Interview by Dai

Chenlian Dai = DHeming Zhang = Z

 

D: Please, tell me about the origin of this solo exhibition.

Z: In the modern society, the ready-made experiences make us direct cognitions instead of feeling the things again. Actually it's like the difference between prints and calligraphy, the former improve the efficiency, we understand the conception almost the same time when reading, but the word itself is till a kind of image, if you concentrate at one word for long, you may not recognize it, there will be similar phenomenon when it comes to normal stuff, we will give up the cognition and then re-experience. The origin of this exhibition is a circuit board, because in a design I worked on last year, it required me to collect lots of circuit boards, I have kept an eye on the waste electrical equipment. Once I transported the unnecessary materials to my basement in Tongzhou, I found some radios, the old-fashioned kind that I had never seen before, when back to studio I opened up the radios’ shield, then I had watched it for a long time, suddenly there is a feeling. "What is this?” I felt so strange about the circuit board, didn't seem to something can be produced in the world; I couldn't imagine this thing is made from nature. However, every ready product had its real history, from the basic elements to the integrated circuit, when I peel open the capacitance, I found the inside is actually simple inorganic materials, ceramics and metal, so I want to practice such a process by myself, the objects can be restored to a nearly pristine state, in my memory, the old signal receiver had the same principle with radio, but its structure are much more simple. So the practice of the reduction process has become the origin idea.

 

 

D: What is the theme of the exhibition?What do the title I don’t know how to expound my art imply?

Z:The theme of this exhibition is to present parts of my jobs, ways of composing, I think art is not just defined as works' entities, it is integral for a person. In this exhibition, some of the works that are clear-boundary, but some uncertain sections are also included. I always take artistic practice as a matter in a system like food chain, the materials I prayed were translated to tools or products and residuums, also, some immateriality, which are shown as scripts and phone-fotos, everything in this space actually existed in these two months, they really happened in my life. The range of drawing materials is a field about times and process, every little things around you will influence your works.

  The title is a reflection of my real status, I hope I am always staying in a flexible state, I had never been a perfessional person and never emphasized what I concentrated about is installation art, mixed media or conceptual art. There’s a saying “Life is art”, recently I try easel art, it’s kind of experimental for me, I take it as a common behavior in life, not a serious work, in fact, many things I made were parts of my life, I did it not for working, just did it because I wanted to. Sculpture and painting are special in such lots of life behaviors, they demand me to immerse myself in a process of dealing with one matter by a single way.

This let me reflect on my ways of creation, besides conceptual thinking, I should not give myself a fixed identity or creation mode, as installation artist. Installation art has become more and more systematic nowadays, the same with painting and other artistic languages, it can be applicable for expression sometimes, and creation should finally turn to yourselves’ thinking process, motivation comes first, then the expression ways. So for the first time as a solo exhibition, I cannot give myself a definition, what I said is still a logical thing, rather than the expression of works. 

 

 

DWhat are the correlations between the works in this exhibition and the works you did before?

Z:The action of creating itself is a kind of exploration, is a way of thinking by the entire body, all things are not thinking well in advance, original plan provides only a direction for actions, when you are truly doing this, intuition will always prevail. Because my thought and life are coherent, so the works are naturally attach to each others. Works of this exhibition and works I did before are Associated in two ways: from macro view, the problems I payed attention to, the creation method, favorite materials will be gradually clear during practicing, by comparison, I found that I also have a main line, or that the stream of consciousness is the main line; specifically, every time I take part in the exhibition will always inherit methods from the last, element or thinking, such as the posters and exhibition hall on the right side of the main room, the mirror, the non-logic arrangements, cutting back the readability of the text. And there is a similar thinking process started from the substance, but different direction.

 

 

D: How do you understand the whole meaning of all the tree works?

Z:This time, in the choice of the image, my decision logic is clear, the tool is some substance that people selected from the nature and also the media for human beings transforming nature to meet their own needs. People have three basic demands: surviving, information interaction, positive emotions. This can be summarized as physiological needs, social needs, spiritual needs, so I choose three kinds of tools corresponding to the three kinds of demands, they are also three directions to acquire materials from the nature, in the production process I actually gain some experience, such as hearing the human voice from the signal receiver in the midnight by finding a special spot on the silicon, fun from sewing doll, a dinner with the rest of the rabbit flesh, cut the meat with a sharp glass edge. In addition, the integrity of the exhibition is not limited to the association between three groups of works, my material is the whole space, works and the phone photos, manuscripts, raw materials, tools, the residuum, so I didn’t label any of works, this is a blurring of the boundaries, let audiences not only focus on the fixed works but the whole field structure, it can show my feelings and ideas in a better way.

 

 

D: I knew your working process is very rigor but special, how do you understand the process of art?

Z: The material is not completely controllable, dealing with these unstable materials may finally leads to a result which is different with the expects or even failure, compared with the theoretical guidance, at least, at this stage, I think trial and error is more suitable for me, making an item, the principle is not my problem to deal with, what I want to do is to produce a perceptual acknowledgement, and then push on next step, the process is an accumulation of failures, the form and conception in the final presentation will change, will also change, so the works on show don’t deny the failures, in contrast, it is also part of the failure, every time you failed is a chance to accomplish your work, even one day you may find yourself completely different even contrary with before, the theory or conception of the work, it doesn’t mean that you are mistaken in the first, you don’t have to question your art wether it is in your system or not, you should have confidence in yourself, what can touch people is a feeling thing, the viewers can feel the author through the works, art is not the work of a set of strict logic theory, or nothing but a beautiful form, it is your reflection, wether the items’ identity is valid or not is less important than doing the work itself.

 

 

D: How do you inderstand the performance in the opening of exhibition?

Z: I have the plot of the ceremony, wooden hammer, steel cone, water, salt were placed on a piece of linen, which also presented a sense of ritual, furthermore, the actual function of the steel cone is the earth wire,a part of the installation, so that the magnetic energy which is received by signal receiving device could pass from the antenna through the device and into the ground, forming a loop, this behavior also completed the function itself. Finally, the beating movement is a kind of repeated exertion, getting deep into the underground a bit by bit, I think this behavior just like my creation state. In the original plan, the steel cone should extend into the ground completely, but the thoughtless rain reduces the show time.

 

 

DCan you talk about your scripts? Are they scripts of the installation?

Z: The manuscripts isn’t only for installation, but also notes triggered by creation within these two months, most of the content interspersed something associated with the work, but there are also other content, it represented a state of mind during the creation process, the picture is another language, which is captured and made by mobile phone, it recorded my state of each slices,some are taken in the collection of materials or production, some other ideas derived from the records itsself, some of which are occurred during this period that really can touch me. Manuscripts and pictures are also in accordance with the three groups of works corresponding to the needs, to a certain extent,it reflect the stream of the consciousness.

 

 

D: Do you have plans for exhibitons or projects in the next few months?

Z:Wellit pushed me too hard this time, Ill make a try on more freed, natural ways to do the works, performance, photography, vedio maybe. In aspect of exhibition, I am eager for opportunity to participate some group exhibitions, because I dont have much expierence for this, brand new thing!

 

Criticism from Kang

I don’t know how to expound my art, it’s Heming Zhang’s exhibition name. Actually, in theory, you’d better not to explain,because a few decades ago, the theory has already announced the death of the author,which means you'd better shut up your mouth, if you can express it accurately, there will be no necessary to do it or words will be better than doing it. But this sick society always acted back and fill, it announced the death of the author, but after a while it said " arts rely on words " (Paul Valery), that’s to say, the artists don't have to say a word, we (critics) will speak for them, we are more professional in this. So, what I mean is I can't write the product introduction, I really cannot participate in the competition of knowledge, if you have to let me say something that would be prejudice and bigotry. Yes, Zhang was graduated from the university of chemical technology, so he always mentioned elements, like carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, anyway, it felt like he really did chemical reaction enough. His work is to collect some weird stuff, wasted things together. And those collected different, heterogeneous elements are mixed and arrayed together. The polymerization of these things, maybe just for the fun of it, or just a simple device, anyway, there is no specific and definite thing. But the collections imply a kind of thing: a collection of relics of the common world, and the evidence of a common history. When it comes to the end, he collects a kind of equality: the equality of all things - personal photographs, tools, fossils, toys - and so is equal traces of the archives of our lives. (Xueru Kang)

2016.7.10

Artist’s Statement:

My work is mixed, integral, I don't like to be called the professional, because profession will trap me in a circle, I cannot just walk away when needed. During high school, I spent every vacation doing variety of experiments in my attic, most of them were chemical or biological, but in retrospect, its primary purpose is to fulfill my exploration desire. But when my works were exposed to some professionals, the most voice I heard was something like "Do high school students really know what is the synthesis?” "Is this chemistry?” At that time, I do not understand the pride of the professionals, also don’t know what I shall do always isn’t a professional thing. There would never be enough knowledge through entire life, so explorations should be right now right hear. A week ago, I removed the last traces of my laboratory personally, all the reagents, apparatuses even the space is no longer belong to me. But I’ll take this as a new beginning, a transformation of the experimental fields and forms in direction of wider world, and it will occupy more material and space.

I am not an under-graduate majored in art, my interests in the events of the entire history of art are equal to other things (such as scientific history, philosophy, natural history, life forms, etc.), so according to personal taste, I don’t have to be a person who makes art, and it is hard to tell:An art work or a strange never-before-seen fish, which is more attractive to me, but as what I repeatedly emphasized: "Besides art, where can my work go?” The process of creating and why artists want to do in this way moved me more than art itself, as for me, there’s no better way to think and know yourself than doing the works. I have had been curious to this world, this sense of wonder sometimes is so strong that I cannot help doing something regardless of the reality, this impulse is a strong support to my art. I have been put attention on and practice some valueless things since childhood, but my value is willing to accept the usefulness, conflict between nature and thought inertia caused by rhythm of the time and growth environment made me insecurity. It always brings me confusion, thinking and pain.

The works are mapping of one's own state, art is to create life. Recently I tried the easel art, it is experimental for me, I view it as living behaviors, in fact I feel many of my works are the products of living behaviors, I caught up with it when dinner so I would do it at night, although they are not put in the main system. Compared to all the other behavior in life, painting, sculpting are undoubtedly very special, they can immerse yourself in repeated renovation of one material, it makes me rethink about my creation ways, I shouldn’t give myself a definition or a fixed identity, such as "installation artist", installation art has become a mature performance language, but use it only when needed. When doing work, the author should go back to himself, thought and motivation above and beyond the expressive ways.

My first solo exhibition in Cabinet of wonder is a starting point of my reduction, "if not necessary, do not increase the entity", creations and life can reduce to the basic elements, like the metal oxide reduces to pure metal, excluding the unnecessary sometimes makes it better, in the past, I would think a lot before doing, and if I couldn’t find the idea a clear reason, I delayed it, but working actually is a kind of whole-body thinking, how can I deny it before it starts just due to the judgment from part of body(brain)? It will compress the possibilities of unknown, but art needs the unknown. In the coming second half I will try it in a simple way, if an idea can move me, I will realize it. Sometimes the judgment of intuition is more brilliant than rational thinking.

2016.6.20

Artist’s Statement: Reduce to nullity

I always have to disassemble items or deconstruct conceptions in my work, but when some industrial ready-made came into my sight, I felt a sense of obstacle, the obstacle between the phenomenon and the material trapping me from feeling nature made me instinctively confused. Differ from touching the stone and wood, ready-made objects makes me feel like separated part to inherent nature. Modern society is highly integrated, including our knowledge system and cognitive experience, surely, in this way we can skip some steps of the process, it seems that behaviors and its products become more effective, but this also makes social items no longer Outside-equal-within, the specialty of an era is its epitome, ready-made objects’ materiality is veiled, alluding to the gap in the relationship between man and nature in contemporary world.

The "Sub-" Series is to replace the functional part of one tool that I noticed with single one self-formation attribute material[1] which I’ve found in this secondary Nature around me, so as to reconstitute a object, and finally all the tools, products, residuum I made during the process of reconstitution will be presented as installation or mixed media in the space, they are all connected to each other to form a bigger entirety. The process of doing creative works is also a part of my work, just like dissecting and then suturing back, I will disassemble the found objects, wipe off the functional material, then as the replacement, I will choose and remold a self-formation material, eventually, combine them with residuum of found objects. Both in my life and work, I’d like to make myself sense of mystery and unknown deliberately[2], because accepting ready-made would make people too lazy to think and feel, I won’t turn to ready method, unless I’ve got to face some professional problem, in this situation, I also ask the professionals for help, but still left unanswered, so I realized the difference between them and me, they try their best to do the plus, to make the thing better, more complex, what I am trying to do is subtraction, reducing the accessory of one function. 

If I have to sum up the contemporary society, that would be Effective. You can see "how to do it fast", "how to do it effectively", "the quickest way" everywhere, but that makes me wonder why we have to put ourselves in such a kind of efficiency? What is the result of this kind of efficiency? Can we live more effective and compress the life processes? At least in my personal experience, high efficiency won’t always bring you the good results, it’s a kind of paralysis. My creative process always avoid efficiency methods, though it’s not my topic but more like a kind of disciplining, I always have to face a large number of failures and wastes in the experiments of creation. There are many different ways to accomplish an image, the curve process I chose tend not to appear in the final image, but I believe that it is necessary for me. The work can be the form or image, but the art itself is much more than this, the effective illustrative images are necessary, and also successful in art, but the artists have to persevere their own language against the inertia of entrenched groups, what you have to believe first is not theory, knowledge, experience, but your instincts.

 

[1] Self-formation attribute: This conception refers to a material that will obtain an attribute, which can reflect as a function after its formation, such as glass’s stress fracture, the pieces are shape naturally, unlike metal blade, it needs to be put a edge as secondary structure by grounding, in order to hold a incising function.

[2] Without using the network searching, inquiring, consulting and other means to obtain knowledge, but though practicing, these methods are almost like a kind of empiricism. Sometimes these kinds of behaviors are repeating the works of scientists, alchemists, but different purposes. For me, knowledge is accessory of feelings I expected. Such as my first hobbit, insects, I 've always been avoiding the study of Entomology, because I won’t get any thrill of exploring the unknown if learnt what it is before I find it in reality.