"Stone Flesh" HU Zi Solo Exhibition
City: Shanghai
Duration: 2018-05-12 ~ 2018-06-30
Opening: 4–7 pm, Saturday, 12 May 2018
Venue: Don Gallery
Address: Unit 302, 2879 Longteng Avenue, West Bund, Shanghai
Participating Artist(s): HU Zi

Smoky grey-blue eyes like pietra serena, a Grecian nose, a gently curved forehead, a razor-like cheekbone, purple-veined lips, a jaw of perfect shape, long chestnut hair, luminous, radiant skin dedicated to papaver rhoeas and Carrara marble. Any closer. Slender legs, from his knees to thighs and chest, an ascending curve, pumped abs, left hand holding a sling, a thick neck, a huge skull, a powerful mane, scowling brows approached each other, blurred eyes, fuller lips opened up a bit, a noble, young and firm face.

Piazza della Signoria, Florence. Neptune looking at the two Davids in eye contact for just a second: a giant and a man. Stone named David. Flesh called David Gilmour.

—HU Zi

In her third exhibition at Don Gallery, “Stone Flesh,” HU Zi presents a group of new paintings and drawings that illuminate the primitive nature of her attitude to portraiture. This time, the enduring themes and preoccupations in her creation—personal identity and art-historical personae—appear in a different guise. The oil paintings depict David Gilmour, the guitarist, and co-lead vocalist of Pink Floyd, vis-à-vis the rest drawings on paper capturing the tones and textures of David and Neptune, the two masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture created in marble found on Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy.

Such a dialogue contributes to the juxtaposition of a cinematic scene and a parallel thread of plot, which assumes the multiple meanings of “Stone Flesh.” The former describes David’s encounter with the time in the past during a stay in the L-shaped square. A view of objects immediately becomes a re-view of subjects. The fountain of Neptune has suffered a great deal of damage during the centuries, finally established as a record of the power once processed at sea. The latter dwells on the tension between the two Davids, a true musician who always devotes himself to charity and a replica of Michelangelo’s work which still embodies strength and youthful beauty. It is hard to judge which David is the emotionally stronger person, more generous, more sincere, more ethical. They are the two pieces of one earth with one humanity. Each would be a body for the other.

In the spatial and narrative turn of the artist’s easels, the three figures function as the structural element to push forward her discourse on body and humanity. By overlapping episodes of discrete memories and restoring them to a lived environment, she provides a closely focused, dynamic account of her unfolding project and its connection with literature, clarifying how painting and drawing, as a paradigmatically situated mode of investigation, has helped her to access the corporeal self, the psychological self, also the social self, and to articulate its philosophical implications—implications that have untapped relevance for the political challenges facing the world today.

HU Zi works most often in gouache, but also in oil paint, both invested with translucency. She is celebrated for her vibrant pictures of people: rock gods, literary giants, and great artists who have or had an impact on her. “Lover,” her 2016 exhibition co-hosted by Don Gallery, marked the first part of the creative interval after her last Blackstone Apartments exhibition “Flesh” in 2014. In the more recent period, she brings together her understanding of exotic culture and her misaligned gaze on the opposite sex. Between fantasy and reality, she makes people feel the sheer tangibility of themselves, and the place where they were attached.

HU Zi (b. 1981) graduated from The Department of Comprehensive Painting at China Academy of Art with M.F.A. (2007), currently living and working in Shanghai. In her long-term practice of making portraits, HU Zi collates individual experiences for the construction of a self-image by fabricating the very unique touch of body boundaries. Her solo exhibitions include “Mozart” (Studio D’Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy, 2017), “Lover” (Fab-Union Space, Shanghai, 2016), “Flesh” (Don Gallery, Shanghai, 2014), “Kids” (Don Gallery, Shanghai, 2014), etc.


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[Editor] 张艳