At the beginning of 2023, ESLITE GALLERY is hopping over to ART SG in Singapore to present a solo exhibition by US-based artist Benrei HUANG. Through a bunny named Nini, she brings people on a therapeutic journey in the post-pandemic era.

  • Exhibition Period:12 January - 15 January 2023
  • Address:Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre∣10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956
  • Booth:BI04

With borders re-opening, international art fairs are also making a comeback. The long-awaited ART SG, dedicated to becoming the top art fair in Southeast Asia, will be held from January 11-15, 2023 (with January 11 as preview day) at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre in the heart of Singapore. Featuring some 150 galleries from more than 30 countries, this grand event is expected to shape a unique cultural landscape in Asia as a premier platform for international contemporary art exchange.

Since her first Nini painting debuted in 2008, Benrei HUANG has not only used Nini as a protagonist in her creations, but also as her spokesperson—Nini’s crystal-clear eyes and sometimes amusing expressions are HUANG’s account of her thoughts and perception of life.

A total of 25 paintings, 4 sculptures and 8 print works created by HUANG in the past two years are slated to be on display at ART SG. Among them, a life-size 169-cm sculpture of Nini titled Rainy days variation will be greeting the visitors in the ESLITE GALLERY exhibition space.

HUANG’s recent works reflect on the various aspects of life under the global pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak at the end of 2019 took the world by storm—people have been worried about being infected and lives have been flipped upside down. Year 2022 sees the pandemic finally receding, as people also see a glimmer of light at the end of the long locked-down tunnel, yet this yearning is fraught with a sense of uncertainty.

During the pandemic, art creation was HUANG’s way of calming her mind. Her Nini continues to comfort people’s hearts. The Melancholy speaks of the depressed frustration of being sheltered and isolated due to COVID. Fans and A piece of life are about a little game she invented during her shelter-in-place time, mirroring her loneliness. Meanwhile, in fakation and Beach day babysitting, Nini’s sunglasses are respectively showing the reflection of tourist attractions and bunnies having fun, conveying the longing for traveling and enjoying the outdoors with other people. The sculpture Rainy days variation is derived from her painting Rainy days variation-collecting loose threads. In the painting, Nini is holding a round-bottom flask trying to catch rainwater; this nonsensical behavior is like an inexplicable act that tickles the funny bone.

Born in Taipei in 1959, Benrei HUANG graduated from the Department of Fine Arts at National Taiwan Normal University, then from the School of Visual Arts in New York with an MFA in Illustration. She had lived and worked as a children’s books illustrator in the United States for nearly 20 years before 2008, when she jumped into the contemporary art scene with her bunny Nini and was warmly welcomed by galleries and collectors alike. 2023 happens to be the Year of the Rabbit, and Nini will grace ART SG to show off its bunny flair on an international stage with its ever-changing poses and expressions that have innocence, poetry and humor all rolled into one.

Benrei HUANG draws inspiration from everyday life and uses Nini the rabbit as a vehicle for contemplation and reflection on her experiences. From Benrei HUANG’s paintings we can get a glimpse of the artist’s inner world, as most of them are inspired, directly and indirectly, by the people, things and events that take place in her immediate environment. Sometimes a painting comes from her mourning for the loss of a pet; sometimes it could be an afterthought when she encountered a street performer (singer) in the subway; and sometimes it may be to express her anxiety about environmental degradation. Benrei HUANG believes that all creatures on Earth are only a small part of the universe. Although the course of nature and life are beyond our control, optimism and a fighting spirit may be our only way to give meaning to our existence. As such, HUANG’s works often emanate a hint of sadness and helplessness yet at the same time filled with warmth and humor. Though personal, her works contain emotions that are universal to us, and thus they become a mirror of our own experiences, and from them we are able to see a bit of ourselves.

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