What is clear from all of Zhou Zixi's work is the degree to which he understands the profound power of place and its capacity to transcend the prosaic and evoke complex metaphors of history, memory and nostalgia. Zhou Zixi, both in his photographic work as well as in his paintings, regularly exploits the power of place to create images of uninhabited landscapes and estranged interiors that nonetheless generate a multitude of narratives. His work moves with startling ease between modern rooms decorated in bright primary colors to dark scenes that allude to the menacing weight of history. The common strand that runs through these two extremes is a powerful ideology that imposes itself on space. In a documentary series entitled Sorry, I don't Know, Zhou Zixi takes a blown up photograph of a portrait of a man covering his face with his hands and posits it in random topographical spaces. His aim is to insert a contextless image into non-descript urban landscapes to trigger an unframed, unexpected visual encounter. The effect is not imposed on the spectator; on the contrary, the work offers a willfully ambivalent approach, open to a variety of interpretations.Read More
Zhou Zixi's recent paintings oscillate between high art and kitsch, integrating a visual language that is particularly crude due to the superficiality of the environments depicted. What we see in these pictures are interior spaces filled with new consumer goods and other symbols of newly gained economic status. Rather than a calming notion of home, these paintings depict the external manifestation of China's chaotic development. These interiors evoke not awe but alienation, and the bright canvases and slick surfaces mirror the shallow world of consumerism. While his paintings might be a serious take on many of society's less attractive features, some images also pay surprising tribute to fellow artists: he references their work by decorating his imaginary interiors with their paintings, a practice that also underscores the sentiment that contemporary art is integral to the logic of consumerism and daily reality.
Zhou Zixi was born in Jiangxi province in 1970. He currently lives and works in Shanghai. Recent solo exhibitions include Late Spring and Early Summer, ShanghART Beijing (2011); China 1946-1949, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai (2008); Interiors, BüroFriedrich, Berlin, Germany (2006); Happy Life, Zhou Zixi Solo exhibition, Bizart, Shanghai (2005). Recent exhibition include First Kyiv International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine (2012); China Power Station - part 4, Pinacoteca Agnelli, Torino, Italy (2010); China Power Station: Part II, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway (2007); Under the Blue Sky, Grace Li Gallery, Zürich (2006) and Under the Skin, Universal Studios, Beijing (2006).
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...