Zhao Yao: Spirit Above All

Voon Pow Bartlett

Yishu Volume 12, Number 4, July/August 2013

Spirit above all III-69_acrylic on denim_200x222x8cm_2012-2013

According to Pace London Gallery press release, the artworks for Spirit Above Allwere brought to Tibet to be blessed by a “Living Buddha.”[1] This is documented through mural photographs of the Tibetan landscape that provided the backdrop on the walls of the gallery upon which the paintings are hung. The press release also informs us that the artist is “fascinated by the relationship between art and its audience,” creating an “on-going cycle of self-assessment, and reconstruction of the old to produce the new, a process the artist describes as ‘self-consumption’.”[2] Zhao Yao expresses the wish to challenge how art is perceived, that ‘‘the attention should never be on the paintings themselves, which I deliberately repeat in different series to deconstruct their visual power, but the concept behind the forms. I am interested in the way we look at exhibitions and how our pre-existing knowledge, whether cultural, religious, or political, affects our perception of art. I like to provide context for my works, but not to disclose my own opinion so the discussion can remain open. In the same way that the puzzles I use aim at training one’s brain to think logically, I want my exhibitions to challenge people’s conventional way of looking at art.”[3]


Spirit Above All consists of a series of paintings, nine in all, executed with acrylic on denim, averaging a size of 250 x 200 x 8 cm. The colour scheme of the installation gives an impression of a grey day in London. Nevertheless, I found myself drawn to the shapes and patterns on the canvases and challenged to recall my mathematical training. There were circles combined with triangles to look like rabbit ears, circles on squares, cuboids that look like square rooms placed on their sides and some on their oblique sides, with their roofs sliced off, providing views from the top, like scenes from ancient Chinese paintings. Pentagons, octagons, parallelograms, and intersecting rings, executed in black, white, and light grey on stripy bluish denim canvases.

Zhao’s artworks and installation do not appear to be guided by any form or logic. In fact, Zhao himself revealed that there is no social significance or spiritual relationship in the installation, merely an experiment to see how the different elements interact with each other, and with the audience. The geometric patterns that can be found in brain teaser puzzles are to do with a desire to discover more about art; the references to Buddhism and Tibet are to bring into the work some external factor which may potentialize meaning or layers of meaning, or to bring into question what lies beneath its formal qualities and symbolic meaning. [4]

Nonetheless, in the context of the historical and social backdrop in which Zhao lives, the images and the particular way this installation is put together, provoke an interesting discussion relating to probable Russian influence, ideological and religious connotations, and, in particular, early and recent trends in contemporary Chinese art.

The juxtaposition of geometric shapes, spaces, and colours in the series entitled Spirit Above Allecho the Russian Constructivists, many of whom were also graphic designers. Constructivism was an artistic and architectural philosophy that originated in Russia in 1919, in the aftermath of World War I and the Russian Revolution, which was a rejection of the idea of autonomous art.[5] Chinese artists such as Zhao are living under a similar political turmoil and social upheaval. Where the Russian community had lost confidence in Tsar Nicholas II in the early twentieth century, the Chinese experienced trauma after the Cultural Revolution during 1966–76. Where Russia turned from an agrarian society into an industrial one, Mainland China also underwent a cataclysmic transformation where millions of farm workers swarmed to find work in cities. An agrarian society was transformed into an industrial one; a projected four hundred million Chinese citizens became urban residents over the last decade.[6]


It is no surprise then, with China’s own industrial revolution following its opening up to the rest of the world in the late 1970s that Zhao may share in concept the Russian constructivists’ celebration of the contemporaneity in machines. Zhao’s current obsession with mathematical puzzles and the power of logic echo the incessant references to the machine aesthetic that can be seen in Kasimir Malevich’s Scissors Grinder, 1912 and Natalia Goncharova’s The Laundry, 1912.[7]In particular, Zhao’s Spirit Above All I-93A with its cuboids and Spirit Above All I-259 with black circles are reminiscent of El Lissitzky’s Proun Composition in both the use of geometric shapes and an understated tonal range. Perhaps Zhao is intentionally, or unwittingly, celebrating or challenging an aesthetic in China’s “Mechanical Paradise,” its “Unfinished Revolution.”[8]


Kasimir Malevich’s Scissors Grinder, 1912

As the Constructivist movement was also in favour of art as a practice for social purposes, the analogy with Zhao’s work can be taken a stage further, one beyond the visual seductiveness of plasticity of the abstract shapes into the Receptionist theory from the work of Viktor Shklovsky and Mikhail Bakhtin. There is ashared desire of involving the audience, to create works that would make them active viewers of the artwork. Shklovsky wanted to develop the meaning of art through the act of perception in order that people can discover more about life from looking at art; in other words, to make things that are familiar to us unfamiliar, to oppose the “automatism of perception,” that the artist should “de-automatize” the perceptions of the audience.[9] “The technique of art is to make objects unfamiliar, to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged. Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object; the object is not important.”[10]

The above statement is almost contiguous to Zhao’s own manifesto in the Pace London press release, where he declares more interest in the relationship with the audience than the artworks themselves. He demonstrates his desire to communicate with the audience in this exhibition by having straw mats for them to sit on and albums of documentary photography showing the ascent of the artworks to the Tibetan mountains. He compares his work to a relationship between a TV soap opera and its audience, and considers every piece of work as a collaborative effort with his audience, and a development from his previous series [In the interview with the artist, he said,  ‘I consider my recent work to be like a TV soap].

The concern for art to have a social purpose is also reminiscent of earlier Chinese artists who turned making art into social projects. There were the revolutionary artists of the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Yan’an during the 1930s such as woodcarvers Gu Yuan who interacted with rural communities and invited them to critique their art.[11] Later, during the 1980s, the RusticRealism in China, which was first referred to as Scar art, depicted the impact of the Cultural Revolution on ordinary people in rural and border regions—Luo Zhongli’s Father is an influential example of Rustic Realism.[12]

Despite his claim of non religiosity, Zhao is impressed by the Tibetan people who kowtow to Lhasa every day as a form of pilgrimage, so much so that he organized the artworks to be carted up the difficult and treacherous (for both humans and artwork) trek up the Tibetan mountain to be blessed by a “Living Buddha,” a reincarnation of a previous Buddha according to Buddhist religious doctrine. This recalls Chen Danqing’s Tibetan series, shown in October 1980 at the graduation exhibition of the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Chen portrayed Tibetans in their everyday life in a dignified way, ‘avoiding the patronizing depictions of ethnic minorities common at the time’.[13]

The abstract element of Zhao’s work also has a Chinese legacy. It is not clear if his intention is, like avant-garde artists such as the 1980s Stars Group, to challenge aesthetic convention and political authority in China, or the “Abstract Aesthetic” of Wu Guanzhong, who argued against the dominant forms of realism in favour of abstraction—“no subject, just form.”[14] However, the seemingly mathematical constructions of Zhao certainly harken back to the days of the New Measurement Group of the 1990s when conceptual artists such as Wang Luyang, Gu Dexin, and Chen Shaoping worked as a team from their home and created a mini-movement referred to as Apartment Art.[15] The New Measurement Group “aimed at eliminating individuality and arbitrary” to create work  “based on series of mathematically formulated propositions.”[16] Zhao goes even further by adding another layer—an empirical exercise—to his abstract canvases through observing, recording, condensing, and conceptualizing his journey on a Tibetan mountain.

It is interesting to note that Zhao’s way of working reflects the trend of conceptual, process driven, abstract work that many Chinese artists have adopted on the world’s stage. “ . . . recent attempts to revitalize Conceptual art practice have become something of a trend and constitute a welcome alternative to the primitive commercial operations previously prevalent in the Chinese contemporary art world,” writes Carol Lu.[17] This situation is evidenced in a few exhibitions I have seen recently, both in Beijing and in other parts of the world.For example, his way of working with abstraction and a fascination with the audience is also shared by another Chinese artist with a concurrent show in London.Le Guo “momentarily suspend(s) a painting not in order to encourage a spectator to assign fixed narratives and meanings to this image, but, instead, to encourage this spectator to imagine an unfixed process where potential forms become actualized and then frequently potentialized again.”[18] Hong Hao at Pace Beijing (March 16–April 27, 2013), digitally scans everyday objects to reduce them into abstract shapes to be presented neatly in a multitude of harmonious configurations and colours. Another concurrent show at Beijing Commune is that ofLiang Yuanwei who uses lipstick to draw on the irregular geometrical shapes formed by scrunched-up paper [Mar 21 – May 18, 2013]. Writing on one of her earlier shows in 2012, the critic Leng Lin rejoiced at the transformation of contemporary Chinese art from being preoccupied with socialist content to an exploration of art itself, which, in his view, emerged in Liang Yuanwei’s work as “consistent contemplation,” where “one can find the peacefulness of the traditional paintings from the Song dynasty.”[19]

The pursuit of peace and harmony can be seen with some Chinese artists working with nature, or at least natural materials. Hu Xiaoyuan at Beijing Commune in 2012, worked with found detritus of wood and transformed them with paint, nails, and silk. The various shapes and sizes of wood, although not vertical in orientation, exude a mystical aura similar to that of totem poles. Another artist who uses natural materials to comment on the industrialized society is Cui Fei.[20] She creates shapes that allude to Chinese calligraphy, much like Xu Bing, but with painstakingly positioned twigs, thorns, seeds. These tender tendrils emanate an incorporeal aura. Despite Zhao’s disinclination to discuss or disclose the true meaning of his work, the use of muted colours, pleasing abstract shapes, and mountain scenes are almost failsafe ways of conveying peace and contemplation.

Zhao’s new canvasses are drained of colour, a disaffected work to perhaps reflect a disaffection with life. Spirit Above All, albeit with a seemingly more upbeat title than I am your night, that was exhibited at Beijing Commune in 2011, seems to demonstrate a loss of his earlier vibrancy, fun, and joie de vivre. There is a new level of austerity and sparing use of shape. With this new restraint, it is tempting to read into Spirit Above All a dumbing down. Perhaps it is a personal maturation of a young artist, or perhaps it is a result of his reflection on the uncertainty of a country undergoing such enormous changes.

2013-02-11 56523

Despite his assertion of not being interested in presenting to the audience a didactic stance, it is clear that Zhao would like the audience to be challenged to think logically, to respond honestly and without preconceptions.He also hopes that the installation will work in unison, as a nostalgic function to recall and to inspire memories, just as the use of denim recalls and unifies with his previous exhibitions.

For Zhao, it is the reflection on process that is important for an artist, and the audience, of working beyond formal qualities. He invites us to bypass the art itself; he hopes, to arrive at the essence of the content, the concept. He has faith that the audience not only knows more than he does, but is also able to help him develop his work. ‘I think in many situations, the audience has a very clear understanding of a situation and its development, sometimes even more than the artist’].His absorption with the audience may be interpreted as relegating the responsibility of constructing meaning, and becomes, not “self-consumption,” but audience-consumption. In any case, there is an ambivalence that is manifest in the disparateness of his current presentation that may serve to encumber such affiliation.

[1]Pace London Press Release, www.pacegallery.com.
[1] Ibid.
[1] All views from the artist, if not indicated as from the Press Release, are from an email conversation between author and artist.
[1]“Mechanical Paradise,” the title of Robert Hughes’ first chapter in The Shock of the New, Thames and Hudson, London, 1992 (1980): 9, to describe art movements such as the Futurists and the Vorticists as a reaction to the conditions of the industrial revolution of the beginning of the twentieth century in the West. China’s Unfinished Revolution is the title of a talk by Jonathan Fenby, April 30, 2013 at Kings College, London
[1]http://blogs.ubc.ca/nachoip/2012/09/11/shklovsky-and-bakhtin/Art as Tecnique. Viktor Shklovsky.
[1]Viktor Shklovsky, “Art as Technique,” in Art in Theory 1900-2000, eds. Charles Harrison and Paul Wood (Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing, 2011), 280. 
[1]Ibid, 79.
[1]Gao Minglu, ed., The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art (New York: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 2005), 369.
[1] http://www.artspeakchina.org/mediawiki/Chen_Danqing_陈丹青.
[1]Ibid., 369. 
[1]Wu, Hung, Chinese Art at the Crossroads (London,: New Arts Media Ltd., 2001), 206.
[1]https://www.frieze.com/issue/review/wang_luyan/, on an exhibition of Wang Luyang’s work at the Arario Gallery in Beijing in 2007.
[1] Author in conversation with Le Guo, March 19, 2013.
[1]Beijing Commune catalogue on Liang Yuanwei, 2012.
[1]The Lookout: A Weekly Guide to Shows You Won’t Want to Miss, Aia Staff, 2.5.2013. Cui Fei’s “Tracing the Origin” is at Chambers Fine Art, New York, 2 May – June 7, 2013. http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-opinion/finer-things/2013-05-02/the-lookout-a-weekly-guide-to-shows-you-wont-want-to-miss-10/. Accessed on 11.5.13.


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Land of the Lustrous


其中,赵要呈现最新作品《有一团神气》。作品以气模的方式,将一块“精神高于一切”的石头放大了100万倍,顶端用藏语写着བསམ་བློའི་མཐོ་ཚད་ཀུན་གྱི་མཆོག (精神高于一切)。“精神高于一切”石头是当地刻玛尼石的师傅专门为“精神高于一切”项目镌刻的石头,它将项目名字译成藏文,并按照本地传统,刻在大小不一的石头上。在2016开始实施的“精神高于一切”项目里面,艺术家将一件长116米、宽 86米的布制抽象作品置于藏区海拔接近的5000米的雪山山顶,在自然环境里经历了半年的风吹日晒后撤下并回收展示,2018年5月18日在北京的工人体育场呈现了这一令人惊奇的壮举。

此次,艺术家以玛尼石为灵感,创作了这最新的作品,将具有精神故事的石头放大成巨大的气囊,并注满空气,让这团被包裹着的气体似乎也临时性的具有了某种能量。一颗“大而虚无”的精神石头躺倒在海天之间。我们已有的知识,无论是文化的、政治的,历史的,还是宗教的,又是如何影响我们对艺术的感知? Details »

ARTFORUM展评| 赵要:有神的信号,有神的信号。

Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven

文-Yuan Fuca (富源),英文原文刊载于《ARTFORUM》2019年2月刊

This past summer, Zhao Yao first exhibited his ongoing project The Spirit Above All, 2015–. This piece, spanning 107,500 square feet and assembled from colored cloth, was placed for six months out in the sun on a snowy mountainside in Nangqian, Qinghai, before being shipped back to Beijing, where it was ceremonially installed on the field in Beijing’s Workers’ Stadium for a day from sunrise to sunset. The work demonstrated Zhao’s interest in the spirituality of contemporary life. The same fascination was also evident in “Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven,” an exhibition composed of nine hutlike sculptures scattered on a salmon-pink office carpet.

Nyingma monks and Tibetan Buddhists in Ganzi and Nangqian use similar wooden huts as private spaces when they go into the mountains in late autumn for spiritual contemplation and self-cultivation. After being exposed to wind and snow, the structures’ highly personal and improvised exterior coverings of cloth and plastic have an unaffected beauty, and their simple rectangular box shapes stand for unambiguous individual existences. Inside each of these monuments to contemplation and personal evolution, the artist installed a monitor playing a looped video. The screens show texts transcribed from TED Talks, with stories of the Egyptian revolution, female refugees, or radical jihadists scrolling against a monochrome background whose color is either the red, yellow, blue, or green used in the Google logo, suggesting the subliminal cognition of contemporary life. The talks, with their didactic motivational spirit and emotional wording, are a sort of balm for the contemporary middle-class ache for spirituality, and the huts’ narrow spaces – each fits only one person – intensify the talks’ effect, so that they somehow become incomplete and listless, losing their original seductive charm. At the same time, what was an extremely private, almost inviolable sacred space has been transformed into a place for contemporary viewership, relaying emotional campaigns promising personal revelations through a connection to the journeys of discovery made by the various speakers. Inside the huts, it was almost impossible to engage in the contemplative activity for which they were built.

If collective modes of understanding today can be represented by TED Talks and the trademark colors of Google’s logo, what are the chances that the tools of a spiritual practice originating in a very distant time and place and dependent on a spirit of austerity and selfabnegation can renew our cognitive experience? Zhao’s juxtaposition of these two distinct realities presents the contradictions involved in pursuing personal value in today’s society, where cultural production and regulation act as a kind of invisible barrier constraining thought and action, and where we are unavoidably mired in self-absorption, awkwardly unable to imagine the alternative forms of spirituality we think we’re seeking. Details »


来源:ARTSHARD艺术碎片  毛竹

Zhao Yao, Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven, Exhibition view ,2018




通常重要的事情,赵要喜欢说两三遍。此前在“你看不见我,你看不见我”(2012)这件作品[这是对他的另一件作品“我是你的黑夜”(2011)的复制]的题目中,赵要第一次采用了反复修辞法,题名就像孩童捉迷藏时喃喃的低语,充满游戏的紧张与戏谑感。同样,“有神的信号,有神的信号”这件极具声音感的作品题名,就好像某个宁玛派喇嘛在修行的房子中接收到了来自神的信号,他正兴奋地给其他修行者打电话一样。 Details »

Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven.


11. 3 – 12. 25. 2018

Beijing Commune is delighted to announce the opening, on November 3rd, 2018, of Zhao Yao’s newest exhibition: “Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven.” This is Zhao Yao’s fourth personal exhibition at Beijing Commune Gallery, where it will be on display until December 25th.

The works presented in this exhibition constitute a whole new development for the artist, following his project “The Spirit Above All” (2016-2018). Taking personal and social experience as his starting point, Zhao Yao pursues his questioning on the topic of universal questions and spiritual matters.

Zhao Yao’s work has always focused on the psychological complexes and rational consciousness within various social backgrounds and in different cultures. His installations, paintings, and video works rely notably on such fundamen- tal elements as the perception of forms, or the tactile sense, in order to represent people’s understanding of art, and experiential cognition.

Details »


Zhao Yao, The Power of Nature, 2016–18. The Workers’ Stadium, Beijing. Photo: UCCA.

EARLIER THIS MONTH, the artist Zhao Yao experienced what it’s like to be a pop star, preparing for a one-show-only event at the Workers’ Stadium in Beijing. Built on the tenth anniversary of the new China in 1959, the stadium has been a cultural and sports center for the past six decades, accommodating various activities, but mostly football games and pop music concerts in recent years. It’s also surrounded by the most popular nightclubs in Beijing.

To the stadium, Zhao brought his 108,000-square-foot painting, The Power of Nature. Think of it as a massive rug made of cloth and fabric, on which are abstract patterns that are typical to Zhao’s long-term painting practice. (He’s known for appropriating colorful but intricate pictures from brain-teaser books in his paintings.) At 6 AM on May 18th, Zhao and some fifty people from his team loaded the rolled work in and unraveled it in the football field.

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Three leading artists explore the complex notion of a multi-ethnic national identity in post-globalization China

While I was writing this article, in February 2018, the artist Zhao Yao received permission to rent the iconic Workers’ Stadium in north-eastern Beijing for one day in May. His intention was to show an abstract composition on fabric, measuring 116 × 86 m, which was produced in 2016 and initially displayed 5,000 m above sea level on a mountainside in Qinghai province on the Tibetan Plateau. Independently, last October, Zhao Zhao brought a camel and its keeper from the far western region of Xinjiang to Tang Contemporary Art in Beijing. His exhibition, ‘Desert Camel’, was a coda to the major work Project Taklamakan (2015–16), for which the artist transported a functioning refrigerator to the middle of the Taklamakan Desert. Zhuang Hui, meanwhile, has been visiting the Qilian Mountains in Gansu province for the past seven years,  exploring the geography and culture of the region through photography, video and installation. All three artists live and work in Beijing, yet have spent years working on  projects relating to the far west of China, a region loaded with historical and political contention.Gansu, Qinghai, Tibet and Xinjiang collectively form the great western flank of modern China. Consisting largely of impassable mountains and inhospitable deserts, these vast regions represent about 40 percent of the country’s landmass but house only four percent of its population. Areas of vital strategic importance to modern China, they are also home to peoples with their own ethnic and cultural identities, which frequently clash with Beijing’s objectives. Consequently, it has been an important part of modern Chinese politics to develop the notion of a multi-ethnic national consciousness.

Zhao Yao, Spirit Above All, 2016–17, project documentation, Nangqian County. Courtesy: the artist

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2018.05.12 to 2018.06.23MadeIn Gallery, No 106, 2879 Longteng Avenue, Shanghai

“Man plays only, where he in the full meaning of the word is man,
and he is only there fully man, where he plays.”

—— Friedrich Schiller

MadeIn Gallery is pleased to present “Play” an exhibition showcasing new paintings and sculptures by Lu Pingyuan, Shang Liang and Zhao Yao. In this exhibition, three artists’ works commonly share a spirit of lightness and playfulness, bringing aesthetics, concepts and art into the field of game. As a method for the observation of art, game arises in the gallery space.

Details »

The Power of Nature:

A Ten Thousand Square Meter Painting in Beijing




Workers’ Stadium


尤伦斯当代艺术中心(UCCA)携手艺术家赵要,于2018年5月18日在北京工人体育场呈现艺术项目“自然的力量:一万平米作品在北京”。此次项目将呈现艺术家历时三年完成的10, 000平米大型装置作品:艺术家将这件长116米、宽 86米的大型装置作品置于人迹罕至的自然环境中,经历半年的风吹日晒后撤下并回收展示。这是作品撤回至城市后的首次展示,是作品最重要的发展和全新的延续。

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2017年1月4日,曾尔尕山,多尕喇嘛在察看作品 ©Zhao Yao 赵要

ArtWorld: 能否先从这次的项目出发,谈谈“精神高于一切”这个名字与之前项目的关系?


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A Painting of Thought I-542, Each 180 x 200 x 8 cm, 4 paintings in total Material: Acrylic on found fabric, 2016 © Zhao Yao

A Painting of Thought I-542 | 很有想法的绘画 I-542

A Painting of Thought I-542 is a work that is composed of three paintings. As a further step in the development of A Painting of Thought, brand-new texture and pattern are added into color blocks of high-purity acrylic, which triggers reactions to “the marbled” as a collective aestheticism on different cultural and cognitive levels. The reactions are then taken into the work as a part of the experience. The mass-produced, ready-made fabric and patterns in the same batch but in different colors are used repeatedly in the work, which demonstrates the “systematization” in industrial products that is transformed into an aesthetic move. The pattern of “thinking puzzle” duplicates itself for multiple times on the fabric and is applied to the fabric in the same way. The “undifferentiated” aestheticism presented by the “systematization” of mass production is carried into the experience of the work. The halo of the thick acrylic colors imitates the gloss of the highlight of children’s plastic toys, through which process the gloss of plastic products in the everyday experience of contemporary society is put into the painting and is transcended. A Painting of Thought is both serious and playful.

A Painting of Thought I-542, Each 180 x 200 x 8 cm, 4 paintings in total Material: Acrylic on found fabric, 2016 © Zhao Yao

简介: 全球青年文化之声 | www.vice.cn | 微博@VICE中国 |艺术家赵要完成了一件面积将近10000平方米的装置作品,从北京工厂运往青海玉树的摩耶寺。11月23日,当地100多名村民和喇嘛出动,经历一整天,共同把这个庞然大物抬到海拔5000米的雪山山顶,铺展开来。实施当天,我们和艺术家与作品一起坐在在大卡车里穿过长长的峡谷,来到雪山脚下,纪录下了这个作品的向山顶的搬运过程。



Zhao Yao Spirit Above All, 2016


2016.11.23 Spirit Above All

10, 000-square-meters work

Will be on display here

On November 23, 2016, Zhao Yao’s latest large-scale art work, Spirit Above All, will be carried out at Moye Temple in Baizha at Nangqian County, Yushu autonomous prefecture, Qinghai province. The 116-meter-wide-and-86-meter-long work is the continuation and development of Zhao Yao’s 2012 work of the same name, Spirit Above All. After more than two years’ preparation and production, the work has been successfully transported to the mountain of Moye Temple at the end of October. With the assistance and support of the temple and Chakme Rinpoche , the work will be carried to the snowy summit by more than 100 local villagers and then unfolded there, almost 5000 meters high above sea level. Selecting patterns of thinking puzzles from the series A Painting of Thought and employing large-scale Tibetan Thang-ga cloth sticker technique, the new Spirit Above All is produced according to the size of Thang-ga at Moye Temple (120×80 meters). The 10, 000-square-meters work will be installed at the mountain top, alongside the existing Buddhist sutra streamers, white pagoda, and cliffside murals in the valley, echoing the local natural and cultural environment. The work will be exposed to natural environment for a whole winter and then be collected and displayed. The project aims to establish multiple cultural projects via local cooperation under the theme of “drying painting”. Meanwhile, various changes of the work will be monitored and recorded, throughout which process the work will accept and welcome visitors continuously.

Please stay tuned! Details »





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赵要 |最后一个鸡蛋  ZhaoYao |The last egg




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Cosmos Black is Spinning Around

Cosmos Black is Spinning Around | 宇宙在黑在旋

Cosmos Black is Spinning Around © Zhao Yao

metallic paint, aluminum, dual-axis solar tracker, metal stand
尺寸可变 | size variable

A piece of the “Cosmo Black” square was placed on top of the automatic dual-axis solar tracker. From now on it will look to the dome of the blue sky above, always following the movement of the sun. Cosmo black is Mercedes car standard color 191.

Cosmos Black is Spinning Around © Zhao Yao

Cosmos Black is Spinning Around © Zhao Yao

Cosmos Black is Spinning Around © Zhao Yao

Cosmos Black is Spinning Around © Zhao Yao


《很有想法的雕塑》2016/A Sculpture of Thought

A Beautiful Disorder/Jul 3rd – Nov 6th
Similar to the A Painting of Thought series, the work contemplates issues essential to art from a three-dimensional perspective. Therefore A Sculpture of Thought and A Painting of Thought have a parallel relationship. The form of the sculpture also adopts directly from brain-teaser puzzles, everything is ready – images, colours, structure. All kinds of apparent visual elements combined with hidden abstract concepts are of essence to the creation of this piece. Through the manoeuvring of rational experience, texture of the material, visual recognition and all aspects of physical + mental sensations, the work forms a sudden satisfaction in pursuit of meaning. The material PVC plastic is widely used in the manufacturing of children’s slides, and the form of the sculpture is blown to 6 meters tall and placed in the reality of our social environment. The installation method also mimics construction toys, further lightens the sculpture with the plastic shine that’s apparent on actual children’s toys – a divine aura of the sculpture. A playful yet serious way of responding to the daily experience of plastic goods and their sparkles as the highlight of their times. The methods of evaluating / appreciating art elevates the position of gaming, yet at the same time the mundaneness and straightforwardness of gaming from both sensual and logical perspectives re-evaluates our aesthetic habits.
Details »

邱文宝 /Voon Pow Bartlett    翻译:姚青

原文载于: Yishu典藏国际版July/August 2015, volume 14, number 4. P28-43.

黑色方块的冒险:抽象艺术与社会1915-2015,于2015年1月15日在伦敦白教堂美术馆(Whitechapel Gallery)对公众开放。白教堂美术馆的新闻通稿称其为“一场意义重大的新展览,梳理着从1915年至今一个世纪抽象艺术的脉络……”1展览的目的在于“重新审视”艺术、社会和政治之间的关系,给几何抽象艺术之进化带来新认识。展览的一百多件作品来自80位现当代艺术家,其中一些艺术家更是享有跨国甚至洲际知名度,例如俄罗斯的卡西米尔·马列维奇(Kasimir Malevich)——这在他著名画作黑与白至上主义组合(Black and White Suprematist Composition, 1915)诞生一百周年之际也就不足为奇了。其他如雷贯耳的大名还有:亚历山大·罗德琴科(Alexander Rodchenko),卡尔·安德烈(Carl Andre),丹·弗拉文(Dan Flavin),罗斯玛丽·特洛科尔(Rosemarie Trockel),特奥·凡·度斯堡(Theo Van Doesburg),皮埃·蒙德里安(Piet Mondrian)。展览使用了美术馆两层楼的绝大部分空间。为我们展现了结构主义艺术从兴起之初在俄罗斯与欧洲作为先锋艺术的革命性开始,到2015年遍布世界各地的漫漫过程。其中包括了中国、中东和南美。

对馆长伊娃娜·布雷兹维克(Iwona Blazwick)来说,抽象艺术是“是进步地平线上的岬角。它在研究上的空白意味着令人兴奋的未知元素和充满想象空间的多重可能”2在早期几何抽象艺术提议与“新型社会组织”建立联系的基础上。新闻通稿说明了本次展览的四个主题归纳如下:1)“乌托邦”,想象了一个新的超越等级和阶级的理想社会;2)“建筑学”,展现了抽象艺术如何加强社会转型的空间;3)“传播”,观察了抽象艺术调动彻底改革的可能性;4)“日常生活”,追寻了抽象艺术如何渗透到视觉艺术的各个层面,从公司标识到纺织品设计。

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Absolute Collection Guideline



Sifang Art Museum is pleased to present its first collection exhibition titled “Absolute Collection Guideline”, on view from June 8th – August 8th, 2015 at 9 Zhenqi Road, Nanjing. Based on the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition will have a strong focus on recently acquired works from over twenty Chinese and international contemporary artists. This marks the first time for the museum collection to be open to public. The show will explore the various forms of expressions through a range of medias practiced by contemporary artists today. As it’s a loosely curated collection show, viewers can spend more time to reconnect the various points of ideas that exist between artworks, as well as to rediscover the power of individual works of art. Significant works from the prestigious Hugo Boss Prize winner Paul Chan and Danh Vo will be presented alongside a large scale venetian blind installation by acclaimed South Korean artist Haegue Yang. Major portion of the show consists of Chinese artists of both established and up-coming nature such as Wang Xinwei, Qui Xiaofei, Li Ming, Zhao Yao etc, as Chinese contemporary art still makes up most of the museum’s permanent collection. Japanese artists Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama and Yoshitomo Nara are also part of the collection and are selected to be exhibited this time. Details »



2015-09-15 18:26  Ymedia(Y先生)



鬼 剪





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About Painting Too



“About Painting Too” is the second in a series of exhibitions that each addresses a topical issue within art today, and with particular reference to art in China. This year, young curator Pu Hong was invited to present a topic of his choice. Continuing the critical engagement with painting that was explored in the first exhibition in the series, “About Painting” in the spring of 2014, Pu Hong again takes painting as his subject. Through the work of eight artists, he selects a range of older and more recent works, each of which is distinctive of the style and approach for which each of the artists are known. Several, including Xu Zhen/MadeIn, Zhang Enli and Ding Yi, are very well known indeed and have, in recent years, been the subject of a series of large-scale solo exhibitions in China and abroad. In their especial way, Wang Chuan, Yang Shu and Xu Hongming have each made a significant contribution to the language of abstract painting in China, while the younger artists included here, Wang Guangle and Zhao Yao, bring the distinct energy of their generation to the art they produce.

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2015.01.15 – 02.26 | PACE HONG KONG

Written by Zhao Yao


Painting of Thought is a very apt and fitting title for these works. The two books that provided the source images for these paintings say the following on their covers:


  1. A magical book full of challenging wisdom, geniuses around the world are playing 1000 Thinking Games. Why are Japanese people so smart? An American had a sudden realization that thinking is built through play. (A must read for the never-surrendering Chinese. Nanhai Press, 2005.)


  1. Top international thinking games to rapidly unlock your mind’s potential. The 600 thinking games played by all the top students in the world will help you grasp effective methods for enhancing cognitive abilities, heightening powers of observation, analysis, logic, deduction, judgment, imagination, creativity, memory, thinking and action. The more you play, the smarter and more successful you will become. (600 Thinking Games from a century of Harvard students. Huawen Press, 2009.)


From the first painting, Painting of Thought has a sense of mission. How do we look at a painting? How do we understand a painting? How do we create a painting? This series approaches fundamental questions of art from the perspective of painting, particularly abstract painting. Unlike conceptual art in the general sense, this series is not expressing certain criticisms or concepts but instead practicing criticisms or concepts. First, everything here is readymade. Readymade images, readymade colors, readymade fabric, and a readymade understanding of painting. Furthermore, these readymade understandings and concepts of painting are produced by these readymade images, forms and materials. This also includes the understanding and ways of thinking about painting produced by existing art history education and artistic experience. The various visible visual elements and invisible abstract thoughts serve as the fundamental elements of creation, just like the colors and brushstrokes of painting, and they are combined together according to an internal logic and order. Details »


Adventures of the Black Square/黑色方块的历险

Abstract Art and Society 1915–2015

Whitechapel Gallery

Opening on 15 January, this epic show takes Kazimir Malevich’s radical painting of a black square – first shown in Russia 100 years ago – as the emblem of a new art and a new society. The exhibition features over 100 artists who took up its legacy, from Buenos Aires to Tehran, London to Berlin, New York to Tel Aviv. Their paintings, photographs and sculptures symbolise Modernism’s utopian aspirations and breakdowns.

Presented chronologically the show follows four themes:

‘Utopia’ is expressed through Malevich’s black square, the progenitor of new aesthetic and political horizons, seized by artists from Vladimir Tatlin to Hélio Oiticica.

‘Architectonics’ presents floating geometries that propose new social spaces as imagined by Lyubov Popova or Piet Mondrian and Liam Gillick.

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L’Intérieur du Géant

20/10/2014 – 11/01/2015

With : Renaud JEREZ, LI Gang, Edwin LO, NADAR, Aude PARISET, WU Hao, YU Ji, ZHAO Yao, CHENG Ran

In the context of its international mission, the Palais de Tokyo chose curator Jo-ey Tang to travel to China and Southeast Asia. After a year of prospection, Inside China presents a selection of five Chinese artists in dialogue with three French artists including the renowned Nadar.


 20/10/2014 – 11/01/2015