At 3:00 pm on November 20, 2014, “morph” recent works by Zhan Wang opened at Long March Space in 798 Art District, the new series of sculptural creations is esteemed to follow the same vein as the artist’s “Mao Suits” (1993-1994), “Artificial Rock” (1995-ongoing), and “Flowers in the Mirror” (2004-2005). In his new works, Zhan Wang focuses on concepts, forms and artistic methods, and re-examines his experiences of creation and paths of contemplation. Since 2004, the artist had spent years in accumulating and on a discourse until he accomplished the overall conception of these new works and finally realized them.
In the early 1990s, Zhan Wang found his starting point in the art history of China with a string of realistic works, he is always trying to explore his inward world from cultural, social and natural perspectives by artistic creation, and he constantly uses art to mirror the real thinking of his heart. The power of such “reality”, so to speak, runs through Zhan Wang’s artistic career of nearly three decades.
The exhibition features a total of 5 works of “morph” series in addition to an old piece, “Artificial Rock”, and this kind of combination concisely showcases the developing context of Zhan Wang’s creation to the audience. When Zhan Wang created the early “Mao Suits”, he was no longer baffled by concepts such as art, installation and sculpture; instead, he thoroughly liberated his train of thought. In 1995, he set about to create the “Artificial Rock” series, attempting to “mimic” nature, and then, based on this series he created “Flowers in the Mirror”. Since the photographic series Flowers in the Mirror, Zhan Wang has been constantly considering the relationship between the twisted and varied mirror images and his sculpting work, spending years trying to seek the seemingly tangible yet changing “shadow”, and managed to discover a variable path of sculptural creations between the realistic objects and mirror images.
Since he shot the photographic series Flowers in the Mirror in 2004, Zhan Wang has started to think about the creation of “morph” series, the artist photographed the illusions reflected from the stainless steel sculpture, selected the photos in accordance with his original purpose and input them into the computer for a structural analysis, discovering a path to convert the two-dimensional picture to a three-dimensional sculpture. In Zhan Wang’s opinion, the forming process of this batch of works is associated with “Tai Sui (Grand Duke Jupiter)”, which is a virtual concept, but this empty feeling does not mean that it doesn’t exist, and we have to face the unknown things.
Zhan Wang remarked that, “there is no reference that responds to social issues, neither is there any context for art history. I know I can’t preinstall a pattern of culture or form for myself and accommodate what I see with this pattern; that is tantamount to closing one’s eyes to discovery and concreting one’s idea of the mind. I must humbly hide myself behind the form and dance to the form, adjusting myself to the appearance of form rather than forcing the form to go along with my will. I should face the ‘God’ of all forms so I might not understand a formless me, and capture the form that appears with the aid of photographic equipment without thinking. Since it possibly does not exist in my experiential consciousness, I have to accept the idea ‘it is nothing for the time being’, but it does exist.”
The fruits of this contemplation are the new series of sculptures. The artist brings the other worldly reflection to life in a physical sculptural form with a sculptor’s imagination and instinct, filling it with volume, details and tact.
The exhibition continues to February 2, 2015.
Text and photo by Zhang Wenzhi/CAFA ART INFO
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO