted. He employs various techniques such as mark making and frottage to manipulate the idea of what is evidenced in photographs. The semi-transparent, abstract, and eerie subtle effects often give rise to psychologial explanations of the work. Though Geng’s work is not easy to define, Excessive Transition follows his concerns of the dissolution and disappearance of identity in a culture that is undergoing change.

This exhibition is presented as part of Yellow Signal: New Media in China – Geng Jianyi, Huang Ran, Zhang Peili at the Belkin Art Gallery (April 27 to August 19, 2012) and it is also part of the larger, city-wide project, Yellow Signal: New Media in China. Initiated by Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, this series of exhibitions and programs is the first comprehensive presentation of contemporary Chinese new media and video art in Canada. It showcases a selection of leading new media works by internationally acclaimed Chinese artists.

The city-wide project is compelling for its portrayal of current political circumstances faced by many artists in China. “Yellow Signal is a metaphor for the communal state of ambiguity in Asian countries,” explains Zheng Shengtian, BC-based artist, curator, and internationally recognized scholar and expert on contemporary Chinese art. He further explains, “Yellow Signal is about limitation and possibility, choice and chance, confusion and self-confidence. Feelings that many Asian artists experience, but that artists everywhere may also relate to in their creative practice.”

For more information on the exhibition at the Belkin Art Gallery featuring the work of Huang Ran, Geng Jianyi, and Zhang Peili click here >>Yellow Signal.

The library exhibition is a collaboration of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and the Walter C. Koerner Library at the University of British Columbia and is made possible by the generous support of the Audain Foundation. Art in the Library offers new perspectives on contemporary art by presenting art that challenges and questions our current perceptions.

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689