In the video Let’s Puff! (2002), Yang Zhenzhong alludes to the factors that are currently changing the face of Shanghai. A long panorama of the metropolis’s main street stands opposite a portrait of a young girl exhaling slowly; her breath seems to be projected onto the other screen, suddenly hastening the speed of the video. This encounter creates an unexpected dialogue that moves to the rhythm of the girl’s breathing. As she exhales more quickly, the work evokes the rapid urban expansion and frenetic modernization in China.
Yang Zhenzhong was born in 1968 in Hangzhou, China.
He lives and works in Shanghai, China.
Since the mid-1990s, Yang Zhenzhong has been developing a multifaceted body of work that combines elements of installation, photography, performance, and video. The moving image, previously underrepresented on the Chinese art scene, is a recent experimental field that enables him to apprehend a wide range of techniques and forms. Beginning with Lucky Family (1995), the artist has described from a distance the issues of family policy and social planning in contemporary Chinese society. His film sequences convey the movement, both real and metaphoric, of the city of Shanghai and its population through various destabilizing effects (Shanghai Face, 1999). Zhenzhong undercuts, one by one, the speed of video (Let’s Puff!, 2002), the scale of shooting (Light as Fuck, 2003), and the clarity of the image (Light Box, 2005). The simplicity of his photographic collages (Light and Easy, 2002) sits aslongside the technical sophistication of his multiscreen installations (Don’t Move, 2006). Monitors are piled on top of one another or arranged in rows, with projections engaging in dialogue or repeating endlessly (I Will Die, 2000). The artist’s visual strategies and the humour that permeates them draw upon the registers of allegory and play, a legacy of the farcical and playful aspects of Chinese culture.
Yang Zhenzhong has taken part in the Venice Biennale (2005, 2007), the Shanghai Biennale (2002), and numerous exhibitions devoted to contemporary Chinese art (China Now, MoMA, New York, 2004; Alors la Chine?, Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, 2003). His works have also been presented in group exhibitions (Global Cities, Tate Modern, London, 2007) and solo shows (IKON Gallery, Birmingham, 2006; Nikolaj Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen, 2008).
LES ATELIERS JEAN BRILLANT
3550, Saint-Jacques St. West
514 390 0383
SEPT. 10–OCT. 11, 2009
Wednesday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
> Opening Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 at 6:30 p.m.
> Guided tour by Guest Curator, Gaëlle Morel, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009 at 2 p.m.
Correction to the program:
The work is not presented for the first time in Canada.