Zeng Hong：Quaderni RossiMay 16 - Jun 24, 2018
Ginkgo Space is delighted to present Zeng Hong’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, Quaderni Rossi, on May 16, comprising of the artist’s installations, video art and paintings since 2012. The works in this exhibition unfold from two cases in the history of art, namely the practices of Gustave Courbet and Alexander Rodchenko. In presenting the various paths of the artist’s personal experiences, Zeng Hong tries to conjure the “natural state” of politics with the collective consciousness.
When Gustave Courbet consciously revealed his radical political position in his figurative paintings, he adopted the approach to paint directly onto the canvas in depicting the common labors and real life scenes. What determined his political position were not only the subject matter, but the painting approach he had adopted, these two components allowed the content and form of the realist painting Courbet established to align with each other. As he stated for The Stone Breakers (1849), “By rejecting the ideals and everything else by an idealist, I set myself free and achieved democracy. The essence of realism is democratic.”
In 1921, Alexander Rodchenko redefined painting with three canvases in red, yellow and blue and claimed, “I’ve restored painting to its logical finale.” It was then he restored painting about constituting colors, surfaces and objects in a physical space. In spite of the varying historical periods of Courbet and Rodchenko’s practices, both artists investigated one’s existing artistic system based on the relationships art with customary and social practices in order to reposition it. The former hoped to establish a perception of “reality” in order to reject any idealism and implications beyond experiences, while the latter set the perception of “truth”, by reaching an agreement between “art of the everyday” and “art as a resistance to reality”.
With the exhibition Quaderni Rossi, Zeng Hong hopes to rebuild this relationship through his art practice. Should the surface, lines and forms of painting be considered the figurations of realist paintings, instead of the abstract component that shape them, then these elements can be equally construed as substantial objects. They would allow painting to sublimate momentarily without inferring to any iconography or symbolism, which further “fortify” this relationship. At the same time, the artist considers abstract language as imageries in a broader sense, whereby abstract relationship between terminologies and the real world can be established. From which, the causalities between social events and history are rendered into complex scenarios, and identified as indescribable scenes.
The works on view do not attempt to present a homogenous artistic style, but serve as the cues embedded in the works of the artist, and the ones that stimulated his creativity. As the various directions of his practice are translated through the language he adopts, Zeng Hong’s artistic practice is not only to activate a new aesthetic experience, but also aims at generating diverse semantics as different spaces and disparate languages come together. If we were to conceive the exhibition like any kind of architecture, rather than a place where the works of art is shown, then what are on display must once be part of the social and historical context. Therefore, to a relatively fixed and specific site, it will be given more complex meanings.
The exhibition continues to June 24.
Zeng Hong, born in 1974, Ziyang, Sichuan Province, and graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Art, who currently lives and works in Beijing. His works have been the subject of solo exhibitions at Yang Gallery (Beijing), Telescope Artist Studio (Beijing), Boers-Li Gallery (Beijing), Gibsone Jessop Gallery (Toronto) and etc.