SILENCE

Young image makers from China

About the exhibition
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Overview

Silence

Organized by Vera Yu and Damien Zhang

In today’s rapidly changing world, the works of the three female artists, all from China and born in and after 1989, in the show, propose a reading that is “untimely” slow and quiet, opposite of the seemingly instant act of pressing the shutter. When we look at their works, there emerges in us an irresistible but natural will to hold our breath, slowing adjusting it to the same rhythm of the circulation of power and energy emitted from these images. 

All the works in this show, directly or indirectly, refer to the concepts of landscape (whether outdoor or domestic), abstraction and human body (whether exterior or interior), the boundaries of which are deliberately blurred and left ambiguous. In these beautifully and sometimes violently constructed images, one is invited to take a break from our daily errands, and to simply contemplate and wonder. The viewers are to have a direct experience with the images, tracing time and being traced themselves.

Zhang Wenxin (b. 1989) sees the world as a sleeping beast, whose quietness functions as an umbrella, hiding truths of the world, hence encouraging us to uncover them. She reckons that once we become adults, we often force the world to change into something leaping forward, after which we chase incessantly. The silence is then lost. Zhang’s work is, therefore, an attempt to restore the world’s silence and our “wild nature” of desiring truths.

Chen Zhe (b. 1989)’s "The Bearable" series documents the artist’s self-mutilating years. The act of self-mutilation, once transformed into Chen’s visual language, becomes a means of healing. These images are mostly taken in domestic settings and investigate the body as material. The confines of the spaces where the photos were made do not restrict them from spreading and extending out to a more imaginative sphere, forming “domestic landscapes”. The silent process of healing silences harm. Is one then being healed?

Chen Xiaoyi (b. 1992) employs the old Photogravure process in her image-making. It is a rather physically tiring and demanding process which requires acts of repetition. According to the artist, repetition, however, takes her into a state of inner balance, close to meditation. It is the kind of work that requires a lot of attention from the artist, who then gets rewarded by that of the viewers. For with Photogravure, Chen achieves in demonstrating the very details and continuous tones of color, even when it’s mostly in black and white.

 

“Everyone is Sisyphus.”

Chen Xiaoyi

About the curator

Vera YU received a BA from Shanghai Institute of Visual Art, and Master of Art Management from Renmin University of China and Rouen Business School in France. Vera has been in the contemporary art industry for over 10 years across China, France and the U.S. Previously worked at a number of leading galleries as director, she is now based in Shanghai and works with collectors, corporates, galleries, fairs and funds as an art advisor

Damien Zhang currently works at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris, in charge of Asia development. He was previously Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, at Musée Zadkine in Paris. In summer 2016, he was a participant of the International Curator Course at Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. Damien graduated from Sciences Po Paris.