Thursday, December 02, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Yang Zhenzhong

Nina Boys
Artist Spotlight: Yang Zhenzhong
Contemporary Art and New Media in China
Class Blog Response

Yang Zhenzhong is a colorful example of what is happening in the
contemporary Shanghai art scene. As an implementer of multi-media
such as video and photography he plays with the notions of social
norms and urban experiences and that he is obsessed with the
contradictions that play themselves out in everyday life in Shanghai
is apparent in his work. Born in Xiaoshan in 1968 he was trained in
the more traditional discipline of oil painting at the China Fine Arts
Academy in Hanzhou but began to work with new media in the less
oppressive mid-1990s. His work invites audience reactions through a
wide array of original concepts that can be humorous but also taboo
and disconcerting. The video that originally launched him onto the
scene was called a 30 minute film called "(I Know) I Will Die" that
featured an assortment of people looking into the camera and admitting
their mortality through these words, leaving the audience to reflect
philosophically on their own existence. On a completely different
note, his video project "922 Grains of Rice" features a cock and
chicken each pecking at grains of rice with a male and female
voiceover counting this out. This is making lighthearted commentary
about the competitive attitude prominent in contemporary culture,
especially between the sexes. In his project entitled "Light and
Easy" he tackles the issue of rapid development in Shanghai and the
seeming superficiality of it by photographing many of its urban
landmarks upside down. In one particularly memorable photograph we
see the needle atop the Oriental Pearl Tower resting, weightlessly on
his fingertip. By dealing with issues of contemporary life through
video and photography he is able to engage the audience in a visual
dialogue that in turns makes us ponder our relationship both with
ourselves and our surrounding environment.

1 comment: said...

we have art from zhang nian from the 1980's. We meet him in Beijin. trying to get in touch with him or someone interested in his work.