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Gordon Cheung, Jan Davidsz. De Heem II (Small New Order), detail, 2015, Digital inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm paper, Paper and image 74.6 x 49.6 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

LONDON.- Breaking Tulips, an exhibition of new work by Gordon Cheung, provides an historical reflection of contemporary culture through the exploration of the Dutch Golden Age, a period of extraordinary wealth and power in 16th- and 17th- century Holland. ‘Tulipmania' was the world's first recorded major financial crash, and is also the title of a series of twelve hand painted prints by Cheung. Tulipmania 1 - 12 are shown alongside a number of other works including prints based on Dutch 17th-century still lifes from the Rijksmuseum, together forming an exciting body of work which seeks to highlight that economic bubbles are not a modern-day phenomenon. 

‘Tulipmania' was a notorious episode in 17th-century Dutch history, in which the trading of tulip bulbs became so extreme that the price of one flower would sell for ten times the annual wage of a skilled worker.'Breaking Tulips' refers to the then unknown plant virus that caused tulips to blossom with desirable stripes, making them exceptionally rare and valuable to tulip speculators almost 400 years ago. Based on original watercolours of tulips from speculators catalogues, Cheung depicts a single tulip on a layer of collaged stock listings newsprint from the ‘Financial Times'; these columns of data provide evidence of the complex digital networks that connect countless physical locations around the world in our wealth-obsessed era. Cheung relates this event to contemporary thinking, commenting, "In the context of the Dutch Golden Age the Tulip Breaking virus is both a biological and mind virus where a distorted sense of economic value has taken hold in a herd mentality."  

Cheung continues his negotiation between the past and present via openly sourced images of Dutch 17th-century still life paintings from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Using images of works by artists such as, Jacob van Walscapelle, Rachel Ruysch, Jan Davidsz de Heem and Hans Bollongier, Cheung disrupts the depicted still life so that it appears to melt down before our eyes.

"By using still life paintings from the Rijksmuseum and ‘glitching' them with Kim Asendorf's open source algorithm, I splice together a hybrid that compresses the past and suggests the transient repetition of history. The visual effect of the ‘glitching'is to dissolve the paintings into virtual sand like effects. Nature seems caught in digital quick sands of pixels." 

Entitled New Order and Small New Order, these works are being shown alongside six hand-painted still life prints, named after the opening lines of Auguries of Innocence, a poem by 19th-century poet and artist William Blake (1757 - 1827), which uses apocalyptic imagery to warn society of the consequences of injustice and corruption.   

Cheung's art looks to the future, whilst remaining firmly rooted in the past; reminding us that recent dot.com and millennial frenzies and the boom and busts of housing markets are not modern occur-rences. However, today we have adapted to a matrix of technologies that have electronically merged to create a virtual landscape. Our technology-driven era has disrupted our notions and perceptions of time and distance so that we now exist in a state of constant flux.  

The exhibition is accompanied by a panel dicussion and a fully illustrated catalogue, with an introductory essay by art historian, writer and broadcaster Charlotte Mullins. 

The Alan Cristea Gallery is the exclusive worldwide representative for Gordon Cheung's original prints.
 

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Gordon Cheung, Tulipmania 7, 2012, A series of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting, Paper 61.5 x 50.9cm / Image 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, Hold Infinity, From Auguries of Innocence, 2013, A series of six archival inkjets on UV varnished newspaper collage, each with hand-painting in acrylic, sand and acrylic spray mounted onto 300gsm Snowdon Cartridge paper, Paper and image 82.0 x 57.4 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Jan van Huysum I

Gordon Cheung, 'Jan van Huysum I (Small New Order),' 2014, Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 58.4 cmEdition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Jan van Huysum II

Gordon Cheung, 'Jan van Huysum II (Small New Order),' 2014, Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 58.4 cmEdition of 20,. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, 'Tulipmania 12', 2012, A series of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting, Paper 61.5 x 50.9cm / Image 50.8 x 40.6 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, In a Grain of Sand, From Auguries of Innocence, 2013, A series of six archival inkjets on UV varnished newspaper collage, each with hand-painting in acrylic, sand and acrylic spray mounted onto 300gsm , Snowdon Cartridge paper, Paper and image 82.0 x 57.4 cmEdition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Jacob van Walscapelle I

Gordon Cheung, 'Jacob van Walscapelle I (Small New Order),' 2014Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 57.3 cmEdition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Jacob van Walscapelle II

Gordon Cheung, 'Jacob van Walscapelle II (Small New Order),' 2014, Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 57.3 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

 

Tulipmania 9

Gordon Cheung, 'Tulipmania 9,' 2012, From a set of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting on 335gsm Somerset Enhanced Satin paper, 61.5 × 50.9 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Eternity in an Hour

Gordon Cheung, 'Eternity in an Hour,' 2013, Archival inkjet on UV varnished newspaper collage, with hand-painting in acrylic, sand and acrylic spray mounted onto 300gsm Snowdon Cartridge paper, 82 × 57.4 cm. Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, Jan van Huysum I (Small New Order), 2014. Archival inkjet on coated, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm, 153 × 117 × 5 cm, Edition of 4, Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, Jan van Huysum II (Small New Order), 2014. Archival inkjet on coated, Paper 74.6 × 58.4 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Tulipmania 6

Gordon Cheung, 'Tulipmania 6,' 2012, From a set of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting on 335gsm Somerset Enhanced Satin paper, 61.5 × 50.9 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

A Heaven in a Wild Flower

Gordon Cheung, 'A Heaven in a Wild Flower,' 2013, Archival inkjet on UV varnished newspaper collage, with hand-painting in acrylic, sand and acrylic spray mounted onto 300gsm Snowdon Cartridge paper, 208.3 × 145.8 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

E J Eelkema I

Gordon Cheung, 'E J Eelkema I (Small New Order),' 2014, Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 53.5 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

E J Eelkema II

Gordon Cheung, 'E J Eelkema II (Small New Order),' 2014, Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 53.5 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Tulipmania 10

Gordon Cheung, 'Tulipmania 10,' 2012, From a set of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting on 335gsm Somerset Enhanced Satin paper, 61.5 × 50.9 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Hold Infinity

Gordon Cheung, 'Hold Infinity,' 2013, Archival inkjet on UV varnished newspaper collage, with hand-painting in acrylic, sand and acrylic spray mounted onto 300gsm Snowdon Cartridge paper, 82 × 57.4 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, Rachel Ruysch I (Small New Order), 2015, Digital inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm paper, Paper and image 74.6 x 58.4 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, Rachel Ruysch II (Small New Order), 2014, Digital inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm paper, Paper and image 74.6 x 58.4 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Tulipmania 11

 

Gordon Cheung, 'Tulipmania 11,' 2012, From a set of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting on 335gsm Somerset Enhanced Satin paper, 61.5 × 50.9 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

In the Palm of Your Hand

Gordon Cheung, 'In the Palm of Your Hand,' 2013, Archival inkjet on UV varnished newspaper collage, with hand-painting in acrylic, sand and acrylic spray mounted onto 300gsm Snowdon Cartridge paper, 82 × 57.4 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

 

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Gordon Cheung, 'Jan Davidsz. De Heem I (Small New Order),' 2015, Digital inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm paper, Paper and image 74.6 x 49.6 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

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Gordon Cheung, 'Jan Davidsz. De Heem II (Small New Order),' 2015, Digital inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm paper, Paper and image 74.6 x 49.6 cm, Edition of 20. Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Tulipmania 3

Gordon Cheung, 'Tulipmania 3,' 2012, From a set of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting on 335gsm Somerset Enhanced Satin paper, 61.5 × 50.9 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Tulipmania 5

Gordon Cheung, 'Tulipmania 5,' 2012, From a set of 12 archival inkjet prints with hand painting on 335gsm Somerset Enhanced Satin paper, 61.5 × 50.9 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Hans Bollongier I

Gordon Cheung, 'Hans Bollongier I (Small New Order),' 2014, Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 49.6 cm, Edition of 20. Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.

Hans Bollongier II

Gordon Cheung, 'Hans Bollongier II (Small New Order),' 2014, Archival inkjet on coated Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 gsm paper, 74.6 × 49.6 cm, Edition of 20Courtesy Gordon Cheung and Alan Cristea Gallery, London.