Zhang Ruyi uses architectural space as her canvas or drawing table. Her work is physical and specific but also surreal and metaphoric at the same time. She transforms space by inverting, twisting, and replicating its forms, or the language of that space, and its understood or working relationship with reality into a new architecture that has lost its prior function. A gallery room becomes a three-dimensional sculpture, one that can still be entered but now as a work of art not as a workplace or a home. It is as disorienting as it is hopeful. “Decoration: Dump” is the third installation in Zhang’s “Decoration” series in 2017. Each project has a relationship with the others as they all have relationships with themselves through Zhang’s deconstruction and reconstruction of space and how it relates to people and reality; “Decoration: Location,” “The New Normal: Art and China in 2017,” UCCA, Beijing; “Decoration: Commodity,” MoCA Pavilion, Shanghai; and now, “Decoration: Dump,” Telescope, Beijing.

Zhang’s space in Telescope is clean and minimal but nothing fits into our day-to-day ordered lives. It is a silent repository of shapes and materials extracted from an urban site, a dump, an echo of a city’s sadness and waste without humanity. But a closer observation reveals the spirit of deep mystery: a silent beauty and balance that makes perfect sense even though she has turned our world upside down. It resonates with our souls, it calls to us as if from our past or from a dream. As we reenter our old world we see that everything familiar is still there, but in a new order, with new identities. Huge mirrors turn the gallery’s storefront windows into reflections of itself, inside and out, reflective but distorted metallic paper covers one wall, another wall seems to have slid off its foundation, angled and resting on the floor, but nothing has changed, another wall has taken its place behind. There is cactus, sleek, green, sensuous, living, and dangerous, wedged in between steel pillars. It holds the water of life but we cannot drink from it. It sits waiting for some future release or as a memory of what once was. In either case, it is a breath of life or hope for a new world.

About the artist

Zhang Ruyi, born in Shanghai in 1985, now works and lives in Shanghai. Zhang received MFA Degree in Synthesised Materials, Fine Art College of Shanghai University in 2012 and received BFA Degree in Printmaking, Fine Art College of Shanghai University in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include: “Decoration: Dump”, Telescope, Beijing(2017); “Building Opposite Building”, Don Gallery, Shanghai(2016); “Pause”,White Space, Beijing (2016); selected group exhibitions include: “Zhongguo 2185”, Sadie Coles HQ, London, UK(2017); “Stress Field: 4th Documentary Exhibition of Fine Arts”, Hubei Art Museum and Fine Arts Literature Art Centre,Wuhan(2017); “The New Normal: Art and China in 2017”, UCCA, Beijing(2017);“A Beautiful Disorder”, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Goodwood,West Sussex, UK(2016); “Mountain Sites: Views of Laoshan”, Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing(2016) etc.

This exhibition is supported by New Century Art Foundation.

Telescope is supported by Artrue International.

About the exhibition

Dates: Nov 18, 2017 – Jan 12, 2018

Venue: Telescope

Courtesy of the artist and Telescope.

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