The exhibition at the OCAT Shanghai re-evaluates the Modernist legacy of linearity, revisits a number of important subjects and motifs in Zhang Ding’s 15 years of practise, and further develops the core elements of movements, motions, and emotional or atmospheric sculptures.
Presented in the exhibition is a highway-speedy spectacle in various playful forms, made available in everyday context as one drives: a complete race track occupies the whole of the museum space; hovering, racing, speeding, is a number of modified electronic wheelchairs. Movement of walking is here replaced by that of riding or driving that operates in a prosthetic fashion; the sped relationship between the viewer and the spatial distances therefore largely blurs the act of seeing. Clear-headed, critical scrutinisation is here replaced with a hurried, careless glance. On the other hand, somewhat paradoxically, substituting substantially technological and speedy race cars with slow wheelchairs that are remotely controlled, the exhibition addresses the torn bodily-spiritual-mechanical experience brought by a chaos of different speeds in the contemporary society.
Driving is one of the most common experiences today. In either an optimistic, accelerationist reality of large-scale infrastructural constructions and superstructural developments, or a pessimistic version of the doomed future of the Anthropocene, where the conquering global Petro-Capitalism constantly threatens the public to defend themselves with archaic, alternative means and mentalities, the act of driving and speeding in various forms plays a central role of import. Pertinent is the recent development of the archaeology of modern technologies, and its study of the history of vehicles from cars to spacecrafts; also urgent and relevant, is the re-emergence of non-human intelligence and emotions – from cars to horses and rhinoceros alike. By focusing on and dealing with the reality of motions and speeds, High-Speed Forms transforms driving experiences into dark races, blinding large billboards, road sign skeletons, and proposes a reality of alternative speeds.
Zhang Ding, born in 1980 in Gansu Province, based in Shanghai, is one of the most active and influential Chinese artists in the international art scene. His large-scale installations are often total in nature; the integrated and meticulously structured relationships between given motifs and formal elements bring various components together into an architectural totality. From a New Brutalist gesture that locks down a museum space, turning it into a prison; a conceptual and physical staircase between different project spaces in downtown Beijing; a series of gigs over a period of fortnight at the ICA London, inviting bands and musicians to improvise one next to another, compressing and distorting sounds, images and spaces, Zhang Ding presents and deals with live processes and experiences.
About the exhibition
Dates: Oct 19, 2019 – Mar 8, 2020
Opening: Oct 19, 15:00
Venue: OCAT Shanghai
Courtesy of the artist and OCAT Shanghai.