Arrow Factory is very pleased to present Fences, a new work by Shanghai-based artist Yang Zhenzhong. Uncannily timed to echo the government campaign to brick up storefronts in the neighboring hutongs, Yang has replaced Arrow Factory’s original glass façade with a stark wall and barred fenestration. The size and placement of the window is reminiscent of residential dwellings, however instead of a domestic scene within, the view through the vertical bars features a two-way mirror confronting visitors with their own reflected image. Toying with dichotomies of inside versus outside, the caged window provides an ambiguous statement as to which side of the barrier is the interior and which is the exterior. Yang further addresses our selfie-obsessed and surveillance-engulfed condition by surreptitiously mounting a security camera behind the two-way mirror. Undetectable to passersby, the camera records all movements day and night over the course of the exhibition. The live footage is recorded and displayed on a monitor housed inside a neighboring café. As a result, it is impossible to view the work without it secretly watching you back. This layering of the viewing experience—from the self to the self-reflected to the camera as voyeur—spins an intricate web of eyes, turning all into simultaneous viewers and subjects, cagily watching and being watched.
Some of Yang’s previous works incorporate similar elements found in Fences—rooms full of mirrors in his solo show at OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai (2013) and a series of security cameras installed in an unmanned corner shop in the group show It’s All Right in Hangzhou (2006). Recent fortuitous government statements declaring the need for “restraining power in a cage of regulations,” also speak to the timeliness of Fences and its articulation of limits, whether manifested through physical spaces, networks and/or influence.
Yang Zhenzhong (b. 1968 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province) creates irreverent videos and wry installations that comment on prevailing social constructs. His pieces have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Shanghai Biennale, Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art, and Lyon Biennale. His works are included in collections at MoMA New York, IKON Gallery (UK), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Musée National d’Art Moderne and the UBS Collection. He lives and works in Shanghai.
Yang Zhenzhong|Fences is made possible in part through the support of New Century Art Foundation (NCAF)