Opening Reception | November 1, 2020, 5-8pm
Exhibition | November 2, 2020 through February 21, 2021
Venue | Rén Space, No.10, Lane 133, Shangwen Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Curator | Sun Qidong
As Yang Zhenzhong’s first solo exhibition with Rén Space, the works presented are his new sculptural installation and video works from his recent collaboration with Rén Space using the latest robotic carving technologies.
The exhibition includes a series of stone carvings made in the Chongwu area in Fujian province, and a short film shot in the area of the local craftsmen. The stone carvings are chained and intertwined, frequently seen as stone barriers in different natural tourist areas in China. However, the difference is how the chains are essential and inseparable from the conception in literal and physical sense. While taking full advantage of the latest technology, Yang Zhenzhong deliberately denies the totally automated creating process. He interrupts the flow and embeds his individual artistic knowledge by hand to announce that “the double premises of human-nature binary opposition and human superiority have failed.” 1
The film Refresh establishes the critical foundation of this work, declaring that it is not to be evaluated solely on artificial intelligence and technology. It does not stop at realistic documentation of the whole creative process, but also amplifies the artist’s intention through interruption recorded at higher than normal frame rates.
These new works deeply resonate in Yang Zhenzhong’s interplay between commentary of the most relevant issues at hand, and material experiences through different techniques that may lead to a sense of an immense, and perhaps ambitious discoveries. It also marks a new stage in Yang Zhenzhong’s continued evolution of distinctive vocabulary whilst also reflecting his keen observations of current society.
"Camus insists that Sisyphus should be considered happy, because he gets to know the night, gets to move the boulder and to take control of his own fate. The time we are caught in, is a time in which humans co-exist with the machines. If humans simply set the digitalized technologies free, there will not be a future for the humankind. For his stone, Yang creates chains ex natura. Seemingly, this is as meaningless as Sisyphus’s labor, but he is as well happy, because it concerns a man’s integrity. An artist is not mankind’s master, but can be the master of his own life. Each laborer can be a master as such, as long as he knows the night, and is willing to be engaged. The pharmacology of labor ushers in the dawn, at which laborers are no longer treated as animals." – Sun Qidong, Curator
1. Sun Qidong, Curatorial Essay for Yang Zhenzhong, “Exposure,” 2020.