26 Zhan Wang, Metamorph, detail

“Nothing for the Time Being” is an unfathomable proposition, about time, conditions, processes, results… Everything is unknown, but the artist gives himself his own answer, he is intent to use art to “delay puberty”, and try to return to the sense of shape after the concept, to start all over again.

On October 25, 2015, sponsored by OCAT and Shanghai Pujiang OCT, the 9th “Shanghai Pujiang OCT Ten Year Public Art Project” and “Nothing for the Time Being”–Zhan Wang’s Solo Exhibition was unveiled in the Sino-Italian Center, Shanghai Pujiang OCT. At the press conference before the opening ceremony, Zhan Wang, Li Xiaoyong, Sui Jianguo, Liu Xiuyi introduced the relevant situation of the event and the exhibited works to the media that were present at the scene.

Shanghai Pujiang OCT Ten Year Public Art Project is a long-term public art project for the urban design by the cooperation of OCAT and Shanghai Pujiang OCT, the basic idea is the combination of an urban cultural location, spatial layout and the humanities environment, synchronously creating the highest level of public art landscape in China, together with the emerging city. After years of accumulation, the cultural history that is closely related to urban planning and architecture is formed, which makes Pujiang OCT the “Museum without a Wall” and focuses on the show of Chinese and foreign contemporary classical art works. The project started in 2007 and will last for 10 years, holding large scale solo exhibitions for outstanding Chinese and foreign artists in Shanghai Pujiang OCT every year, and through the exhibition it collects one or two excellent spatial sculptures that are permanently placed in urban public environments.

Shanghai Pujiang OCT Ten Year Public Art Project is composed of a large scale solo exhibition and 17.5 Degrees of Deviation. The artist chosen for this year’s solo exhibition segment is Zhan Wang, who presents two entirely new art series for the public art project, Metamorphosis and Terrain; it also installs the 9th marker in the 17.5°Deviation installation by Sui Jianguo, to be held simultaneously with the opening of Zhan Wang’s Nothing for the Time Being, located in the single-family villas of “OCT•No.10”.

Zhan Wang is a representative figure in the experimental sculptural field of Chinese contemporary art and his artistic characteristic is the use of the simplest material form to build a challenge, like an experimental game constantly searching for the balance. Zhan Wang said “nothing for the time being” when he described his creation, presenting a nondeterministic thought attitude. Zhan Wang presents two new sets of work Metamorphosis and Terrain, which is a new experiment of “configuration”. Terrain uses the same industrial materials as Artificial Rocks, but has removed the carrier of the “Taihu stone,” instead deriving its contours from a public space, giving this experiment the properties of a public exchange. In Metamorphosis, the artist uses soft material to rediscover the artist’s form as it appears in Morph through the lens of plastic materials, bringing these disintegrated body parts together to form a new world of shapes, which Zhan Wang calls a “re-dismantlement” of the shapes in Morph. The result is a world that exists in a primordial state between abstraction and concreteness, is a kind of “metamorphosis”.

For the creation of Zhan Wang, the critic Shao Yiyang said that “Nothing for the time being” was composed of the “imprinting” of shapes, “morphing” of shapes and “metamorphosing”, echoing the work entitled “Cicada Ecdysis” created by the artist in 1994, the virtual and reality presented the out-of-body experience, metamorphosing seemed to be the flesh that was out of the “Cicada Ecdysis”, the deformation and extension reflected the empty mental state. “Imprinting” of shapes echoed “Artificial Rock series” created in 1998, which showed the unnatural simulation of conflict with nature and the earth. The two works expressed the sense of nihilism of the materialism of contemporary society that was a lack of spirit. At the same time, it also showed that people struggle to free themselves from modern rules and constraints. Artist Zhang Xiaogang believed that Zhan Wang had been trying to use an “extreme” way to break the honor and curse brought by the Artificial Rocks and it was the most “thorough” – rocks eventually became a pile of “mud”. Artist Jiang Jie said through these new works by Zhan Wang, people could see that he was trying to find various possibilities except for the Artificial Rock series, from “Morph” to “Metamorphosis”, it was like “Nothing for the time being” said by the artist, showing people a group of open and experimental works that were on the way. The critic Liu Libin also said that “Morph” by Zhan Wang complied with his usual development in the logic of language, “Terrain” also presented the unrestrainted use of language, and it even ripped out the consistent rational. In the opinion of the curator Huang Zhuan, Zhan Wang’s art started from the imprinting of shapes of Taihu stones, which led Zhan Wang’s creations to span a variety of mediums and materials over the two decades, this involved a wide range of histories of humanity and nature. From the imprinting of shapes, to the “morphing” of shapes and on to “metamorphosing,” Zhan Wang’s creations are like a contemporary topographic study of the ancient question of how art “imitates” the world, one carried out in the medium of sculpture that explores how tangible forms, under the conditions of continued change, maintain an unchanging formative character.

The exhibition will continue to January 23, 2016.

Photo by Zhan Wang, OCAT, Text translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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