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 FRIEZE MAGAZINE

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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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

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。

2016年至2017年实施的此项目是艺术家赵要2013年于伦敦佩斯画廊举办的个展“精神高于一切”的延续和发展。这件巨幅的大型装置作品图形选自《很有想法的绘画》作品中相同的思维游戏图案,经过北京工厂一年多的准备和制作后于2016 年 10月运抵实施地。2016年11月,150多位当地村民一起用一整天的时间,将其固定在海拔近5, 000米的无人区雪山山顶,将代表都市与现代化审美的抽象几何图案暴露在人迹罕至的环境里,在漫长冬季的恶劣自然中接受大风大雪的浸染和日月星辰的照耀。经过近半年的风吹日晒,浮华尽去,色彩渐褪,自然与人文的种种痕迹完整地留在了作品的表面。约翰·沃尔夫冈·冯·歌德在其作品《少年维特之烦恼》中写道:“只有自然,才是无穷丰富,只有自然才能造就大艺术家。”2017年5月,作品顺利撤下并运回至北京,自此开始在城市中的巡回。2018年5月18日,这块蕴含丰富经历、保留诸多痕迹的大型装置作品被带到位于繁华都市中心的北京工人体育场,第一次完全展开呈现。此前的自然与人文经历被注入新的展示空间中,使现代性和都市化的丰富历史文化认知与记忆在此汇聚。艺术家期望以此触发久居在现代化都市里的人们心中对自然精神的向往和对坚韧意志的追求。 Details »

赵要:它就是对“崇高”进行解压缩的一次过程

《艺术世界》谭昉莹 采访整理

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。

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Video:向雪山搬运一万平方米 

VICE中国    创想计划   陆冉  

简介: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。

11月23日,我们在青海省玉树藏族自治州囊谦县的一处海拔5000米左右的山坡上看着对面:大约五、六十个藏民和喇嘛正喊着号子,向山顶一点一点搬运一条长长的蓝色画卷。一些小喇嘛先跑到高处,向空中分撒印着经文的“风马”,彩色的纸片在阳光下亮闪闪的,像是白天里的星星。那条画卷看起来真的很沉,经过了大概四、五个小时,才沿着45度的山坡被抬到了计划的位置。但从对面飘来的藏语听起来,人们还是很兴奋。我们的导演和摄影师 Kaiwen 问我,你有没有看过赫尔佐格的《陆上行舟》?我说没有,他说你应该看看,画面太像了。 这是艺术家赵要的项目“精神高于一切”(Spirit above all)。今年9月,他在北京找到一个工厂制作了一个面积接近10000平方米的画卷,一路用卡车运到青海,打算在当地法会期间,像晒佛仪式一样把它从山顶上铺展下来。“晒佛”通常是把巨大的唐卡卷轴从山顶上铺展下来,对藏地居民来说是一件神圣的事情,可是赵要的图案没有任何意义,那只是他从一本益智游戏书本上随意选取的一幅画面。他的解释也有点像开玩笑:这一个毫无意义的东西,在法会现场经过了一百多个仁波切的加持,又在艰苦的环境下经过了一个冬天,它是不是就具有了某种意义? 当天清早,一辆“大力神”卡车装载着作品、赵要、我们和其他几位朋友,沿着峡谷一路颠簸到实施地点。经过“观看”一整天的搬运和铺展,我们就差点因为高原反应和不小心掉进溪水而倒下,至今我也无法想象藏民和喇嘛是如何把这个3吨多重的东西弄到山顶固定好的。而这些困难似乎就是赵要想要的:一定得是巨大的、偏远的,然后人们就会调动自己的经验,赋予这件作品以精神性。他是创造了意义还是消除了意义?这是一个好问题。 Details »

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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!

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Zhao Yao: Spirit Above All

Voon Pow Bartlett | Yishu Volume 12, Number 4, July/August 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]

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