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Yang Zhenzhong Biography

The desire to challenge normative notions of social behavior informs the practices of Yang Zhenzhong's work. He is preoccupied with China’s intrinsic disharmony and extreme discrepancies and often touches upon taboos such as death and out-dated social norms. His approach is metaphorical rather than narrative. His videos often start from witty ideas, employing image repetition and rhythmic coordination of sound, language and image. Yang Zhenzhong became famous in 2000 with his video (I Know) I Will Die that features short sequences in which a series of different people speak the phrase "I will die" to the camera. It is a disconcerting, soberly presented film that confronts viewers with existential questions. Yang Zhenzhong recognizes that individual participation is the starting point for a transformation of perception. The video 922 Grains of Rice plays with the interaction of the image of a cock and a chicken pecking grains of rice and the sound of a male and a female voice counting the number of pecked grains. It is a humorous representation of the battle of sexes as well a comment on today’s competitive behavior.

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Let's Puff (4th Shanghai Biennale, 50th Venice Biennial – Zone of Urgency) similarly starts from the interplay of two images: a young woman puffing and a busy street. Every time the woman breathes, the image of the street moves away from the viewer. The rhythm of the traffic and the angle of perception are altered with the rhythm of the woman's breath. Yang Zhenzhong's playful videos are more than visual reflections; they are intelligent comments on the design of contemporary society. In a series of photos entitled Light and Easy, he perceives the weight of urban changes as an exterior phenomenon, and literally depicts the process as a weightless factor, turning urban landmarks upside down. Light and Easy is based upon a conviction that the lightness of the isolated exterior or interior is a source of interesting material. The successful experiments the artist has executed to formulate connections are exciting, sincere and disturbing.

Born in Xiaoshan in 1968, Yang Zhenzhong now lives and works in Shanghai. He graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the China Fine Arts Academy in Hangzhou in 1993 and began working with video and photography in 1995. Yang Zhenzhong's work has been showed at nearly all major biennales and triennials including Venice (2003/2007), Shanghai (2002), Guangzhou (2002) and Gwangju (2002).

Yang Zhenzhong Featured Artworks

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Spring Story (script) 春天的故事(手稿) by Yang Zhenzhong contemporary artwork works on paper
Yang ZhenzhongSpring Story (script) 春天的故事(手稿), 2003Handwriting on printed form, 20 pieces
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Surveillance and Panorama #1 by Yang Zhenzhong contemporary artwork painting
Yang ZhenzhongSurveillance and Panorama #1, 2018Oil on canvas
128.5 x 150 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Contact Gallery
Surveillance and Panorama #2 by Yang Zhenzhong contemporary artwork painting
Yang ZhenzhongSurveillance and Panorama #2, 2018Oil on canvas
150 x 50 cm
Tang Contemporary Art Contact Gallery
Passage No. 16 by Yang Zhenzhong contemporary artwork installation
Yang ZhenzhongPassage No. 16, 2015Acrylic on canvas, installation
217 x 155 x 155 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Fish Bowl by Yang Zhenzhong contemporary artwork moving image
Yang ZhenzhongFish Bowl, 1996Single-channel video installation, three monitors, a video machine, a concave glass fish bowl, iron
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Passage No.15 by Yang Zhenzhong contemporary artwork installation
Yang ZhenzhongPassage No.15, 2014Car paint on 2mm Stainless Steel
100 x 73.5 x 17 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery

Yang Zhenzhong Recent Exhibitions

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Yang Zhenzhong Represented By

ShanghART contemporary art gallery in Singapore ShanghART Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore

Yang Zhenzhong In Ocula Magazine

Yang Zhenzhong In Related Press

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At the Shanghai Biennale, a Desire to Disrupt the Status Quo Related Press At the Shanghai Biennale, a Desire to Disrupt the Status Quo 25 January 2017, Hyperallergic

A gigantic metallic structure resembling a crashed airplane beckons from the second level of the vast Shanghai Power Station of Art that is host to the 11th edition of the Shanghai Biennale. Designed

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'The Dynamics': Chinese multimedia art at ShanghART in Singapore Related Press 'The Dynamics': Chinese multimedia art at ShanghART in Singapore 16 November 2016, Art Radar Journal

Mention new media art, and the first things which might come to mind are a sense of ephemerality and insubstantiality – the evanescence of artworks which exist, in some sense, as particular arrangements of bits. Not so with The Dynamics, a largely new media-based group exhibition at Singapore’s ShanghART gallery, which places some...

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Germany opens its largest-ever show of modern Chinese art Related Press Germany opens its largest-ever show of modern Chinese art 22 May 2015, Deutsche Welle

There's never before been an exhibition of contemporary Chinese art of this magnitude: Eight cities, nine museums, 120 artists, 500 works. For audiences in Germany, the question is on the tip of their tongues: Just how much influence did Chinese officials play in the making of " China 8," which opens to the public on May 14 and...

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Harmonious Society, Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art Related Press Harmonious Society, Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art 25 November 2014, Aesthetica Magazine / 20 November 2014

A key strand of Asia Triennial Manchester 2014, Harmonious Society is a major exhibition of new commissions and UK premieres featuring over 30 major artists from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Exhibited across six key spaces in Manchester, the project curated by the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art is on view until 23 November. Responding to...

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