Author: ZHANG HUI 张慧
Signed and dated: Painted in 2010-2011
Final Price: RMB 450,000
2012 Zhang Hui / P61 / Long March Space
2016 Mater· oriental Art / P68
signed in Chinese and dated 2010-2011
2012 Zhang Hui: Groundless, Long March Space, Beijing
If anyone defines reading as the only way to learn about the world, he is destined to love the pleasure of reading. They bring the “reader” into a kind of permanence after the throes of trying to understand the meaning. It is filled with a cyclical world of infinite answers and self-questioning. Whether it be visual reading or auditory reading, or the books and textbooks forced upon us, there is no denying that “reading” is the most loyal teacher. It can even be construed as a physiological need. It can be changed into a quilt or mat at any time when it is cold or hot. This is also the case for the artist’s “reading”. The artist creates his own language in a variety of interconnected reading (images, texts, sounds), and creates a new model for reading.
In the new paintings created by Zhang Hui, the influence brought by direct text “reading” is replaced by separate objects divorced from the scene interference. Due to the “empty” background, the viewers focus on those suspended people or objects. However, without the superficial narrative clues, the questions in the minds of the audience complete the possible sorting methods that exist in “interpretation” by oneself through the simple clues from the title of the work. When the desire to interpret the “open space” in the painting is transformed into an irresistible impulse, a piece of magnified concealed fragment may become the axis of form that confirms the meaning of the space, and the image plagiarized from the commonplace life images may become the template that can be repetitively “read”. Zhang Hui describes the “non-daily” weird things in daily life as “gazing” and “reading” of image that transcends specific events. For him, the “reading” in the work is not limited to the specific association of the meaning of the text. The extracted image is the storage and materialization of the reading of text.
Zhang Hui started his career by studying stage art, and his early artistic practice focused on the exploration of installations and performing arts. The experience in stage design and the logical relationship of the drama have a profound impact on him, and also bring a kind of order that is easier to be “read” in Zhang Hui’s works. This order extends in the media –following the diversified practice such as behavior, photography, video, and installation, multi-person cooperation (art groups) improves the energy balance between individual spirit and population experiment. The “reading” method of objects for everyday finally returns to the paintings based on graphic expression following deep tactile and texture experience.
Due to Zhang Hui’s persistent attention to objects for everyday use in his paintings, its original value is magnified into another “reading” method about strange situations in the metaphors. Like the images of round seats named “lifebuoy”, perhaps it perhaps stems from the artist watching at idle moments in the street. However, when these everyday image memory passes through the transient visual residual image, the sense of loneliness without the practical reference is free from the surrounding environment, or the involvement of the people sitting, lying and walking. They are undeniably fastened in front of the “empty” background and lead to the serial works such as The Tree and Neon Light. The network of “reading” is not interrupted in the shaping of different representations. The low plants wrapped by plastic coats become the sole sign of the spiritual void when separated from the interdependent relationship in reality, like the confirmation of a tangible “material”, but blurring the sense of identity of the original image on different scales and perspectives. Unlike the tree, the “neon lights” that are spread on the canvas may be intensely “reading” the “objects” like the bended and aimless line, or fill the visual gaps in a crisscrossing way. This powerful form that obstructs the spatial imagination also makes the painting itself more readable in comparison with the text title. It is like the “auditory” environment assumed by Zhang Hui through the image of plaster in the Relief. In the real space of text and image, every effort is made to get rid of the deceptive appearance. When the audience confronts Zhang Hui’s smart intelligent way of viewing in the exhibition hall with a mindset of “reading”, the audience put the identifiable objects in the reading context. The “defects” of the time and space image are “empty” like the exhibition site. It is not necessary to repair using the customary relational framework of reason. The questions from the title often become vocabulary almost completely unrelated to image in the text answers given by Zhang Hui. Just like those lonely forms covered by the “clear to overcast” text, we can’t differentiate the contrast between light and dark on their surfaces. Does it stem from the illusion caused by the change in light and shadow? Is it the “truth” solidified by the texture of the object itself? Only a name remains to paradoxically guide the “reading” process of “being read”.