In Between
Capsule Shanghai
Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 | Satellite Booth 1C32

2022.05.25- 2022..5.29

Cai Zebin
Gao Yuan
Liao Wen
Rieger Douglas

之 间
巴塞尔艺术展香港展会2022 |卫星展位 1C32

2022.05.25- 2022..5.29


Capsule Shanghai is pleased to present “In Between” at Art Basel Hong Kong, a group project featuring paintings, works on paper and sculptures by artists Cai Zebin, Gao Yuan, Liao Wen and Douglas Rieger. The show leads an inquiry into the existence of bodies, or absence of, in revealing traces of human gestures that form our morphing and shifting identities in the fluid relationship between internal and external being. It strings together in-between spaces of dreamlike auras and emerging figures wandering in an acute process of questioning the self and thus revealing self. There is empowerment in the vulnerable state of settling in one’s gaze and body; a sinking into and embracing of one’s fluctuating identity in an act of self-discovery.

Rooted in the lineage of surrealism, Cai Zebin’s paintings delves into art history’s time-honored subjects and motifs – from Henri Rousseau’s flute-playing snake charmer (The Snake Charmer, 1907) and distorted burning candles, to The Meeting at 2bis, rue Perrel (1946) by Victor Brauner – in illustrating Cai’s first-hand experience of being a painter. All artworks are self-referential by nature for they are the manifestation of the artist’s thinking, feeling and doing. On the other hand, the figures in the form of palettes and easels, a signature feature in Cai’s recent paintings over the past several years, are indications of the painter’s appearance in his own work. The paintings not only can be seen as self-portraits; they are dialogues between the contemporary painter and his great predecessors across time and space.

Gao Yuan draws inspirations and motifs from her personal experiences that begin in reality but manifest in transient dreams. The images continue to serve as backdrops for Gao Yuan’s ambitious project in-progress, a feature length film. The permanence of light glows from within the painted surface against the fleeting moment depicted within the picture frame. The works follow the eyes of a wanderer peering into the vast world, caught in an atmospheric gaze of lucid dreams against the backdrop of a tangible reality and decrepit couches.

Bodily suggestive carved wooden forms pressed into vinyl wrapped upholstery, the anthropomorphic ‘soft reliefs’ by Douglas Rieger juxtapose industrial and domestic materials such as upholstery foam, towels, show laces and rubber bands. The polished surfaces evoke bits of physical intimacy through the hands of a sculptor toying with form, dimension, and elegant figuration channeled into the abstract. Each work is a short visual poem about a personal feeling or relationship, imagined or real, in memory of a fleeting moment in everyday life – from a locker room scene or a cigarette break to promises from friends and strangers. Like writing can be for some poets, these works are termed ‘soft reliefs’ because – besides it being a forthright observation of the physical qualities of the works – they are a remedy of emotional pressure for their maker, and evoke an easement of tension from the viewers.

Liao Wen reanimates ancient tales to create alluring forms split between day and night beginning with an ancient Egyptian spice, cyphi, lit in dedication of the night, and soma, a yellow ritual drink found in the Indian text Rig Veda to welcome the sun’s rays. The familiar forms are imbued with expansive spaces where an eye reflects the moonlight and raindrops disintegrate in calmness within a universe. The subjects appear to float forever in a dream-like state and complicate the feverish experience of reality as mementos of the contemporary relevance of rituals.

Each of the artists illustrate the nuances of one’s identity and in-between spaces of self within internal and external worlds. Collectively, the work transverses the many lines that exist between them to posit self as an ever-shifting self-awareness to explore.




在道格拉斯·莱杰的“软浮雕”(英文原文为soft relief,其中relief一词有“浮雕”和“释放”两种涵义)中,暗示人体的木质结构嵌入透明塑胶包裹的柔软的家居装饰品衬垫,衬垫海绵、毛巾、鞋带和橡皮圈等工业与日常生活材料在此被出其不意地并置。莱杰作品中打磨光亮的表面唤起了些许亲密感,雕塑家之手把玩着形态、尺幅,将具象的形态巧妙优雅地抽象化。每件作品都是一首视觉的短诗,吟诵着艺术家或真实或臆想的丝丝缕缕的感受和羁绊,献给日复一日中某个转瞬即逝的片刻——更衣室的一幕,抽烟的几分钟,朋友和陌生人的诺言。就像写作对一些诗人来说是一种疗愈,这些作品之所以被称为“soft relief”,除了可作“柔软的浮雕”解之外,也因它们对其创作者和观者来说是都一种舒缓的压力释放。



Seeds of the night sky / 夜空的种子 | 67x35x11cm| 硅胶、椴木/ Silicone, limewood| 2022

The work Seeds of the Night Sky is inspired by cyphi, a compound incense that was used in ancient Egypt. The Greek philosopher and historian Plutarch, in his book Moralia, describes that “of the ingredients which compose cyphi, there are some which delight more in the night, that is, those which are wont to thrive in cold winds and shadows and dews and dampness… The air at night is a composite mixture made up of many lights and forces, even as though seeds from every star were showered down into one place… The cyphi, since it is compounded of ingredients of all sorts of qualities, they offer at nightfall.”One of the ingredients in cyphi was Acorus calamus, featured in the center of the sculpture. The word ‘acorus’ is derived form the Greek word ‘coreon’, meaning pupil.

The eye reflects moonlight; the seeds are fallen stars.



Oneness| 103x37x4cm| 硅胶、椴木/ Silicone, limewood| 2022

The work Oneness is inspired by the hymns of soma in the ancient Indian sacred book Rig Veda. Soma refers to both the ritual drink and the deity. The hymns hails soma as running waters, the infant, master of rivers and a king. It moves swiftly like a stallion and roars like thunder. Its amber juice brings light of sun; its exhilarating sweetness inspires joy.

Reading the hymns, the artist imagines the scene of raindrops hurtling across the water. Fevered rhythm grows within the calm interior. Soma is a waterdrop and a cosmos.