London | Beijing
Chair BANK

Li Tao, solo  
Tabula Rasa Gallery | Beijing
24 May - 07 July, 2024
 Tabula Rasa Gallery is pleased to announce that Li Tao's two-space solo exhibition "Chair BANK" will open at Tabula Rasa Gallery's Beijing Space on May 24 and AYE Gallery on May 26. The exhibition invited independent curator and writer Leo Li Chen to write articles for the exhibition.

The word "bank", derived from the Italian word "banca", originally meant a chair or a table used for commercial transactions. Later, in English, it evolved into "bank," referring to a cabinet for storing money. Artist Li Tao's latest solo exhibition, "ChairBANK," draws on this linguistic transformation to explore questions of safety, equality, and standards of value. Additionally, it highlights his recent focus on the psychological responses and behaviors of individuals when subjected to external forces.

The exhibition unfolds with a cylindrical installation located in the central area, originally designed as a "chair" but transformed into an isolated object waiting to be activated. Six independent spaces and their artworks create a cyclical movement between progress and regression: a reception area with a hidden entrance leading to the VIP room, serving as the initial contact between the interior and exterior; exchanges between private life and public space through kitchenware and vents; time-limited, passively displayed cylindrical installation; how the public realm intervenes in the intimate daily life; sublime lighting trusses flash and extinguish under human control; and the VIP room, simultaneously inviting and scrutinizing, inverting the relationship of power.

The juxtaposition of familiarity and unfamiliarity, safety and the unknown, no longer presents stark contrasts but rather paradoxes, embodied in Li Tao's artistic exploration of space and material: The isolation between internal and external spaces conveys the illusion when an individual’s spiritual belonging is compressed. The interplay of observation and being observed, along with invitations and controls, creates a flattened, unattended theatricality. Li Tao exercises extreme restraint in the color palette of this series, using black, white, and gray to present the subtle dynamics of material structures, accentuating an individual will in a passive state. The exhibition thus questions the effectiveness of value. While capital and credit flow through chairs in banks, the exhibition provides another fair space for inquiry and exchange. It resembles a small museum, displaying items of acknowledged and scrutinized value. They are protected yet constantly being replaced. In this process, what is the value of protection and replacement?

Text by Leo Li Chen

About the Artist

Li Tao (b.1971, Henan, China) lives and works in Beijing. Li is adept at offering an artistic medium a new viewing mode and aesthetic value through reconstructing and recreating the forms of industrial materials and readymade. His recent solo exhibitions include Chair BANK, Tabula Rasa Gallery (solo, London, 2024); Chair BANK, AYE Gallery (solo, London, 2024); London Allotments, Tabula Rasa Gallery (solo, London, 2023); A Week, Tabula Rasa off-site project, Tian Ze Yuan (Singapore, 2023); ARTsg 2023, Tabula Rasa Gallery (dual solo, Singapore, 2023); Pengzhou Bubble, AYE Gallery (Beijing, 2020); Universe·Secondary, Tabula Rasa Gallery and KWM artcenter (Beijing, 2019). He has participated in group exhibitions at various venues, including Shenzhen OCAT Museum, Beijing Times Art Museum, Chengdu Biennale, Art Basel Hong Kong, ART021 Art Fair and West Bund Art Fair in Shanghai.

Tabula Rasa Gallery (London)
Unit One, 99 East Road,
Hoxton, London
N1 6AQ
Tuesday - Saturday 12:00 - 18:00 | Sunday - Monday Closed

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Tabula Rasa Gallery  (London)