In the afternoon of February 24th, APSMUSEUM will invite Ms. Alice Chen, founder of Positive Art Research Centre (PARC) , Mr. Shi Yong, artist, Artistic Director of ShanghART Gallery; Mr. Yang Zhenzhong, artist, to have a conversation on the artworks of Shi Yong and Yang Zhenzhong, two of the participating artists of Ensemble Urbain. The forum will be hosted by Mr. Sun Qidong, curator of Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum.
The topic of the forum is the eponymous of the memoir by Paul Auster, the renowned American writer. In the book, solitude makes Paul Auster deviate from his pursuit of the self, which becomes a metaphor for the artist’s creation state.
“When everything is untraceable and isolated, all people can do is to observe. However, it is quite another matter whether people can find meanings from what they observe.”
The artist constantly has dialogue with material, time and space, and emotions, but the works he creates always leave the viewer in a state of aphasia, turning the viewer into an outsider. And then, the permanent image of an outsider—if not the only one—is a true portrayal of life in modern urban life with nowhere to stop. The forum, “The Invention of Solitude”, hopes to take the exhibited works and artistic practices of artists Shi Yong and Yang Zhenzhong as start point, together with all the audience, whether or not they attend the event, to abandon the single interpretation of art and think about what real art is.
In the exhibition of Ensemble Urbain at APSMUSEUM, Shi Yong presents the work Inside or Out. The concept of the work is derived from the spatial reorganization of the simplified Chinese character “Inside”: the strokes of “Inside” are dismantled, and the dismantled strokes are reconstructed in an enclosed way. A separate hinge is placed at each stoke connection, so that it can be closed inward (locking fasteners are set at the last two stroke junctions as a hint that it can be closed completely) or opened outward. The reconstructed spatialized font is set in the ambiguous state of the closed and the opened.
Yang Zhenzhong presents the video work Light and Easy 2 in the exhibition. In the work, he arranged the video of cityscape along the Bund upside. Beneath the appearance of urbanization, Yang realized the change in physical weight of the city and therefore defined its weightlessness as a descriptive element in this piece by holding the crucial construction upside down. In this very series, Light and Easy encourages the awareness accompanied by significance. The series smashes the inside and the outside, which are previously separated, and produces a drama which is both amusing and thought-provoking.
By discussing space, the inside and the outside, the two artists express different understanding of urban landscape changes, human consciousness, knowledge, text, and materials.
SUN Qidong is a curator, art critic and writer.
He has been curator in charge of the curatorial department at the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum since 2014. Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum is considered one of the most leading public contemporary art museums opened in 2008 in China, supported by China Minsheng Bank, the first private bank in China to sponsor contemporary art. He has long been committed to work and studies between curatorial practice and theoretical research, in which he explores the relationship between aesthetics, politics and economy. Over the past 5 years, Sun has organized group exhibitions including Continuous Terminus (2018), Do you wanna play with me (2015), and Non Figurative (2015). Non Figurative incorporated interactive and immersive works by artists such as Xu Zhen, Yang Zhenzhong, Zhang Enli, Zheng Guogu; he has curated important retrospectives and solo exhibitions by Yang Zhenzhong, Tatsuo Miyajima, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Shi Yong, Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg. He has also written numerous articles for the catalogues of artists Shi Yong, Zhang Ding, Tatsuo Miyajima and Adrian Villar Rojas, Yang Zhenzhong etc.
Alice Chen, artist.
Founded “Positive Art Research Centre” in 2018, which aims to to research, practice, and promote art that brings positive force to human beings and society.
In 2020, she created “Project Terrace @ 1431 Huaihai Middle Road.” As the host of the project, Alice Chen invites Shanghai-based artists to 1431 Huaihai Middle Road to create site-specific works that interact with the terrace, and allow them to practice, research, and exchange ideas based on the concept of “Positive Art.” Until now, the project has been held for four terms: Term I “Zhang Ding: No Echo”; Term II “Yu Ji:「Stones in her Pocket」 | am「······」”; Term III “Shi Yong: Caution! Your Intervention will make an impact on it, as it will also make an impact on you”, and special performance “Liu Yanan: UN-balance”, Term IV “Yin Yi: Music on the Terrace”. Term V is pleased to invite artist Yang Zhenzhong; please stay tuned for more information.
Shi Yong (born 1963) is a representative figure of contemporary Chinese artists who first started working with installation and video media. Since 1993, his works have been widely exhibited both in China and abroad. His earliest artistic practices focused on revealing the subtlety of our reality and the inherent tension of the "system". Since the end of 1990s, Shi began focusing on the idea of Shanghai’s transformations under the Chinese economic reform, which contributed to a discussion of globalization and consumerism. Since 2006, with the work "Sorry, There will be no Documenta in 2007", he turned his attention to the art world itself, pondering how to provide a more rational perspective through his creative works. Shi Yong’s 2015 solo exhibition "Let All Potential Be Internally Resolved Using Beautiful Form" continues his artistic practice, disclosing his intention to expand the reflection and practice of “control” under the seemingly “abstract” future.
Yang Zhenzhong was born in 1968 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, and is currently based in Shanghai. As a practicing artist, Yang works primarily in the field of conceptual art with media that span from video, photography and installation to painting and sculpture. For decades, he is an active member of the international contemporary art scene and has showcased twice in the Venice Biennale (2003 and 2007). As a curator, he has collaborated with artists in Shanghai since the late 1990s and planned and initiated exhibitions including “Art For Sale”, “Dial 62761232: Express Art Exhibition” “Hipic”, and dozens of other important contemporary art shows and projects. Yang’s creations have always been centring on the issue of life and death and highlighting the multitude of contradictions and disorders in the society with a cynical attitude on one hand. On the other hand, he translates and recycles the people, objects and landscapes in everyday urban life and political space.