Transfer of Power

Coates and Scarry, in partnership with the International Chinese Fine Arts Council, are delighted to present ‘Transfer of Power’ a major exhibition of works by internationally acclaimed, London-based, Gordon Cheung. 

‘Transfer of Power’ is Cheung’s debut exhibition in LA and includes work from the past 10 years. The exhibition features elaborate combinations of painted lion dancers, filmed bull riders, AR showers of Bitcoin, digitally distorted landscapes, megacities composed of sand and spray paint, and ornate traditional Chinese window frames built from financial newspapers. Here, complex amalgamations of traditional forms and technologically advanced systems collide to interrogate the forces behind global financial crises, the rise and fall of Superpowers, the movement of global capital, and investment in cryptocurrency. It results in a searing critique of some centralised banks’ response to the Covid-19 2020 recession: to simply print more money. 

Cheung tackles these complex ideas through work that is deliberately wide-ranging. Encompassing painting, sculpture, work on paper, video and augmented reality his, work  evades definition precisely because he is interested in the ‘complex flow of information that forms Utopias and Dystopias wherever capital accumulates’. He seeks out the slippages that take place when histories are told, capital is transferred, data saturates, news stories are broadcast, and images are mediated. 

Often these interests cause a partial breakdown of the image, for example, where digital glitches are amplified and exaggerated, almost entirely obscuring the identities of a set of portraits, as in the series History Glitch. Digital manipulation functions differently in Beauty in Isolation. Here members of the public in lockdown were invited to send snapshots of idyllic scenery to Cheung who has then tampered with the images using digital software and algorithms to rearrange, corrupt and augment the originals. The result creates the effect of unsettling science-fiction dystopias, where the solidity of a mountain ranges appears to melt, clouds erupt into waterfalls, and the ripples of water are stretched out and pixelated.

Cheung’s visual manipulations are always overt, acting as a metaphor for the way that ideas are processed and distorted through the often-disjointed relationships between personal and collective memories and histories. As a British-born Chinese artist, his work reflects the unstable interconnections between Chinese and British cultures to produce images refracted through the lens of mythology, storytelling, the history of industrialisation, digitisation, as well as financial and geopolitical systems. 

The works included in the exhibition will have blockchain art authentication by SmartStamp a technology sponsor. The exhibition is kindly supported by Joel and Bianca Chen.

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Gordon Cheung bio:
Born in 1975 in London to Chinese parents, Cheung graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 1998 from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and earned his Masters of Fine Arts in 2001 from the Royal College of Art in London. Selected solo shows include at Edel Assanti, Cristea Roberts Gallery in London, Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, Leila Heller Gallery in Dubaiamong others. Forthcoming solo show will be at Almine Rech, Paris 2022. His works are held in the collections of Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., British Museum, Whitworth Art Museum in Manchester, Royal College of Art in London, and Museum of Modern Art in New York, Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and UBS, HSBC and Microsoft among others. He lives and works in London.