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Insight: Soft Disasters of Uchercie, phenomenology of futuristic exoticism in transmedia narratives

Text by Piotr Bockowski

Gently shattered vessels unfold into metallic petals of fleshy flowers. The uncertain calm of smooth surfaces obscures the rapid condensation of toxic charge. Ambivalence is trapped between the peeling off of elastic tissues and blurry skin corrosion. This spring’s collection of Uchercie’s paintings projects intense events of contaminated bloom, filtering halos of environmental catastrophes distilled into hazy embraces of delicate, poisonous fumes that merely mask the unavoidable cosmic violence of technological destruction. 

Uchercie deceives by offering flavours of thirst for annihilation, mystified in the forms of seductive vapours. Brooding urban anxiety copulates spectacularly with sentimental landscapes of abstract detachment. Indulgent self-obliteration desires are pictured in soothing forms to be consumed as extravagant phenomenology of futuristic exoticism.

Happening on the surface of ten canvases, painterly events of Uchercie are stretched against each other at her London Eastend studio, ready to be shipped over the ocean in anticipation of her solo show at Jack Barrett Gallery in Lower Manhattan, NYC. A Spectacle produced for North Atlantic reception from 17 May till 22 June, the paintings metaphorically warp the space between these nods of Western civilisation’s global infrastructures, melting them into instant nausea mapped across two-dimensional flat-line collisions.

The original avant-garde ambition of self-reflective image that exposes its identity as a surface by reducing and unifying all reality into questionable constructivist utopia returns here as a slightly dystopian confusion of unattainable figurations and shapes too uncanny not to entail vague existential longing. A mirage of worlds disappearing, faded meanings and forgotten lives unfocus through light sensations breaking just before they turn the retinas mute.

In her insistently verbalised intention, paintings of Uchercie don’t represent things but focus on the flow of time, mostly obscuring the subject and narrative. Evoking mystified ‘non-linearities’ of her worldview, she is inspired by Maoist philosopher Badiou, who proposed a concept of event that has the potential to disrupt the logical structure of capital, dismantle manipulation, and foster the liberation of the subject [1] by revealing discontinuities of indeterminate realities. Uchercie’s current series of paintings attempts to picture such events, at the same time becoming a vision of capitalist fluid desire – as the paintings enter the luxurious global art market and seduce with intoxicating ephemeras, coated in sleek surfaces or elegant fumes.

Uchercie comes from the ranks of the 21st-century global elite of young Chinese creatives, who inject the celebrated in their native culture radical discipline of form paired with meditative detachment into techno-cultural circuits of Western civilization. Uchercie seems to be one of the most prominent agents of Neochina in London, also as a curator via platforming collective efforts of her fellow femborgs and their ecologies.

Haunted by her origin from the industrial apocalypse of NeoChina, Uchercie skilfully plays with her femborgic grace. In her paintings, blades of Space era set design envelope intimate psychology of cosy escapism. Deregulated control panels of high-tech machines drive into absurdity. Oblique tunnels swallow their own reflections. The archetypical architecture of clockwork hypnosis layers elegant gradients of solipsism. Finally, persisting psychopathological fixation on intercourses of mysterious apparatuses embraces the inhuman hostility of the universe, imploding into an ultimately soothing glide towards entropy.

Into the Myst of Archetypes exhibition will be on display from May 17 to June 22 at Jack Barret NYC.

[1] Quote after an interview with Uchercie for a Beijing gallery Simulacra, translated into English from Mandarin

(Media courtesy of the artist)
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