FOREPLAY--Yang Zhenzhong Solo-Exhibition
Nov. 5th 2006– Nov.29th 2006
Opening Reception: Nov. 4th, 5.00-7.00 pm
ShanghART Gallery & H-Space is proud to present a solo-exhibition with
works by Yang Zhenzhong (b. 1968).
Using innovative techniques Yang Zhenzhong expands the credo that
‘underneath each picture there is always another picture’ into
‘underneath each picture there is always a specific medium’. The
exhibition FOREPLAY focuses on these mediating devices that constitute
the imagery of Yang Zhenzhongs exceptional work, whether it is video,
photography or installation art.
Yang Zhenzhong involves his audience in explorations intended to
generate visual effects and stimulate feelings and thoughts to bring
about unforeseen experiences and multiple points of view. FOREPLAY
provides an ample chance to view a practice that resists any specific
style, medium or material.
The desire to challenge normative notions and fixed formats of social
behavior informs the practices of Yang Zhenzhong’s work. He is
pre-occupied with a tendency to invert the order of things and often
touches upon taboos such as death and out-dated social norms.
His approach is metaphorical rather than narrative: His videos often
start from witty ideas, employing pictorial repetition and rhythmic
coordination of sound, language and image. Yang Zhenzhong became famous
in 2000 with his half-hour video “(I Know) I Will Die” that features
short sequences in which a series of people speak the phrase "I will
die" to the camera. It is a disconcerting, soberly presented film that
confronts the viewer with existential questions. Yang Zhenzhong
recognizes that individual participation is the starting point for the
transformation of perception. Another landmark video includes “Let’s
Puff” which premiered at the fourth Shanghai Biennale (2002) and the
50th Venice Biennale (2003). The video starts from the interplay of two
images: a young woman puffing and exhaling in a busy street. Every time
the woman breathes, the image of the street moves away from the viewer.
The rhythm of the traffic and the angle of perception are altered with
the rhythm of the woman’s breath. Consequently, the image is not fixed,
but remains in a state of change. Yang Zhenzhong’s playful videos are
more than visual reflections; they are intelligent comments on the
design of contemporary society
With a sincere attitude, but in a playful manner, the artist explores
the contemporary preoccupation with questions of identity and
perception, and the ability of images to turn apathy into anticipation,
and ordinariness into desirability. He uses part fiction and part
reality that tangles both the euphoric enthusiasm and deep anxiety of
day-to-day experience. His work has lately been described as “an
extraordinary distillation of an artistic practice that couldn’t be
more preoccupied with the nature of what is real”.
Born in Xiaoshan in 1968, Yang Zhenzhong now lives and works in
Shanghai. He graduated from the oil painting department of the
ChinaFineArtsAcademy in Hangzhou in 1993 and began working with video
and photography in 1995. Yang Zhenzhong’s work has showed at major
international exhibitions, biennales and triennials. Recent exhibitions
include China Contemporary – Art, Architecture and Visual Culture,
Museum Boiman van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2006), Yang
Zhenzhong Solo-Exhibition, IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2006), and
China Power Station – Part I, Battersea Power Station – The Serpentine
Gallery, London, UK (2006).