The Last Alphabet / Pasta Belt Health

Jen Liu

Amsterdam, 16 May - 27 May '09

The Last Alphabet / Pasta Belt Health

"After great catastrophes, in some sense one always starts over from the alphabet". --Frantisek X. Salda, "On the Newest Czech Poetry", 1928


Thesis: Diminishing resources dictate an economy of means; what was once available is no longer. Best to forget all about it. I mean this in the most fundamental way.

Antithesis: Books everywhere, piles of rotting print, heaps of garbage images.

Synthesis: Reconfigure the elements, fundamental form may be discovered. From color, smears of brown, blue, green and red, go to black and white. Discover essence through subtraction, or conversely, pile it on. There is no need to meet by committee.

Exhibition: Upstream Gallery is pleased to present The Last Alphabet / Pasta Belt Health. In this exhibition, Jen Liu will present new paintings on paper, photographs, and ephemera that have been altered by various layers of imposed geometric structures, though leaving traces of references to art history and historical/cultural moments. Altered books figure significantly, whether they have been burnt, digitally altered, painted upon, or blown up in scale, then altered. There is a glimpse of the originating fiction from which Jen Liu generates the work, and yet it is left unelaborated, from which numerous possibilities emerge. However, what is clear is the process of negation, and the sense that nostalgia’s objects cannot resist the altering forces of the future. An endgame aesthetics seeks to erase narrative content, leaving only an energetic geometry. As in the title of the exhibition, based on an anagram, elements that were there are shuffled around, left to dangle out of context, rendered illegible.