Tang Contemporary Art is proud to announce the opening of Yang Zhenzhong's solo exhibition “Surveillance and Panorama” on September 1, 2018, in the first space of Beijing. Curated by Lu Mingjun, this exhibition focuses on the dissemination of visual images and channels of visual perception, and has created a political theater rooted, like the control mechanisms of power, in the surveillance structure.
The exhibition comprises three parts. The first part is a looped, revolving installation at the center of the exhibition space, at the center of which is a mirrored pillar with wire fencing, surrounded by six couches made to official international conference standards. Viewers are free to sit down and take in the paintings and video works on the surrounding walls as the couches slowly rotate. The fenced mirror pillar reflects everything that happens around it.
The second part of the exhibition is a corresponding series of paintings hanging on three of the walls in the same space. The paintings are derived from official news downloaded from the internet, from which he extracted images of indoor scenes, many of them of meeting halls, conference rooms or other spaces made to official standards. Due to the absence of people, or his intentional removal of them, these scenes look more like still life paintings. Yang Zhenzhong has preserved the low resolution of the images from when they were downloaded, and in the process of magnifying them as paintings, highlighted their granulation and texture. Meanwhile, from the design of the frames and the background, these images appear to be in the process of being Photoshopped.
For the third part of the exhibition, Yang Zhenzhong installed four wireless cameras in two hidden corners of the exhibition space and behind two of the couches. Live feeds from the cameras automatically alternate between each other on an LED screen mounted on a separate wall in the space.
As for why choosing “Still Life and Landscape” as the exhibition title, it is because of the sense of the mundane and the “soft universality” of still life and landscape painting, and even touches on the historical origins of the still life and the landscape. Still lifes are often up-close views, while landscapes are distant views. At first, however, they were both liberated from religion, gaining subjectivity from the repression of power. This logic corresponds with Yang Zhenzhong's concepts and discourse.We can see that still life and landscape painting both underwent a progression from the divine light to the “light” of nature and life. As Yang Zhenzhong sees it, the ideology that permeates everyday experience is itself a massive discursive space and confluence of energy, and for that reason, he hopes to use perceptual intersections and dialectic hybrids of vision (image) and politics to release more dimensions of power and momentum of life.
Born in 1968 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, YANG Zhenzhong has been living and working in Shanghai for more than 20 years with a career closely related to the development of new media art around the area. The key themes of YANG’s works are to strengthen the contradictions and disorders existed in the society with a cynical attitude, as well as the discovering and thinking on the issue of life and death on one hand, to utilise the perception of the space in political and psychological levels on the other hand. Important solo exhibitions include: Trespassing, YANG Zhenzhong Solo Exhibition, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shanghai (2013); Don't Move, Yang Zhengzhong Solo Exhibition, ShanghART, Beijing (2011); YANG ZHENZHONG, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K(2006). group show: Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York(2017); 11th Shanghai Biennale, Why Not Ask Again?, Power Station of Art, Shanghai(2016); 52nd International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale, Think with the Senses-Feel with the Mind, Venice, Italy(2007). His works can also be found in collection of significant public and private institutes such as MoMA New York, IKON Gallery (UK), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Musée National d’Art Moderne, White Rabbit Gallery and the UBS Collection.
With a PhD in History, Lu Mingjun is now an associate professor of art history in the College of Art, Sichuan University. He has published a number of articles in Literature & Art Studies, Art Studies, 21st Century(Hong Kong), Artforum, etc. His recent books include Visual Cognition and Art History: Michel Foucault, Hubert Damisch, Jonathan Crary (2014), Post-Sense Sensibility·Art for Sale·Long March Projects: Contemporary Art Practice and Social Change in China Since 1999（2018）, Principles and Literati Spirit: Concepts and Changes in Social Contexts in Huang Binhong’s Painting theory (2018), etc. He is currently engaged in planning several exhibitions, “Territory: Topology of Geopolitics” (2017-2018), “Assembling” (2018), among others. He has won several awards, including China Research Grant of Robert HN Ho Family Foundation (2015), YiShu Contemporary Chinese Art Award (2016), Asian Cultural Council Grant (2017), the 6th CCAA Critic Award (2017), etc.