We have no purity in the dark
Lin Zhipeng

Kitsuné Gallery, New York
January 5th – 29th 2023

For his first solo exhibition with Kitsuné Gallery in New York, Lin Zhipeng presents with Jérôme Sans, curator of the exhibition, a selection of 37 photographs realized between 2010 and 2022 that pursue his interrogations of Chinese youth in all its complexity: the dynamism and vulnerability of counter-cultures in facing the power of traditional conservatism, rooted in the universal experiences of love, solitude, joy or melancholy.

Fluid Realities

A leading figure of the new Chinese photography, Beijing based artist Lin Zhipeng, born in Guangdong in 1979, reflects a certain spirit of the Chinese youth of the millennium and its rejection of conventions. His alias, n°223, is borrowed from a lonely cop’s matricula that crosses paths with Brigitte Lin, a fake blonde and real drug dealer in the film Chungking Express by Wong Kar-Wai. Here in cinema or in photography, the falseness of the drama and the twists and turns constructed for our entertainment's sake underline as much a game around genres and their borders as the power of fiction to touch reality. In addition to the name of one of his characters, a certain ability to juggle Chinese and Western cultures, and an unconditional attachment to marginality, what Lin Zhipeng shares with the Hong Kong filmmaker is precisely this ability to play with the mechanisms of the popular while offering sincere images and stories.

With Lin Zhipeng, everything is tinged with a resolutely pop seduction. The colour, the shapes, the textures, the framing used are all symptomatic of a visual culture rocked by the flow of images, bodies and symbols that have marked our entry into the second millennium. Far from the traditional and unconstructive criticism of an "overconsumption" or "saturation" of images, those of the artist celebrate the vitality of his generation, starting with the staging of his life and that of his entourage. Mixing love and chaos, fantasy and eroticism, his photographs act as the collective poetic diary of a generation eager to escape social pressures and to aspire to the pleasures of life in a society that is as indifferent as it is rapidly evolving.

“Feed” in perpetual mutation sometimes documentary, fictional or conceptual, the photographs of the artist pose recurring elements of a voluntarily eclectic practice: portraits or landscapes with flash, nocturnal and aquatic photographs, nudes, still lives or animals are superimposed, combined or even merged. Whilst the core of his practice remains marked by the nude, both female and male, his recent work shows the development of a pictorial research that explores all forms of life. Human, vegetable, animal or object compose together a philosophy of transposition and empathy. In this sense, the artist states: "Humans and all things in the world are equal, and human bodies and natural things are also equal. Just like humans, fruits, flowers, and animals have their own vitality, and they will experience growth and decline until death and disappearance. I hope to compare the vitality of animals and objects to the human body, which possesses certain thoughts and emotions.” Beyond that of an entire generation, it is vitality as energy or as a fluid reality that the artist captures.

Jérôme Sans, October 2022