Blindspot Gallery is pleased to present The Last Night, Chen Wei’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. Spanning large-scale photographs and multi-media light installations, The Last Night presents scenes encountered in a city. More intimate than landscapes and grander than still lives, the artist situates these settings between fiction and reality, artifacts and fragments. This is an experience that all city dwellers share as a collective, infused with dreamscape, glitches, afterimages, and memory traces. They form a New City that refuses to be abstracted, resolutely holding on to the object and the experience itself. Articulating a nostalgia that hesitates to find a place in the present, The Last Night bids farewell to a sentimental vision of the past and foresees the building of a new city.
The show title captures Chen Wei’s creative pivot from Noon Club to New City, his new body of work shown in the gallery. The Last Night takes its title from the song sung by Tsai Chin, performed at the end of the 1984 film adapted from the short story The Last Night of Taipan Chin (1971) by Taiwanese author Pai Hsien-yung. The story follows the retirement of Madame Chin, a veteran nightclub hostess who emblematizes the glamour and grace of old-Shanghai. The invocation of the “Old” prefaces the imagination of what is to come and lies at the core of Chen Wei’s New City project. In China, where cities develop at breath-taking speeds, there is often a sense of being rushed, of not having enough time to experience, or space to reflect on such drastic changes. There is no name for this complex feeling of emptiness and recognition, but perhaps melancholia comes close to capturing the mood of The Last Night.