Leilei Guo ~ China

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Leilei Guo: Modern technology affects the visual world constantly – mass advertisements, art reproductions, public and private pictures, and commercial artwork. It seems as if we have never experienced a period like now, surrounded by so many reproductions and false techniques. People begin to lose the ability to recognize what is natural and what is artificial. As an artist, I hope I can through my work protect the only unvarnished field left in my heart, and describe a true world to the universe.
   
Mogao
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2014. Edition of 6.

19.5 x 10.5 x 1"; 12 leaves. Silkscreen prints. Paste paper. Photographs. Flexible binding to allow circular display. Housed in four-flap portfolio case with leather tie closure. In cloth drawstring bag. Signed by the artist.

Beijing artist Leilei Guo continues a theme that appeared first in East West (2010): the past for reasons of culture and commerce is always with us.

Leilei Guo: "The cave temples of Mogao, situated near the old Silk Road oasis of Dunhuang in northwestern China and therefore also known as the Dunhuang caves, are among the world's most important sites for Buddhist art and afford one an unparalleled overview of one thousand years of Chinese painting. Last September, I finally did make a trip to Dunhuang. During this trip I visited the famed caves of Mogao, and in the meantime while exploring the city I also found that there were many symbols from cave paintings finding their way into daily life, in the surrounding living environment. All these scenes made me imagine how the ancient city looked like, and whether the people used to live lives just like those shown in the scenes on the cave walls. In any case I was truly inspired by the related historical possibilities behind the mural paintings and the appearance of this ancient life. And I would like that my book could, in a way, represent the contrast of real modern life and a thousand years of historical Buddhist stories."
$2,500

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Partridge Sky
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2013. Edition of 5.

39.3 × 26.6× 4.6 cm closed (15.5 x 10.5 x 1.8"); 320 × 195 cm extended (125 x 76.8"), 56 folds (double-sided panels). Silkscreen prints. Laid in four-flap hardcover portfolio wrapper with tie closure. Landscape drawing on cover flap by the artist using pastels. Poem handwritten by the artist in Chinese and English on interior flaps of portfolio. Translation to English by the artist.

This massive (when laid out) work is another in Leilei Guo's continuing examination of the interaction of East and West.

Leilei Guo: "This work has two different but related pictorial sides. One side has a calligraphy version of Zhe Gu Tian Xi Du Zuo, a poem written by Dunru Zhu during the Song Dynasty. The calligraphy appears to float on a scene of today's city traffic. The other side of this picture shows the cityscape of Manhattan, as seen from Long Island. Floating across the images of Manhattan is the calligraphic poem. Two different cultures, two different times, two different modes of expression – different but related.

"The poem side represents the city as place of potential solitude, just like the poet described in the poem, a site to pursue a peaceful and natural place inside the heart, undisturbed by the surrounding bustle of city life. This is the life style preferred by all the ancient Chinese literati. This world is symbolized the three different color blocks covering the calligraphy. The color scheme comes from the artistic conception of the poem, formed by the different tones of Chinese characters. A white block is for the first and second tones, a black block is for the third and fourth tones, and a grey block is the flexible pronunciation that may change in sentences.

"The other side shows a view of Manhattan, one of the most modern cities in the world, a city in the dreams of many people in developing countries. People modernize their countries, develop the economy, and copy the super cities, not only the buildings but also the life style."


Zhe Gu Tian Xi Du Zuo (translation from the Chinese original by the artist):
I’m in charge of mountains and water in the heaven, where God made me profligate and unrestrained. For many times I gave orders to allocate wind and rain, and presented memorials to God for keeping the colorful clouds, and lending the moon to people. I live a free life, reciting 10,000 poems is never too many, and drinking 1,000 cups of alcohol will never make me drunk. In my eyes, kings and ministers are worthless. I do not even care about being appointed a senior position in heaven. I prefer to place a stick of plum flower and get drunk in the city of Luoyang, the flower capital.

$4,800


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Waves
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2013. Edition of 5.

16 x 15 x 1.8"; 92 pages with 46 images / illustrations. Silkscreen prints on hand-cut paper. Laid in hardbound case. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Leilei Guo: "Waves is a book comprised of cut card stock featuring screen-printing on every page. The title of the book corresponds to both the sculptural form and the meaning and idea of the work. Like most of my work, I was inspired by the architecture and living space found throughout China and around the greater world.

"On the cover of the box is a screen-printed image of a building in Tong Zhou district in Beijing: the building looks much like a typical urban structure, except with very distinctive Islamic features. There are two green onion domes along the roof, and Islamic arches form an integral part of the facade. When the box is opened, one can see that the contents are divided into three parts, severing the building into bottom, middle and top.

"But what do these waves have too do with the Islamic building? Waves are not necessarily connected to this single building, but more to the phenomenon of our modern and growing human living spaces. Like waves, we see building after building being constructed one after another, mostly the same, but affected by the collection of cultures that defines a city. Just like a butterfly effect, each style of building affects the other style, driven by the central phenomenon of urban living that creates this kind of tight living space. It is as if each building is very much alike, but each retains its own character, defined by the culture or religion of the people that live there.

"These days, the living spaces ... become smaller and smaller; the boundaries of regions become blurred and indistinct, and people from different countries and nations live and mingle amongst each other. ... In this globalized world and its international cities, people have different skin colors, yet use the same language. Sometimes we even find ourselves not knowing where we are, whether in New York, Tokyo, Beijing or Paris; the old and historic are replaced by the streamlined and international. It seems as if the boundaries of nations are disappearing, day-by-day. In cities everywhere .. so many buildings of identical style and appearance are built and rebuilt on a daily basis. As our culture globalizes, people, as well as buildings, will join in this massive assimilation. These changes are just like the waves; as one falls, another rises, without every stopping.

"To make this book, I first made the sculpture of the waves with white clay, then sliced it in order to get the individual shapes of each wave; I then used the shapes of the cut clay to use as a template to cut the paper. The green color is the same color used in the Koran; it is the typical color in Islamic culture."

$3,200


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Honeycomb
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2012. Edition of 5.

19 x 13.25 x 2"; 2 pages. Altered volume of China National Geographic Atlas. Hand-cut. Materials: 35 mm slides, lights, and two batteries. Laid in clam shell box with tie closure.

Leilei Guo: "In my work, I am trying to find ways to examine globalization and subsequent blurring of cultures. With ever increasing population, peoples and cultures mingle and mix at an ever increasing pace. People are moving and living all over the world. People of different colors use the same language. People can get the latest news from anywhere in the world using the Internet. The differences between nations and cultures become less and less distinct day by day.

"The book used for this work is the China National Geographic Atlas. The holes on the book are hand-cut, like the nest of bees; the shape of all these holes is the shape of a map of the world. The honeycomb is used for bees to store honey, and my point in this artwork is that the world seems like a huge honeycomb, many people of different cultures, customs, languages, and thoughts combined in one structure.

"I used the ancient Chinese book binding, which is called ordinary binding (Jian Ce Zhuang), and I put 35 mm slides into these holes. The slides are photos of daily life in China as well as in other countries. With the book unfolded, the lights of different colors sparkling, the pictures represent flashes of human activity, a hive of growing similarities."
$3,900


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Sparkling
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2012. Edition of 5.

20.25 x 10.25 x 1.75" with cloth boards. Embossed Chinese characters on front board. Hand-cut rice paper. Opens to one spread, with an abstract image incorporating hand-cut rice paper on the left page. Behind the image are lights. Two pull switches, one switch for white lights and the other for multicolored lights. Includes two rechargeable batteries. Laid in wraparound open ended horizontal case covered in silver paper and black cloth. Tie closures.

Leilei Guo: "I got the inspiration for this book from seeing sunlight reflected on water. The reflected light is not all the same, some sparkles and some are a bit dark. For me it seems like the life of one person, a long life, in which some things are positive and brighter, some things are darker and depressing.

"I use three different colors of lights, most are white, with a few red and yellow lights. While the white lights reflect the common life, the red and yellow lights flashing intermittently represent the more positive times."

$3,600

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Valley
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2012. Edition of 5.

19.5 x 13 x 1.5", expands to 13"; 13 pages. Double-sided modified tunnel structure. Hand-cut. Silkscreen prints. Laid in four flap hard cover portfolio wrapper. Signed by the artist.

Leilei Guo: "This book is one of my continuing themes about the living environment in our modern life. Nowadays, the living spaces of human beings are becoming smaller and smaller, and the boundaries of regions are becoming blurred and even indistinct. People from different countries live and mingle together. We see Western people in Asia and Asian people in the West. People may have different color skin, but they use the same languages. Sometimes it is hard to know where we are, it could be New York, Tokyo, Beijing, or Paris. It seems as if the boundaries between nations are disappearing day by day. This growing similarity in architecture around the world is just one sign of a world becoming homogenous.

"In this book my idea is that in ancient times there are many mountains on the land, and as civilizations developed these have been replaced (sometimes literally) by many apartments. On the two sides of this book is an image of the mountains from the ancient Chinese paintings; the interior shows the modern apartments, one layer by another."

$2,600

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Leilei Guo Out of Print Titles:  
   

East West
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2010. Edition of 5.

20.75 x 13.25 x 1"; 24 pages. Silkscreen prints. Paste paper. Photographs. Flexible binding to allow circular display. Housed in wraparound horizontal case with open ends.

Leilei Guo: "In our life, misunderstanding makes collision; selfishness makes gaps; languages bring differences; cultures create distance. When East meets West, all that we need is to try to understand each other, look at the positives of each culture, and perhaps make self-reflection with a moderate temper. Even if the cultures seem different, if we just look at culture as a thing, we might prevent many unnecessary conflicts.

"For this work, I got the inspiration from a stroll along an antique market in Beijing, named Pan Jia Yuan, a large and very famous antique market and a major tourist attraction. Most visitors come with the dream of finding real antiques. There is a very big space for showing different kinds of sculptures: Kwan-yin, stone statues of Buddha carved from Han dynasty, sculptures of Venus, and many western sculptures, all being sold in the same place. When I walk through those different sculptures, I think that we look
at those statue as the embodiment of sanctity and gods, but in this space (and often in common life) they just examples of sculptural arts. This is part of the ambiguous boundaries between art and life.

"In this work, I first combined silkscreen prints (all of which used
handmade paste paper) and hand drawing. After each page of
prints-and-drawing is a page of photographs from the antique sculpture market. On the prints-and-drawing page I have handcut holes to reveal some part of the sculpture photographs on the next page. In this way you can see some part of the photographs through the prints and the combination of photos-real life and art makes the point that they are in a very real way the same thing. Interestingly, in Chinese, the pronunciation of East West is the same as the pronunciation of thing -Dong Xi."

(SOLD)


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Nest - SoHo
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2009. Edition of 3.

4.75 x 10.75 x 1.25"; 42 leaves. Silkscreen print cutouts. Metal screw post binding. Tie closure.

Leilei Guo: "Today the boundaries between people are becoming blurred and even indistinct. People from different countries are living in close proximity and becoming more and more like each other. We can see Westerners in Asia and people from the East in Western countries. Sometimes it's difficult to tell where we are: New York? Tokyo? Beijing? Paris? Globally culture is becoming more homogenized, and the boundaries that made us distinct are disappearing. This is reflected in the architecture, especially in our large cities. Even as the size of our buildings grows, our living spaces are becoming smaller and smaller. This is the perfect metaphor for what's happening: our world gets bigger but our individual differences are fading.

"Soho is a central business district in Beijing, a very busy area, of high white building, cold and commercial. While I am standing in front of these buildings, I can not recognize where I am, just do not believe I am in Beijing, a thousands years old city. It seems as if all the business buildings in the world are so similar."

Nest reflects these thoughts. When the pages are fanned out around the metal post, the box-like structures form a flattened cyclone of conformity. Above the eddy of simulated action is a blue sky of uniformity created by the reverse side of the building screenprints.
(SOLD)

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Scripture, without Any Words, but Verily
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2009. One-of-a-Kind.

7 x 13 x 5.75" closed; 19 leaves. Materials: Plexiglas and white nylon threads sewn with a chain stitch.

Leilei Guo: "The pages are made of transparent Plexiglas. The white nylon threads run through the hole in the pages in an interwoven way. When it is open, the book presents a visual effect – books within a book, without words. [It is meant to suggest] the magic essence of Chinese Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism of being or not being."
(SOLD)


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Windows
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2009. One-of-a-kind.

5.5 x 7.5 x 10.5" closed; 7.5 x 103" extended; 19 folds. Concertina binding. Bamboo wrap carrier wrapper with ribbon ties.

Leilei Guo: "In this book, I got the inspiration from the traditional Chinese park windows. The Summer Palace is a park [that] was an imperial garden thousands of years ago. It is famous for its wall windows, which decorate the white walls in many different shapes. Inside the windows are transparent pictures portraying traditional Chinese culture. People could see simultaneously these pictures as well as the scene behind the wall, a view that combined Chinese culture and imperial garden art.

"I have wrapped my book in wood hangings, like an ancient curtain covering the windows. Inside, I have cut books in the shapes of these Summer Palace windows. Inside the windows I put my overexposed photos of Beijing’s streets at night. My point is that Beijing has a very long history but has changed over time. Today when people look through the windows they not only see the beautiful scene, but also see how the modern world has affected this old city. My book represents my feelings for the city where I was born, grew up, and live – a place of ancient stories but with a very modern heart."
(SOLD)

 


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Fairyland
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2008. Edition of 3.

17 x 12 x 2.75" closed, 12 x 10 x 39.3" extended; 20 pages. Double-sided tunnel book. Silkscreen prints.

Leilei Guo: "My idea of this work comes from my grandfather's home, which is a very old style building in Beijing. There is a huge space in the center of the building, all the apartments are around this space, so when you are on the first floor (ground) you could see the sky through this space, and if you are on the top of the building, you look down and can see what happens on the ground.

“In the last century, here are lots of these kinds of buildings in Beijing. Nowadays, many apartment buildings will not have this space, because they want more people living in one building which will be good for their business.

“Every time I look into this space, always thinking people living in many different rooms, some even their whole life, like living in many tiny boxes in this world. People buying an apartment like buying a small space in the air. It seems like people living in space beyond the ground and heaven. Is that tiny box our own home in the heart."
(SOLD)


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Kun Peng
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2010. One-of-a-Kind.

22 x 8"; 8 pages. Color laser prints of original photographs by Guo. Wing shaped boards and pages. Boards covered in feathers.

Leilei Guo: "In this work, I got the idea from a book called A Happy Excursion by Zhuang Zi (in English he is called Master Chuang/Chuang Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher): 'In the northern ocean there is a fish, called the Kun, no one knows how many thousand miles is it in size. This Kun changes into a bird, called the Peng. Its back is nobody knows how many thousand miles in breadth. When angry, it flies and its wings obscure the sky like clouds. When this bird prepares to start to the Southern Ocean, the Celestial Lake, we read in the Records of Marvels that the water is smitten for a space of three thousand miles around, while the bird itself mounts upon a great wind to a height of ninety thousand miles for a flight of six months' duration. The Peng bird saw the moving white mists of spring, the dust-clouds, and the living things blowing their breaths among them. It wondered whether the blue of the sky was its real color, or only the result of distance without end, and saw that the things on earth appeared the same to it.'

"For this book I took photographs of the Forbidden City (the center of Beijing). The pictures show the winter sky as it customarily is, engulfed in a heavy haze. On the cover of the book, I pasted the black feathers, just like the Peng bird described in A Happy Excursion. My idea is that with the development of the economy and industry, pollution is increasing fast. It seems as if the long and frequently hazy weather is a response from nature to our over-exploitation on the earth. Like the Kun Peng, we have distanced ourselves from reality. The strange changeable weather, meaningless war and bloodletting, and general weird happenings have us thinking about our environment, wondering whether the sky is blue or if perhaps the chaos of haze is the new reality."

(SOLD)


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The Way
By Leilei Guo
Beijing, China: Leilei Guo, 2008. One-of-a-kind.

13.625 x 12.75"; 88 pages. Woodcut and silkscreen on rice paper. Concertina structure. Bound in cloth, front board in white, back board in black.

This book embodies the artist's vision of two strands of Chinese philosophy — Tao, or The Way, and Yin Yang. Bound in one white board and one black board, a clear allusion to Yin Yang synchronicity, this concertina reenacts the central rhythm of life. A red form printed from a woodcut (a similar form is used to practice Chinese calligraphy) repeats on each page. The Chinese character for Tao, printed in back by silkscreen, repeats in the center of the red form on each page, except that the character disintegrates as the book progresses. This is the natural order: we come from nothing, grow in complexity, and return to nothing. This cycle repeats continually at all levels of life. The simple elegance of this book suggests the consolation inherent in yielding to the process, the Way.
(SOLD)


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Page last update: 06.14.16

 

   
  
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