Planned by the renowned curator Li Xianting, “Self-deportation”, a large scale solo exhibition by Yu Zhenli was inaugurated at Today Art Museum at 15: 00 on September 29, 2013. Liu Xiaochun serves as the academic director of the exhibition, combing through the four decades of the creating experience of Yu Zhenli. It not only reviews the artistic exploration of his life, but also discusses the unique connotation condensed by his art creation, as a microcosm of the era.
Yu Zhenli was born in 1949, and all of his artistic experiences offer a sample for Chinese art circles as his is a special case and typical form. He was renowned all across the nation due to his “revolutionary propaganda painting” created when he was 18 years old, the style of “high, big, and full” “red, health and bright” in his paintings affected the style of posters all across China, which was undoubtedly building an aesthetic style at that time. With the end of the Cultural Revolution, he created “Peng Dehuai Has a Poetic Visit to his Hometown”, which once again became the harbinger of sacred art and folk art. On the one hand, it was related to the era, on the other hand his insight into art promoted the change. In the mid-1980s, Yu’s series of surrealistic paintings were in line with the popular style of the vigorous ‘85 New Wave. It seemed that every change was a writing from the artist as located in between the changes of situations in different eras, producing a related emotion, experience, as well as the displacement of consciousness and creation.
In the late 1990s, Yu Zhenli began the creation of the mixed media series, which he was obsessed with during the last two decades. Suddenly his creations no longer fitted the era, beginning to resist the city, to resist the flashy brought by fame and wealth, the art became a way for him to support and understand the world. Since 1994, Yu Zhenli chose resolutely to start a life of solitude and art creation in the mountains of Daheishan, Dalian, rarely communicating with the outside world, it seemed that his creation has no business with the ups-and-downs of contemporary art over the last 18 years in China. It seemed that he would stick to his ideal, but actually it was a completely opposite way of contemplation for finishing his new self-creation. During this period, with the use of the stones around the mountains of Daheishan, construction waste of the urban demolition, as well as people’s daily garbage – objects viable to pick up freely, such as car tires, bottles, TV screens and so on, Yu had made a number of massive installations and sculptures. He built a studio, whose walls were made of a variety of waste materials, while the surfaces were studded with various symbols, carrying a personal attitude and feeling of the artist – with the use of the waste of the city and modern life, intentionally or unintentionally ridiculed a crazy urbanization status quo. Yu has tasted solitude and spiritual purification in such primitive circumstances of life. He utilizes the waste of consumerism in his aesthetic creations. Such endeavors are a struggle between the self and the masses, as well as a fusion of deportation and pursuit.
The entire exhibition uses flashbacks, presenting the scenes of the artist’s life from 1994 to 2012 at the main exhibition hall on the 2nd floor, his notes of the last 18 years are on display at the wing of the main hall. It is entitled “Touch” on the 3rd floor, featuring a part of the abstract artworks of mixed media from 1989. The 4th floor is entitled “Change”, where displaying a part of the propaganda prints of the 1970s, as well as a part of the artworks created in the period in the changing style of the late 1970s and the mid-1980s. In the process of recall, people not only view the arrangements of the artworks, but also the insight of the efforts and struggles made by the artist in the changes during the eras. “Self-deportation” restores the path of his lifetime’s creation, gradually retreating into solitude, and this is a glaring beam of light of art of our times.
About the exhibition
Title: Self-deportation: Yu Zhenli Solo Exhibition
Venue: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, floor exhibition halls of building 1, Today Art Museum
Duration: September 30 – October 14, 2013
Organizer: Today Art Museum
Co-organizer: Dalian Chengjian Culture Art Co., Ltd.
Curator: Li Xianting
Academic Director: Liu Xiaochun
Opening: 15: 00 pm, September 29
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00 am – 18:00 pm, closed during the Spring Festival
Address: Pingod Community, No.32 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 8610 -58760600-100
Courtesy of the artist and Today Art Museum, for further information please visit www.todayartmuseum.com.
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO