We met Zheng Jiang, directly in his studio in Songzhuang, close to Beijing. He is a visual artist who manipulates various media to bring the past to life or testify his thirst of living.
In his first works, he reproduced a motif that was frequently used for the glass windows of the houses in the 70’s. The blurriness from the glass windows produces a sense of mystery and provides room for imagination. Zheng Jiang breaks the usual rules of viewing, by making subjects of the paintings blurry in a near distance but clearer the further they are placed from the viewer.
Shot, Oil on Canvas, 2010
Behind the fake glass, Zheng Jiang painted elements from family life, sometimes souvenirs from his own family. In this way, a souvenir that was individual becomes collective thanks to the transparent glass. An unfailing link between individuality and collectivity is created.
After painting, the Artist wishes to focus more on the transparency of media. He created Sunset Clouds, an artwork where the viewer can interact with the works and participate to it. Adopting a position behind the transparent curtain, the viewer becomes also an element of collectivity.
Sunset Clouds (510x160), Tempera PVC Mantle, 2013
Looking more and more for the relationship between one material and its environment, he concentrates on the shadow created by the old glasses in the 70’s. Depending on the inclination, the intensity of the shadow can be diversified.
Shadow, in the fall of time and space, becomes another way of seeing. Such fall is a foresight of time as well as a review of memory, a spiritualism of pure form as well as the nature of things during the process of painting. Zheng connects his conceptual purity of abstract painting with the beatific image in visitors’innocent eyes.
Detail of Montionless Shadow (Group 2), Glass Pigment on Acrylic, 2016
In 2016, Zheng Jiang started a new project “Lichens”. In this new creation, Zheng placed sand of different colors underneath the ordinary one and hides large amount of silkworms inside the sand. During the exhibition, silkworms will constantly go through the sand and turn the glorious but dangerous colors outside the surface.
The inspiration of Lichens derives from Zheng’ s life experience and memory in Jiangnan, China: “We used to observe the tunnels dug by the mites between our fingers in class and pick out them at the tunnel portal with needle. With the agitation of physical growth and the violent itch of my skin, I lived through my adolescence.” said Zheng Jiang. The desire hidden from the daylight of moral principles combines with the physical feelings makes one denies all, but confesses all, finding out no word to say. As a greedy and excessive desire, it lies on the opposite side of rationality. It flirts, disturbs and wanders in the space of ambiguity, magnifying the evitable itch into a hysterical pain. The Potentiality of feeling becomes an abstract schema of intensity, connecting the possibility of reality to the vortex of virtuality.
Lichen, Sand, pigment and silkworm, 2016
Artworks of Zheng Jiang are sometimes more political and disruptive as “Coral”. Face to the mass destruction of traditional houses, inhabitants are lost. To express this feeling of people floating in the middle of nowhere, the artist attached coat sleeves to rocks. These rocks come from former Chinese town destroyed. Thus, it is the ancient construction or tradition that maintain people to the reality and prevent them to be lost. An important message, in a country where the concept of heritage is sometimes neglected to the profit of the growth.
Coral, Variable Dimension, Stone and sleeve, 2016
More recently, Zheng Jiang’s willing was to reconnect his life with the one from his parents. His father was digging in the mountains since the early '60s, which was the main source of income for his family at the time. In the late 1990s, due to the rise of the building style of reinforced concrete, the local rock digging industry entered the history. Now these ancient holes, which are abandoned in the mountains, are slowly weathering collapse by the wind and rain baptism.
Zheng came back in these caves and started to record a movie to reconnect with his soul and existence. In the first part of the movie, he works around a pillar of 20 meters. He covers the surface of the pillar with green luminous powder. When night came, stone pillars sent out of the green light, standing in the cave.
Extract of the movie FEITSUI 1rst part, 2017
Extract of the movie FEITSUI 1rst part, 2017
As for the second part selection, it is a red cave which is similar to the maternal body caves in the shape, using red luminous powder in the same way.
“I use these caves left behind by parents as a kind of special space carrier, putting the individual's life experience and feeling into these two space and let them talk at the same time between two space.”
After the movie “FeiCui”, Zheng continues to work on the thematic of the construction of the soul, experience and memories. He started a new series of paintings in which he intends to reproduce the traces left after the excavation of the stone wall and the abandoned cave space. This idea is connected with the construction method and architectural space of local buildings (houses, pavilions, coffins, tombs, etc.).
Black note 6 (70x58), Wood composite, 2018
Black note 13 (200x300), Wood composite, 2018
1980 Born in Zhejiang, China
2003 – 2010 Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
2016 Lichens,Space Station, Beijing, China
2015 Dust in the Sunlight, Space Station, Beijing, China
2012 Phenobarbital, Mizuma & One Gallery, Beijing, China
2010 Time: As Quick As An Arrow, Works by Fu Ying Ying and Zheng Jiang,Schoeni Art Gallery, Hong Kong, China
Selected Group Exhibitions
2016 Decathlon, Zheng Gaun Art Museum, Beijing, China
Inner Universe, Gallery Yang, Beijing, China
Unkown Landscape Without Anyone ,Yue Art Museum, Beijing, China
2015 Artificial Fairyland, 2015 Chinese and South Korean Young Art Exhibition, Jinjihu Lake Art Museum, Suzhou, China
Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey
Art 021 Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai, China
John Moore Painting Prize Exhibition, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; Macau Venetian Hotel, Macau, China
2014 Hi21 Emerging Young Art Fair, Beijing, China
2013 Transparency, Space Station, Beijing, China
Indeterminacy, Virgin Garden, Venice, Italy
2012 Face, Min Sheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China
Latitude/Attitude, The 20th Anniversary Exhibition of Schoeni Art Gallery, Beijing, China
2011 Art Forward, A Survey Exhibition of Young Artists, Jin Shang Museum, Taiyuan, China
Say Hi to the Future, Hi Art 5th Anniversary Ceremony, Beijing, China
2010 7th Annual Dissertation Works in Painting from Art Academies Across China, HeXiangNing Art Museum, Shenzhen, China Central Academy of Fine Arts Graduates Exhibition, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
2012 John Moores Painting Prize (China)
2011 The Third Chinese New Generation Artist Award
2010 Central Academy of Fine Arts Graduates Exhibition Outstanding WorAward