Betty Woodman's inaugural Asian exhibition House and Universe and Zhao Yang's solo exhibition Ālaya
City: Shanghai
Duration: 2018-03-19 ~ 2018-06-17
Venue: chi K11 art museum Shanghai
Address: B3, K11 Art Mall, 300 Huaihai Road Central, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Participating Artist(s): Betty Woodman、Zhao Yang

March 9, 2018, Shanghai—From March 19, 2018 to June 17, 2018, the chi K11 art museum Shanghai will simultaneously present House and Universe, the first solo exhibition in Asia for renowned American artist Betty Woodman, and Ālaya, the first solo museum exhibition in China mainland for Chinese artist Zhao Yang. This dual exhibition features the works of two artists of different genders, backgrounds, geographies, and traditions, creating a dialogue on the theme of “body” and “gestures” and the spaces in which they dwell. This is planned to illuminate the creative developmental paths of these two artists and place in full view the experiments in contemporary art they have conducted using traditional artistic mediums. Under the direction of Adrian Cheng, a cultural entrepreneur and founder of K11 and K11 Art Foundation (KAF), this exhibition will incorporate K11’s independently developed interactive “smart art” model to bring a brand-new smart exhibition experience to the public.

Betty Woodman was the first living female artist featured as a subject of a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The artist’s first Asian exhibition will put on display a variety of Woodman’s mixed media works from the past decade, including sculptures, triptych vases, large installations, and canvas pieces in addition to some of her earlier works. The title of this exhibition derives from a chapter entitled “House and Universe” in the work The Poetics of Space by French philosopher Gaston Bachelard. This piece of literature quotes the writings of Rainer Maria Rilke and others to describe the dialectical relationship between a “house” and its surrounding environment. Betty Woodman’s artistic earthenware creations are a vast departure from the daily functionality typically associated with pottery. She managed to break away from the inevitable connection between household containers and domestic life, in turn redefining people’s impressions of women and their traditional roles within the home. Woodman’s works leverage the spirit of the regional cultures of multiple historical eras through the use of clay. They embody the traditions of ancient Crete, Egypt, Greece, and Etruria as well as the styles of Baroque architecture and artists Pierre Bonnard, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. They demonstrate inspiration drawn from Chinese Tang tri-color glazed ceramics and kimonos of Japan, and they fuse the planarity of the second dimension with the tangibility of the third to create skillful and technical clay art that has become its own unique, contemporary art language.

Zhao Yang, a graduate of the China Academy of Art, now presents Ālaya, his first museum solo exhibition in China mainland. The title is derived from Buddhist terminology and is a transliteration of the Sanskrit word आलय (meaning “storehouse” or “receptacle”). Each of the pieces on display enables viewers to face their own inner desires, prompting them to ask themselves, “Where do I come from, and where am I going?” In the process of painting, the artist extricates himself from habitual modes of thinking and perception and thus is able to tap fully into the essence of things from behind their illusory façades. The artist is fascinated by the part of semiotics (the study of signs and symbols) that can be applied to his research on various postures of the human body. He seeks to use this body of knowledge to explore the relationship between people and to reflect on how human beings “confirm” and “deny” themselves. However, through his unique understanding of the human body, the artist uses his paintbrush to reveal the imperceptible and inaccessible mysteries hidden within our bodies in order to interpret the self-judgment in which humans engage. The artist expertly lays out the boundaries of the human body on the pictorial plane. Through symmetry, folding, and other compositional methods, he presents small, localized parts of these boundaries. This exhibition showcases a total of 39 paintings that he created from 2011 to 2017, and these works constitute the holistic spiritual world to which the artist aspires while also demonstrating his attempt to inject an effect of stagnation.


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[Editor] 张艳

    Artintern