“Reflection” ZHAN Wang Solo Exhibition

The exhibition is a complete overview of ZHAN Wang’s work from Artificial Rock, photography, sketches, installation to documentary videos.

  • Exhibition Period:04 Sep 2010 – 03 Oct 2010
  • Address:ESLITE GALLERY∣5F, No. 11, Songgao Rd., Taipei 11073, Taiwan
  • Opening Hours:04 Sep 2010

The exhibition is a complete overview of ZHAN Wang’s work from Artificial Rock, photography, sketches, installation to documentary videos. In addition to Artificial Rock No. 59 that is already towering in TAIPEI 101 since August 1, the exhibition will go beyond the gallery space to install an interactive work ATM Deity Search Engine on the third floor of eslite Xinyi store and another large work Artificial Rock No. 125 just outside the eslite building. Visitors home and aboard who stroll the district of Xinyi will be able to get a glimpse of works by the first Chinese sculptor whose work was collected by the New York Metropolitan Museum and San Francisco de Young Museum.

ZHAN Wang’s artificial rock series recreates Chinese scholar’s rocks with highly polished stainless steel to reflect, twist and fragment the surrounding colors and images. As such, ZHAN Wang creates art that mirrors the reality, or the urban jungle in which we live. In “Reflection,” ZHAN Wang will present a number of works from the Artificial Rockseries, including a hovering meteor. The exhibition will also include photography works, manuscripts as well as videos that document the artist’s various projects such as “Project to Inlay the Great Wall,” “Project for Mount Everest,” “Beyond Twelve Nautical Miles—Floating Rock Drifts on the Open Sea,” as well as a film showing the process of the making of Artificial Rock that will satisfy curious minds.

Going outside the gallery, on the third floor of eslite Xinyi store is ATM Deity Search Engine in the shape of a capsule mimics the ubiquitous self-service modules used for withdrawing cash that we find in our daily environment. What is dispensed here is information gathered about all the deities worshipped around the world. Exiting the building, you will be greeted by the artist’s 3.2m-tall public art. Like the one in TAIPEI 101, the mercurial rock is an emblem of the conflict and struggle between tradition and modernism, man and nature, while at the same time its artificialness highlights the fracture existing in contemporary culture. 

ZHAN Wang

ZHAN Wang was born in 1962 in Beijing where he continues to work until today. His creation has always found their roots in the Chinese scholar tradition, myths, religion and the profane life, yet out of this soil grew out works that depicts the total transformation of Chinese society, economics and culture since the 1990’s. It is the narrative and mythical nature that makes his work so immediate and intimate in relation to the spectator.

ZHAN became known for his stainless-steel scholar’s rocks in the 1990’s. His artificial rock is the first Chinese contemporary sculpture to be collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has realized his intention of internationalized and contemporized this ancient unique Chinese culture of rock appreciation.

ZHAN has minted a new visual language that mythologizes China’s 21st-century metamorphosis into a modern, gleaming stainless-steel society while holding on to its traditions. While he is said to be a conceptualist sculptor, he believes that concept cannot be formed without artistry; this idea reflects the pursuit for moderation (Zhongyong) in Chinese philosophy.

The process of creation, from discovery of the rocks to their meticulous replication, reflects ancient philosopher Laozi’s notion that man cannot transcend nature. Working within nature’s confines is what distinguishes ZHAN’s work from western sculptors who seek to transform nature to express them.

ZHAN’s work combines Taoist notions of illusion, reality, and nature with an existentialist embrace of the absurd. Much of his work can only be seen in photographs or videos because part of his concept is that some of the sculptures be permanently exhibited in unreachable destinations. Even though he started off as a sculptor, he continues to expand the form and aesthetic significance in his work for the past twenty years.