ZHAO ZHAO 赵赵
3.21 - 4.24, 2016
Tang Contemporary Art is proud to present a major solo exhibition at their new Central gallery space for leading contemporary Chinese artist ZHAO ZHAO, curated by Cui Cancan. The exhibition will present new works from the artist’s series Lighter, Fragments, Untitled, and Safe, which he spent a year producing. Working in a wide variety of materials and techniques, the new works address the subject of security.
Security is an emotion, a psychological feeling so integral to social structure as an experience of trust and reliability; it is also a physical and psychological premonition of threat and risk, when an individual must discern between the power and the powerless.
These feelings are prevalent in China where the people have fallen vulnerable to their country’s particular social structure. Large-scale protests have occurred in response to various unexpected events, with the collective concern for security now evident in the individual’s daily experience.
Cui Cancan is an active Chinese independent curator. He was the winner of the CCAA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award) Critics’ Award, Critics’ Award in Chinese contemporary art by YISHU (Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art), the annual award by L’OFFICIEL Art and so on. He was also appointed special observer for the 13th Kassel Documenta. As a curator, Cui contributed to the success of major exhibitions including Heiqiao Night Away (2013), FUCKOFF II (2013), Unlived by What is Seen (2014), Ai Weiwei solo exhibition (2015), etc.
Tang Contemporary Art will concurrently feature two projects by Zhao Zhao in Art Basel Hong Kong – unveiling a new video work Taklamakan Project in the fair’s FILM section as well as showcasing an installation in the booth.
Cui Cancan | Zhao Zhao: Hong Kong Solo Exhibition
Between 2013 and 2016, Zhao Zhao collected a number of colonial-era safes from Tianjin and Shanghai. He was intensely interested in their production. Why were they needed? What caused such insecurity? Zhao Zhao recreated these safes in solid marble of similar size and scale. He had stripped the safes of their functionality, retaining only their solemn and dignified appearance. In a similar approach, he reconstructed a cheap, disposable lighter as a work of ornamental jade, spending a tremendous amount of time and resources in order to detach the spirit from the object, thus elevating it to a new dimension beyond its practical, basic purpose. From that point on, everything it represented entered into a new realm.
Timeout Hong Kong | Chinese artist Zhao Zhao: "I've never seen myself as anti-conformist"
One of China’s most provocative modern artists, Zhao Zhao has emerged from the shadow of his mentor, Ai Weiwei, and is making waves in his own right. Hannah Hodson talks to him ahead of his exhibition Lighter, Fragments, Untitled and Safe at Tang Contemporary Art.
Born to a family exiled to Xinjiang, the remote Uighur province of northwest China, controversial artist Zhao Zhao has always lived on the fringes of society. Since his first arrest in 1999, for a performance art piece, he has been watched by the Chinese government and seen a string of further convictions added to his record.
His latest exhibition touches on the subject of security, a privilege many in China are denied and a right many Hongkongers are fighting to keep. We chat to the multi talented artist about his upcoming show and the role of art in politics…
Untitled, oil on canvas, 37 x 25 cm, 2016
Untitled, oil on canvas, 37 x 25 cm, 2016
Safe, white marble, 52 x 52 x 65 cm, 2015
Lighter, suet white jade, 8 x 2 x 0.8 cm, 2015
Fragments, brass, 90 x 210 cm, 2015
Zhao Zhao graduated from the Xinjiang Institute of the Arts in 2003 and later attended the Beijing Film Academy. The former assistant to Ai Weiwei and now regarded a significant figure among the young Post-80s generation of contemporary Chinese artists – Zhao Zhao’s work is often associated with anti-authoritarian or non-conformist tendencies, renowned for confronting existing ideological structures and exercising the power of individual free will in his work. His provocative, multidisciplinary artistic practice has garnered him international attention in recent years with critically-acclaimed exhibitions across China, North America and Europe as an ‘artist to watch’.
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