Zhao Zhao|Green—Song Art Museum

Cui CanCan
Dates|2019.12.21 - 2020.02.09
Venue|Song Art Museum

Cui CanCan

Green is a prelude, as well as a fresh start for Zhao Zhao. Green also implies his past story. In recent years, Zhao’s great creativity and broad vision are like a dense forest. Everything grows and flourishes here, with long-lasting vitality and all the possibilities.
As a representative of the new art trend, Zhao has multiple identities and diverse artistic practices. He is not only an active and high-profile artist, but also a documentary director, researcher of ancient art, and founder of a fashion brand. His attention ranges from the re-creation of traditional Chinese culture, the shift and imagination of real space-time, the capture of self-consciousness and perception, to the response to artistic trends.
This exhibition brings together Zhao’s works from 2016 to 2019, which is the highlight of his artistic career. During this period, Zhao absorbed energy and ideas from both history and reality, and expanded a wide range of artistic creations, just like various layers of vegetation in the rainforest. Some are exposed to the sunlight, reaching the uppermost. Some spread their roots in the understory. While others lurk beneath the forest floor, striving for more nutrients from the soil.
Green presents Zhao’s thorough understanding of time, history and human relations from various aspects, which would be a meaningful and well-arranged story of art. This story comprises three chapters, composed of different perspectives and space-time. They come across for a moment, gazing at each other, and become a unique clue and sight.
In the first chapter, self-consciousness and perception of life in Zhao’s creation are exposed. Different themes and objects are like a mirror, reflecting various states of being. Paintings become the key to probe into his self-metaphor. Self-portraits are the origin of countless egos and moments. Several sets of father and child, peaches, bamboo shoots, villains and the god of longevity imply many encounters along with his life; girls, singers, sensitive persons, desensitized persons and insensitive persons lead us to a mercurial virtual reality. These paintings represent a galaxy to the audience, in which consciousness and perception are flowing and intertwining. In this chapter, a versatile individual turns his back to the eternality at a glance. He goes beyond distance, unsophisticated and romantic from time to time.
The second chapter displays Zhao’s complicated connections with history and society. There are two plates at the beginning, one in simplified Chinese while the other in traditional Chinese, representing two identities and two different consequences in history. After that, two suits draw grand historical narratives back to a specific family. These two suits and a letter witnessed the tension and gap between the values of two generations. On one side, Chinese Ladders, together with several specimens of antiquities in the showcase, reminds of the continuity of traditional Chinese historical views at present. If we view particulars through the general, we will find that everything follows the necessity of history. On the other side, One Second suspends the historical routine. Significance is shown through commonplace. Things change by chance and remain incomparable. Hence we will find that everything can be a series of random events in history as well. At the end of this chapter, Control is another allegory. Between the macrocosm and the microcosm in history, as well as the original and the controlled, the individual travels in history and society back and forth. When one struggles along in society, he will finally get the answer in the echo of the past.
The third chapter presents Zhao’s philosophy of the universe, which he pours out into everything on earth. The journey starts from some ceremonial jade discs, which have a span of over 7000 years. Along the route, temporality becomes the main topic, when bullet holes are left in the constellations, and gradually disappear on smooth silk later. On the blacktop road, “trivial” creatures are turned into flashes in extremis, or barriers in words, changing our cognition from time to time. From Zhao’s perspective, even thousands of years can be ephemeral. Everything on earth has cracks inside. Each experience could enlighten another, while each story could survive another living being because of an uncommon occurrence. 
Therefore, Green is also a symbol. At the end of the year, when winter passes and spring comes, may everything be naturally evergreen like vigorous pine trees.

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