SPECIAL ARTIST PROJECTS:
Infinite Game
Chen Zhou & Mao Hanan

SHANGHAI, CHINA
2021

Commissioned by the M Art Foundation, Infinite Game by Mao Haonan and Chen Zhou delves into the conceptual realm of infinite possibilities, inspired by James P. Carse’s 1986 book “Finite and Infinite Game.”

When the game becomes infinite, there is no ending, no winning or losing. Where is the boundary? Why play the game? If a pause is introduced, it comes with stillness, marking the end of gaming. Will the game be forgotten? In this blurry situation of the game, will it be expanded, discovered, explored, or pondered?

Mao Haonan’s work unveils a sequence of computer-generated scenes, blending surreal and natural elements that occasionally blur perceptions of scale. The virtual camera explores robotic machinery against futuristic backdrops, interrupted by dazzling aerial views of a flowering prairie, all devoid of human presence.

Maintaining a cinematic approach, Chen Zhou explored infinite possibilities in crafting a live-action tableau vivant with an ensemble cast. In his work, dynamic characters sprawl across blue stairways, featuring a skeletal ghost, hikers, an office lady, Sisyphus, engineers, witches, and various figures from wuxia genres.

This contrast in the artists’ approaches highlights the potency of the game world as a reincarnation of “total art,” with the potential to capture attention in unique ways.

Chen Zhou (b. 1987, China) is a Shanghai-based multidisciplinary artist exploring cinematic language, painting, and writing, rejecting labels to find freedom in the uncharted territories before definition. His works, ranging from contemplations on death in modern life to humorous deconstructions of existence, orbit themes of imprisonment and liberation, systematically dismantling restrictive structures to unveil the absurdity of labels and the uncertainties of our contemporary world. Notably, his debut feature, “Life Imitation” (2017), received accolades at festivals, including the New: Vision Award at the CPH: DOX Film Festival and the Asian Perspective Award at DMZ Film Festival. Recognized in ArtReview Future Greats 2018, Chen Zhou’s solo exhibitions include “The mirror will soon disappear in the world, Chapter I: The illusion in the mirror makes me hardly see the mirror” at Cc Foundation, Shanghai (2020), “Stayed, 7” at Hunsand Space, Beijing (2019), and “Kaufman” at Aike-Dellarco, Shanghai (2014), among others. His work has been featured in group exhibitions like “How Do We Begin?” at X-Museum, Beijing (2020), “Age of You” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto (2019), and “Emerald City” at chi K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space, Hong Kong, China (2018). Chen Zhou’s artistic narrative thrives on the continuous exploration of boundaries, offering viewers an immersive experience into the complexities of the human condition and the ever-shifting landscape of contemporary existence.

Mao Haonan (b. 1990, Nantong, China) resides and works in Shanghai. He completed his BFA at Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 2013 and earned his DNSEP (MFA) from School Fine Arts De Nantes Saint-Nazaire. Mao Haonan employs a variety of techniques, including 3D videos, computer rendering simulators, space installations, paintings, photos, and graphs, to explore themes such as fictions, perceptions, and memories. His recent exhibitions and screenings include “Displaced Belongings” at Phoenix Cinema and Arts Centre, Royal College of Art, BACKLIT in Leicester, London, and Nottingham (ongoing); “IFFR 2020” in Rotterdam (2020); “Ji.hlava IDFF 2019” in Ji.hlava (2019); “Chinese Contemporary Art Yearbook Exhibition 2018” at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing (2019); “Extreme Mix-Airport Biennale” in Guangzhou (2019); “Hic Sunt Leones” at 798 Art Zone in Beijing (2019); “Chinese Import Direct” at The Cloud in Auckland (2019); “Light! Heat! Power!” at Fy Foundation in Shanghai (2018); “Continuous Terminus” at ShanghART M50 in Shanghai (2018); “Trente-Deux” and “Tous les Endroit, Tous Les Envers” at the Gallery of ENBANM in Nantes (2018); “Open Window” at le Vérone in Paris (2017); “30e Grand Prix de Peinture” at the Centre d’animation de la Froge in Renne (2016); and “Evanescence” at Archiculture in Nantes (2016).