Marcella Barceló|Nothing Gold Can Stay: Beijing

2 March - 6 April 2024

As suggested by the artist, the title of the exhibition is drawn from the short poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” written by Robert Frost in 1923. Embracing the gift of disillusionment, Marcella appropriates Frost’s depictions of rural life to ruminate the transience of youth, beauty, and ultimately life itself as a reverence for the oneness of her immediate surroundings. She further explores the ideation of a right relationship with nature where intergrowth is thought as a frame of her post-humanist mind.


Made over prolonged periods of sustained memory and observation, Marcella focuses on scenic elements ranging from (self-)portraiture of young girls, untamed animals, wild settings like giant volcanic peaks and ancient forests, and the outdoors that she enjoys, underwater diving, for instance. Returning to the same subject quite frequently, she composes her dream(-home-)land deliberately, which reflects a precise study of her personal history and nature as a genre of representation.


Particularly worth mentioning in this vein is the imagery of twinship especially sisterhood throughout Marcella’s practice. Identical figures or silhouettes of body shape as a sign of duality or even plurality contextualize the artist’s self-positioning to the symbiotic bond between man and nature, facilitating the gradual course of differentiation, separation, and integration, but not necessarily limited to a sort of linear evolution. She locates a non-anthropocentric place in her paintings, which has value independent of its benefit to people.


In this way, Marcella’s conception of nature is not only emotionally charged but also rooted in the Romancist tradition. She tends to metaphorize nature as mother, the all-powerful other who fosters her perception of the world, meanwhile having it poeticized and spiritualized as an aesthetic paradigm of harmony. There is a sense about her body of work in which the self-entity of nature has not yet arisen but has been arising, and the artist is a certain medium of caring. It is at once fantasy, reality, and utopia of a sustainable planet.


About the Artist


Born in Majorca in 1992, Marcella Barceló lives and works in Paris.Her work has been presented in numerous exhibitions both in France and internationally. She participated in the Biennale de Dessin Contemporain de Paris in 2014 and was Awarded the Prix du Dessin Contemporain of the Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2015. Her work can be found in the collections of the Foundation Louis Vuitton (France), Xiao Museum (China), Museum of Contemporary Art of Ibiza (Spain), Cabinet de Dessin des Beaux- Arts de Paris (France), Foundation Guerlain (France), Fonds de Dotation Emerige (France) among others.


About the Curator


Evonne Jiawei Yuan is a writer and curator working between Beijing and Shanghai. She graduated from Fudan University with B.A. in Museology, The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London with M.A. in History of Art, and the Architectural Association School of Architecture with M.A. in History & Critical Thinking. Recent curations: “By Virtue of Situated Compromise” (ASE Foundation, Shanghai, 2023), “A Tie to All the Earth” (Perrotin in collaboration with teagan:, Beijing, 2023),  “Steadfastly Revise For the Standards in Nonproductive Construction (Part I: Solid Molds; Part II: Liquid Circulates)” (Long March Independent Space, Beijing, 2022–23), “Entangled, Ensnared, Entwined – Carol Bove, Hu Xiaoyuan, Alicja Kwade” (Longlati Foundation, Shanghai, 2023), etc. Co-curations: “Friends in the Arts: Exhibition of Chinese Collectors’ New Contemporaries” (TANK, Shanghai, 2023), “New Moroism – Michael Ho, Chris Huen Sin-Kan, Timothy Lai, Su Yu-Xin” (White Cube, Hong Kong, 2023), etc. Current research interests include the architectural media in-and-of contemporary art, (post)modern spatial concepts, border aesthetics and its geopolitics. She was Guest Curator of Longlati Foundation and Head of its Writers’ Acquisition Committee from 2021 to 2023, leading the launching of solo exhibitions “Ma Qiusha: The Mirror(-scape) of Your Skin” (2022), “Laure Prouvost: Theatergarden and A Be(a)stiary of the Anthropocene” (2022), etc. She also founds totalab, an independent curatorial office and art space in Shanghai, where she curated “Going Viral: Zombies, Pluribiosis, and Love of the Living Dead” with works from the Soil Collection (2022).