Long March Space is pleased to present Zhang Hui’s solo exhibition Groundless curatored by Colin Chinnery. Following the solo exhibition 21st Floor and a Half at Long March Space in 2009, Groundless represents artist Zhang Hui’s 3 years of profound creation of works. The exhibition is structured by key words ”onlookers”, ”neon”, “life buoy”, “listen” and “dialogue”.
In Heidegger’s words, the work of art “sets up a world and keeps it in force”. This is a good description of Zhang Hui’s painting process. Zhang Hui constantly denies existing objects attributes, giving the ontology new possibilities. Common material like buoys, ears and shoes are floating above the black background on canvas demonstrating a real existing presence and uncompromising contradiction on visual terms.
Zhang Hui searches for the space where reality and the subconscious, the normal and the abnormal interact. In his recent work, Zhang continues his performance exploration of duration and its relationship to ideas of time and space through an investigation of painting. Zhang’s subjects move from the rituals of banality which are anchored in everyday life, to the quest for dreaming – two primary components of this artist’s evocative dramas. His surfaces full of gestures scale human existence on a spiritual and psychological level, employing elements of the theatrical (through color and scale) to create a dreamscape whereby his subject’s vulnerability is exposed to the viewer, often triggered by lines of text, seemingly borrowed from traditional fairytales and folklore, floating amid the landscape.
Zhang Hui’s suspicion of our reality is shaped by a reverence for existence itself, and it is through this reverence that an attempt to describe it is possible. By a process of a constant negation of his own practice, Zhang Hui has found the earth Heidegger wrote of that conceals infinite potential, from which an alternative world can emerge. With his black canvases, Zhang Hui’s work tries to describe a world that has just begun.
Curator Colin Chinnery:
“Groundless”, the title of Zhang Hui’s solo show at Long March Space, is a word that denotes a lack of foundation, a lack of rational basis for something. Reality is tangible, but at the same time it is constructed. Although it is real, it doesn’t have to be believed in. The basis for which things are the way they are cannot be taken for granted, and the more one examines the structure of the man made world, the more one can question the foundations it depends on. The supermarkets, apartment blocks, social structures, and new beliefs all appears to have emerged to fill the void left by the decay or death of traditional culture in the wake of failed revolution. As an artist, how does one describe a reality that appears so emptied of meaning? This is the central question for Zhang Hui as he approaches his canvases, and this question has driven him to renounce his own work over and again as he has attempted to build a world that doesn’t rely on the artificial construction of today’s fragile reality.
About the artist:
Zhang Hui (b. 1967, Heilongjiang Province) is a significant member of the post-89 generation of Chinese artists trained in stage and set design at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. Whether it is the act of performance itself, or human interrelationships evidenced through painting and the construction of sculptural installation, Zhang Hui’s practice makes continual reference to the theatre as a sense of physical awareness, but also as a mental space through which we further understand our relationship to ideas of lived and imagined realities. He was a key figure, alongside prominent artists such as Liu Wei, Zhu Yu and Qiu Zhijie, in the collaborative artistic activities of the ‘Post Sense: Sensibility’ Group of the late 1990s.
Zhang Hui was recently featured in 21st Floor and a half (solo) at Long March Space, Beijing, 2009; Farewell to Postcolonialism: the Third Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, 2008; Partial Zone, Long March Space, Beijing (solo), 2007; Buzz…, Multimedia performance, Taipei Museum of Art, Kao-Chung Museum of Art, Taipei, China Taiwan, 2005 and Shanghai Biennale, 2004. His performance explorations have taken place extensively across China and throughout Asia and the USA.
About the Exhibition
Date: Apr 28, 2012 – Jun 17, 2012
Opening: Apr 28, 2012, Saturday
Venue: Long March Project (Beijing, China)