Tang Contemporary Art is proud to announce the opening of Zhao Zhao's solo exhibition Zhao Zhao on 20 March 2021, in the first space of Beijing. This exhibition is curated by Cui Cancan.
If we can still consider 'the present' a complete world, then its spirit is certainly fractured and ambiguous. Different systems, multiple standards, and disparate values have greatly shaken familiar traditions and arts.
As a key figure in the new generation of artists, Zhao Zhao has pioneered a new way of working. His artistic vision is extremely broad, with his work and life spanning many different disciplines. From founding a fashion label, designing for other brands, operating a space, and editing books to collecting ancient artifacts and engaging in an exacting study of lifestyles, Zhao Zhao breaks the boundaries between conceptual artist, fashion designer, and celebrity and smooths over the cracks between art and life.
Bizarre yet concrete work can overshadow the uniqueness of art, but new work also redefines art and makes it incredible. Zhao Zhao engages with a wide range of art, including two-thousand-year-old Han figurines, limited-edition sneakers, a lost Tocharian language, white cotton, marble bamboo ladders, convenient instant noodles, shattered glass, a Louis Vuitton bag, and Buddhist charms. These works of art are wide-ranging and miscellaneous, involving the typical trends and scenes of our era. Zhao Zhao applies and expands the possibilities of multiple mediums without reservations, engaging with many different areas—artifacts, books, art, design, texts, pictures, products, and advertisements—that provide a window into our complex world.
Zhao Zhao has created art that belongs to this era but could also resist it. His work is traditional yet contemporary, common yet literary, scholarly yet commercial, consumable yet eternal, regional yet global. It is sometimes extremely precise and there is only a 'yes' or 'no,' but it is also sometimes vague, something boring and unrelated.
In this exhibition, Zhao Zhao combats chaos with chaos and represents complexity with complexity. He does not offer a single viewpoint or cross-section, and he certainly does not present that heavy critique of reality that he has in past exhibitions, a seemingly real conceptual thread. Zhao Zhao presents this era, which cannot be described, its multiple layered realities, and its endless spread. Specious conclusions make the world complicated and confusing. They are nearer to the truth than refinement and summarization, such that, behind these works of art, we find it difficult to clearly articulate the lack of substance under a hard surface or, in contrast, to see the profound vision behind the softness.
This is an art world that feels unfamiliar; here, art seems ambiguous, empty, and dull, but it makes a show of seriousness. However, how can art that has lost its ambiguity, emptiness, and dullness become devoid of meaning? Andy Warhol once said that department stores were kind of like museums, and today, if you look closely, the entire world is a museum.
Text by Cui Cancan. Press release courtesy Tang Contemporary Art.
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