Jen Liu: Initial Public Offering OOOO (IPOOOOOO)

24 August – 22 September 2012

It is with great pleasure that we present the first solo exhibition in Denmark of American artist Jen Liu.

Jen Liu works in a narrative artistic praxis of various mediums operating in a fictional universe motivated by contemporary social issues. Her fictions consolidate a variety of disparate ideas, images and moments in history, generated through elaborating the possibilities within each story over a course of several years.

Liu’s Initial Public Offering OOOO (IPOOOOO), composed of black ink drawings, video, sculpture and performance created specifically for this exhibition, presents a fictional-futuristic agrarian-urban society. It is a new society split off from our own, initiated by the desire to overcome the cultural polarization that paralyzes our own. Through the study of Pierre Leroux’s ”Circulus”, in which equality and human manure were the two key elements of utopia, a new system of value is created. In the future, when all other forms of value have proved to be arbitrary and divisive, shit is the only thing left of provable productive force, uniting all.

Initial Public Offering is the moment at which a company goes public, split into numerous shareholders. By this Liu proposes a transitional moment of the new society, in which an initial utopian consensus model was successful, so much that consensus alone is no longer sufficient to organize the rapidly growing society. Intimations of political force and monetization start to emerge, as they struggle to maintain productivity and order.

Thus Liu presents her series Master O-Note, that draws from Ootje Oxenaar’s currency designs to create a ”zero-value” note, which citizens convert their shit for, and thereby set the stage for the re-enactment of capitalism. Several other large scale ink drawings in the exhibition imagine the thinking, priorities and aesthetics of this society. They are as visually transitional as the society itself – a multitude of sources and styles work with and against each other, unified only by material.

Two videos explore the possibilities and drawbacks of this world. In Bottoms (OnO), a series of butts with faces painted on them march in place. A tribute to Yoko Ono’s Bottoms, it imagines a society in which equals walk towards a future of their own making. BBBitches! is constructed of stop-motion, 3D animation, and found footage set to a soundtrack of ”estranged” audio, as a transmission from a world that has evolved beyond our understanding.

Jen Liu (b. 1976) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and has exhibited extensively, with past exhibitions at Kunsthalle Wien, Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, Royal Academy, London and De Hallen Museum, Haarlem.