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]

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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.

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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] 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]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(art).
[1]http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/31/us-china-urbanisation-idUSBRE92U00520130331.
[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructivism_(art).
[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]Ibid.
[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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赵要——混蛋,人生哪里有那么容易的啊!

来源:ARTSHARD艺术碎片  毛竹

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

很难想象当赵要在北京公社为他的新作“有神的信号,有神的信号”布展时,内心想到的竟是上世纪八十年代最优秀也最有代表性的硬科幻电影《银翼杀手》。那部慢节奏且人文气十足的赛博朋克(cyber-punk)电影嘲讽了科幻界对未来世界的幼稚崇拜与盲目幻想,将未来世界冠以一种西方文明分崩离析之下东方文明作为主导的潮湿阴暗、美感颓废、情绪伤感的基调——影片中的反乌托邦色彩,对本质主义的质疑,无处不在的虚无主义,构成了这部电影之所以经久不衰的原因。

这也似乎暗合了赵要本人在其最新作品“有神的信号,有神的信号”中的精神气质:九个宁玛派(红教)喇嘛修行的帐篷错落分布,帐篷里各色LED显示屏播放着不同的TED演讲内容——传统与当代,精神与物质,本质与还原之间的紧张关系,在“有神的信号,有神的信号”这件作品的诸多细节线索中不断得到回溯。

“宁玛”在藏语中是“旧”“古”的意思,相应于其后三大具有革新意味的传承派别,宁玛派是一个没有寺院、组织涣散,也没有系统教义和完整僧侣制度的“古旧”教派。展出使用的帐篷房子是宁玛派喇嘛每年为期一百天的静修时间中必须长时间寄身其中的用品,它们是喇嘛的私物,前后呈方形,内部会根据个人的偏好采用不同的装饰,外部则多为红色和白色。在赵要的创作中,每个帐篷都被置入了一个根据构成google图标的蓝红绿黄四色元素设计的纯色LED屏幕,每个屏幕的颜色都跟帐篷的颜色相和谐。观者从帐篷外部的缝隙中可以窥视到内部LED屏幕上的内容:九个帐篷对应九个截然不同的TED演讲。赵要将每个演讲的掌声、互动和图像去掉,仅用蓝红绿黄四色纯色作为底色,配以白色的中英文演讲词。从帐篷外部看来,纯色LED屏的冷光与红色白色的帐篷颜色两相呼应,传统的宗教与最新的技术两两结合,或许这正是赵要所追求的“银翼杀手”的效果。

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.

有神的信号,有神的信号。

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.

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COSMIC WONDER

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
BY COLIN CHINNERY

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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PLAY

LU PINGYUAN, SHANG LIANG, ZHAO YAO

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.

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The Power of Nature:

A Ten Thousand Square Meter Painting in Beijing

自然的力量:一万平米作品在北京

2018.5.18

工人体育场

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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赵要:它就是对“崇高”进行解压缩的一次过程

2016年11月23日,一幅长116米宽86米大型画布从青海省玉树藏族自治区州囊谦县白扎乡的摩耶寺山脚下开始了一段“爬坡”的征程。作为赵要2012-2013年曾在佩斯伦敦展出的同名项目“精神高于一切”的延展,这次的“晒布仪式”是艺术家从城市经验出发,对“精神性”和“崇高性”的一次再探索。而把地点放在了海拔近5000米高的山顶无人区,通过仁波切和当地200多人的共同协作将这一尺寸接近于巨型唐卡的“画”在荒芜的山坡表面缓慢铺开,赵要认为这是一种做作品的反向过程,不再是将所有的探索浓缩在一个作品里,而是像把压缩包一个个打开,把里面的各种意义、想法在过程中呈现在眼前。

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?

赵要:2016年开始的《精神高于一切》项目本是那场2012-2013年在伦敦“精神高于一切”展览的延伸和发展。当时展出的作品主要也是《很有想法的绘画》,但之后我想改变一下这些绘画的体验感,所以就想到了跟宗教进行结合。宗教这个东西就是你可以怀疑它,但不能完全否定它。所以,我就把那批同样现成游戏的图案,用黑白丙烯画在了牛仔布上,大概有6、7件的样子,然后运到了青海玉树囊谦的寺庙那里。那是在2012年的冬天,当时玉树也地震完,用卡车运过去的过程比较艰苦。当时一套完整的作品其实包括有墙上的黑白寺庙照片,它们很能符合我们对于精神性的想象,而画就挂在了照片上。这是一个影集,是按时间排序展示慢慢一路过去的场景。这三样东西东西合成了一件完整的作品。

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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。

向雪山搬运一万平方米

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Zhao Yao Spirit Above All, 2016

【预告】赵要最新10000m²大型装置”精神高于一切”11月23日即将呈现

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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他为什么要把机场做成地毯?现成品与抽象的艺术

整个人类历史,有一场巨大的抽象

赵要在金盏乡的工作室是典型的厂房,有一千平米左右。他有两个关于艺术的观念非常吸引人:第一,对现成品的运用不再是杜尚式的对现成物质的语境置换,例如大家熟悉的把小便池置换到美术馆,而是对现成思维的置换语境,也就是对教育习惯,审美习惯等精神习惯的重新审视和调离原岗位;第二,抽象艺术对他来说,不仅仅是形式的抽象,例如康定斯基的色块和波洛克的泼洒,而可以是对人类集体无意识的再现式抽象。

对现成思维的语境置换体现在很多作品中,比如赵要的系列绘画作品:《很有想法的绘画》。他的原理就是将非常常见的丙烯颜料在画面上堆积出厚厚的质感,然后将其慢慢打磨,出现一种塑料的感觉,整个画面完全不再是通常审美习惯中的丙烯绘画的平面感,而会给人一种塑料玩具的感受。再比如他在行为作品《伟大的表演》中设计的道具,就是在两块毛茸茸的假动物皮上,打印出两张新闻图片。这两张含有警察、围观群众、治安纠纷的新闻图片被抽象成一种万花筒般的图案,从远处完全感受不到现实和新闻的压力,而是一种被抽象和陌生化的美感。再由演员披挂上这两张动物皮进行萨满巫师一样的游走,给现实、潜意识、审美和宗教,都提出了一个充满魅力却无法解答的问题。把抽象转移到历史政治层面,则是赵要提出的一个革命性的概念。这个概念罕见地得到了西方抽象艺术史的承认。尽管中国传统的抽象完全自有其源深博大,西方的现当代抽象艺术却有一种血统性的傲慢,作为当代艺术的游戏规则制定者而一直很难接受其他文化的抽象艺术。
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赵要 |最后一个鸡蛋  ZhaoYao |The last egg

赵要谈最后一个鸡蛋

现居北京的观念艺术家赵要一直关注艺术形式背后起决定作用的诸多因素本文中赵要讲述了此次在北京公社最新个展最后一个鸡蛋的整体构想以及艺术在当代社会中如何通过对信息的调度和再处理成为捕捉和改变集体意识的有效载体展览将持续到108

我一直觉得在我的创作里没有什么个性可言所谓的特点个性其实是通过分析集体意识里的现象我称之为信息再对其进行重新加工再造而形成的而这种特点也是外部集体对所有这些东西重新审视之后产生的认识具体到这次展览我们花了大半年的时间制作一种人造蛋壳涂料试验了很多次最后在一名树脂化工专业的教授帮助下确定了现在的这个配方蛋壳涂料涂在第一个展厅的四面墙上但有特定的图案”。这些图案实际取自各行各业用来做数据分析的曲线图我选了波动比较大的7-8张图拼成一圈从形式上看这些锯齿状的起伏线很像剥开的蛋壳加上涂料的颜色一进门就会改变观众对白色墙体的印象让原来展厅的白墙看上去很有营养像鸡蛋的蛋白整个展览强调的也是这种调度关系作为生命和营养象征的蛋壳与作为理性分析工具的曲线图结合在一起能够引导出我们内部的很多情结无论是对自然的潜意识欲望还是对理性的依赖这跟我最近在四方美术馆展出的作品宇宙黑在旋转》(2016)有一定联系作品中铝板上涂的黑色颜料是奔驰汽车的一款喷漆这么工业化的原料却被叫做宇宙黑”。不光是奔驰所有国产车进口车都有类似的颜色命名系统我觉得这在某种程度上揭示了我们内心对大自然或风景的一种潜意识欲望或抽象认识那件作品比较有意思的一点是,“宇宙黑这个名字跟天空以及整个装置仰望天空跟随太阳的动作之间永远处于某种循环关系中这次的作品同样如此一方面我们需要用曲线图这种理性工具去总结过去分析未来获得某种可控性而另一方面蛋壳的易碎特质永远是不可控的就像用这种涂料涂墙你不可能控制得了最终呈现的效果总有意外发生墙面总在不断剥落

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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

金属漆,铝板,太阳能双轴跟踪器,金属支架
metallic paint, aluminum, dual-axis solar tracker, metal stand
尺寸可变 | size variable
起始时间:2016.6.5
一块覆盖了“宇宙黑”的黑色方块被安放在全自动的双轴太阳能跟踪器上面。从此它将仰望苍穹永远追随着太阳运动。宇宙⿊黑是奔驰汽车的191#颜色

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

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《很有想法的雕塑》2016/A Sculpture of Thought

A Beautiful Disorder/Jul 3rd – Nov 6th
CASS SCULPTURE FOUNDATION
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.
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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

绝对收藏指南

2015.98-10.8

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 »

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昨天深夜Y先生和大艺术家们【在三里屯跳大神】

2015-09-15 18:26  Ymedia(Y先生)

昨天凌晨两点钟,Y先生在三里屯太古里漆黑的某家店里亲眼目击了一件非常可怕的事,天了噜!好像看见衣服成精了……

关于这件非常诡异的事,Y先生还寻找到了一段故事:

鬼 剪

从前有个裁缝,被个满脸是毛,长着五条腿的鬼爪了,鬼说他小姨子的小孩满月,他需要一件华丽,与众不同的衣服,叫裁缝做出来,如果做好了,送他件宝物;做的不好,就把他拿去喂虫。那个虫屁股上有根刺,背上像液晶大屏幕一样全部都是人的脸,应该是那些被它吃掉的人,身上花纹随着呼吸会动。裁缝只能答应。鬼给他一把剪刀,这把剪刀能剪很多东西:剪山,剪河,剪季节,还能剪时间和光。凭借着自己的才华,加上这把剪刀,经过好久终于把衣服做出来了。鬼也说话算话,把剪刀送给了他。很多年过去了,这把剪刀今天在哪谁也不知道…

好了!Y先生不犯中二病了,昨天夜里也没看见鬼。Y先生只是昨天夜里两点围观了一下三位大艺术家何岸、陆平原、赵要以及UCCA的尤馆长一起在三里屯太古里的JNBY美丽旗舰店里布了一个展。而前面那段鬼故事,正是其中一位大艺术家陆平原为这个展览写的。

没有错!尊贵的B神清场看卢浮宫,屌丝就只能排队2小时入场。谁要在今天和一大帮媒体抢开幕新闻,Y先生就是要尊贵的独家报导昨天晚上布展时候的大抓马啊。

还是别跟LOW货聊艺术了【因为他们都是这样看展的】

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About Painting Too

与绘画的动作有关

2015/08/22-2015/11/01

“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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PAINTING OF THOUGHT/很有想法的繪畫

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 »

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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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INSIDE CHINA

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.

ZHAO YAOINSIDE CHINA : L’INTÉRIEUR DU GÉANT

 20/10/2014 – 11/01/2015

奇迹 美兰机场 小

HARMONIOUS SOCIETY/天下无事

27 SEPTEMBER – 23 NOVEMBER 2014

Wonder ©Zhao Yao 赵要

 

Zhao Yao

Wonder, 2014

奇迹

Zhao Yao has created contoured carpets featuring aerial views of Chinese airports undergoing development and expansion, reflective of the country’s rapid urbanization. Visitors are invited to walk across the carpets, like the travellers who pass through these airports, and when the exhibition is finished, they will bear the traces of those who have passed by.

Wonder ©Zhao Yao 赵要

Wonder ©Zhao Yao 赵要

HARMONIOUS SOCIETY/天下无事

Responding to the Asia Triennial Manchester 14 (ATM14) theme of ‘conflict and compassion’, this exhibition will be seen from an international perspective, re-examining the ‘conflicts’ as well as the ‘harmony’ of China, or indeed, the Greater China, and that of Asia and the world.

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Vitrines sur l’Art  at Galeries Lafayette/东京宫巴黎老佛爷展览项目

 Exhibition period: 07.07.2014-.7.30.2014

Zhao Yao’s works “Now” and “Great Performance No.4” will be shown at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. In Vitrines surl’Art of the Galeries Lafayette, in the framework of the partnership with K11 Art Foundation and the Modules-Foundation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Lauren hors les murs.

Vitrines surl’Art:
For the 6th consecutive year, Galeries Lafayette presents the event “Vitrines sur l’Art” from the 7th to the 30th July 2014 in Paris. Museums and arts centres are invited to sponsor window displays at the Haussmann store. This year, each institution teams up with one artist who makes one (or several) previously unseen installations for the windows. Through the works of the artists on display, visitors will have a panoramic vision of creation and design today and the cultural offerings of their city.
“Vitrines sur l’Art” forms part of Galeries Lafayette’s commitment connecting it with creation and design. Founded to democratize fashion and make the beautiful accessible to all, Galeries Lafayette puts its trust in artists to enlighten us on the future and open our eyes to the world of possibilities before us.
Curator Jo-ey Tang selected Zhao Yao as the artist of 2014. This is also the first time that Palais de Tokyo works with Chinese artist on the “Vitrines sur l’Art” project.
 

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