TA MEN+, Lai Shengyu & Yang Xiaogang (1978, Hunan, China)
Education: Central Academy of Fine arts, Beijing, China (2004)
Tamen+ is an artist collective formed in 2003 by artists Lai Shengyu and Yang Xiaogang, who were born in China’s Hunan Province in 1978 and 1979, respectively. Both received post-graduate degrees from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in the Department of Printmaking. The duo has traveled widely and rejects contemporary society’s infatuation with the individual by seamlessly collaborating on and co-painting each work. They have gained acclaim in China and abroad for their Same Room series of paintings, and have since shifted towards exterior scenes in natural landscapes, displaying Western-style painting techniques and thought-provoking conceptualizations.
Lai Shengyu and Yang Xiaogang’s collaborations are part of the new trend of Chinese contemporary art where thought exercises are staged on canvas. The two artists co-paint, co-operate and co-practice, placing emphasis on communication and dialogue, both in the process and results of their work. Before beginning a work, a general theme and setting may be discussed, while the rest of the conversation occurs through the painting as they alternate working on the piece, continuously adding upon the other’s work, with neither having the right to erase the work of the other.
‘An epoch of the late 70’s generation, THEY reveal their attitudes toward realities of society and their circumstances in a different approach from the artists of the older generation. THEY, through interior and conflicting juxtaposition, displays contradictory nature of society that is both corrupt and progressive. However, they do not reject nor expresses any sarcasm toward the real world seen outside the window. Individuals are merely consuming or entertaining themselves.
Inside an individual surrounding environment and corrupted private space, inner and outer realm are juxtaposed. While other young artists are infatuated with the characterization of private narratives, THEY unveils inherent conditions and hidden aspects of the internal through the breach of the exterior. From this immanent observation THEY becomes the ‘true other’.’
2018 Mobile Theatre, They Solo Exhibition, Yang Gallery, Singapore
2016 A Floating World, They Solo Exhibition, Yang Gallery, Beijing, China
2011 Past and Present, They Solo Exhibition, Beyond Art Space, Beijing, China
2009 “THEY”, Canvas international art Amstelveen, The Netherlands
2009 They, The Lost Heaven, Museum of Hunan Province, China
2008 “They”, New York Asian Contemporary Art Fair New York
2008 “Art classroom”, China Today Gallery Brussel, België
2007 THEY, PYO Gallery Beijing, Beijing, China
2006 TA MEN, Pyo Gallery, Seoel
2004 Therefore it is and Surely it’s Them, The First Dashanzi Art Festival, Beijing
2002 US two-Man Works Exhibition, Beijing