Zhu Yu: Slow Painting in “Mute”

19:00, 17 May – 24:00 31 May 2020 (GMT+8)

Long March Space is pleased to debut its Online Viewing Room, a digital platform for online exhibitions and a virtual space for collectors from anywhere in the world. The inaugural edition, scheduled to go online at 7PM, 17 May, is a presentation of paintings by Beijing-based artist Zhu Yu, in parallel with his solo “Mute”, to be open on 21 May at the gallery’s actual space in 798 Art Zone, Beijing.

 

Installation view: Zhu Yu: 2015-2020 01, 2019, Oil on canvas , 145 x 170 cm (left); 2015-2020 07, 2019, Oil on canvas , 150 x 200 cm (right)

“Mute” is a principle of action followed by the artist. The choice to remain completely silent implies a practice that rejects all systemic support and conceptual validation. “Mute” is also the artist’s operational mode in the real world. Like a submarine lurking quietly beneath the sea, turning itself into a “void” to human detection technology, which is the only way it can achieve the ideal state under which to carry out its mission. For this reason, Mute is also an exhibition that eschews text and speech. It does not provide any artist statement, critical interpretation, artwork labels or any other form of guidance to the exhibition.

Paintings for me is just a different way to thing about “life” and “death”. It is means to experience questions of existence every day, through every brushstroke.

             ——Zhu Yu

I think paintings are almost action works. In this process, the content of the image’s worth already acts as a research into the language system of the image.

——Zhu Yu

The paintings of Zhu Yu are not simple depictions or researches into still life objects. Here, the artist's focus is instead on probing the essence of painting through the longtime accumulation of concepts, techniques, visual language and ways of seeing. 

Zhu Yu, 2015-2020 04, 2019(detail)

This exhibition does, however, lay bare the past five years of the artist's work, in a form customarily described as painting. The works in this exhibition include a recent self-portrait, a series of still lifes, and partial views of posed figures. 

The still lifes that form the main body of the exhibition include: single or multiple hearts placed in plates, this essence of blood and flesh somehow taking on a cold, metallic texture.

A series of metallic plates with ashes and burn marks from cigarettes, remnants both material and temporal providing an anchor point for shifting time and space, a flick of the fingers giving rise to a vast universe; and blank white porcelain plates appearing in pairs, arranged symmetrically on the painting, the round forms taking on an ephemeral quality in the moonlit atmosphere.

In Zhu Yu's work, painting is action, as well as experiment, but it is not image or concept. The communication between the artwork and the viewer, and its connection to the world, is rooted in the vision of the individual. The discrepancies in individual experience, often manifest as the viewer’s skepticism of or resistance against the artwork, are testaments to the uniqueness and freedom of art. In fact, according to Zhu Yu, everything about the artist is determined by god before he is even born, and his life’s practice is the quest for that uniqueness god has bestowed on him. Placing this “uniqueness” at the core, Zhu Yu has rejected all standard rhetorical devices, and excluded people's dependence on shared experience and standards.

Coinciding with the opening of Zhu Yu's 2020 solo exhibition Mute, Long March Space is opening its Artist Room with a unique printed work presenting Zhu Yu’s past paintings—a single, continuous fold-out that forms a river of all of the artist's past paintings. Here, Zhu Yu's painting becomes a trail of evidence, a "case". 

Installation view: Zhu Yu: 2015-2020 12

Installation view: Zhu Yu: 2015-2020 13

Zhu Yu (b. 1970) born in Chengdu, Sichuan province, was a pioneer of conceptual art in the 1990s. Whether in the painting practice that spans his career, his conceptual artworks or his early performance works, the artistic language he has explored has always defied classification. The contemplation and probing of the independence of contemporary art language are the true aims of Zhu Yu’s work as an artist.

ZHU YU BIOGRAPHY LINK

Zhu Yu: Slow Painting in “Mute”

19:00, 17 May – 24:00 31 May 2020 (GMT+8)

Long March Space is pleased to debut its Online Viewing Room, a digital platform for online exhibitions and a virtual space for collectors from anywhere in the world. The inaugural edition, scheduled to go online at 7PM, 17 May, is a presentation of paintings by Beijing-based artist Zhu Yu, in parallel with his solo “Mute”, to be open on 21 May at the gallery’s actual space in 798 Art Zone, Beijing.

Image: Zhu Yu, 2015-2020 09, 2019  

Installation view: Zhu Yu: 2015-2020 01, 2019, Oil on canvas , 145 x 170 cm (left); 2015-2020 07, 2019, Oil on canvas , 150 x 200 cm (right)

“Mute” is a principle of action followed by the artist. The choice to remain completely silent implies a practice that rejects all systemic support and conceptual validation. “Mute” is also the artist’s operational mode in the real world. Like a submarine lurking quietly beneath the sea, turning itself into a “void” to human detection technology, which is the only way it can achieve the ideal state under which to carry out its mission. 

“Paintings for me is just a different way to thing about “life” and “death”. It is means to experience questions of existence every day, through every brushstroke. So I think paintings are almost action works. In this process, the content of the image’s worth already acts as a research into the language system of the image.”  

—— Zhu Yu

For this reason, Mute is also an exhibition that eschews text and speech. It does not provide any artist statement, critical interpretation, artwork labels or any other form of guidance to the exhibition.

Zhu Yu, 2015-2020 04, 2019(detail)

This exhibition does, however, lay bare the past five years of the artist's work, in a form customarily described as painting. The works in this exhibition include a recent self-portrait, a series of still lifes, and partial views of posed figures. 

The still lifes that form the main body of the exhibition include: single or multiple hearts placed in plates, this essence of blood and flesh somehow taking on a cold, metallic texture.

A series of metallic plates with ashes and burn marks from cigarettes, remnants both material and temporal providing an anchor point for shifting time and space, a flick of the fingers giving rise to a vast universe; and blank white porcelain plates appearing in pairs, arranged symmetrically on the painting, the round forms taking on an ephemeral quality in the moonlit atmosphere.

Installation view: Zhu Yu: 2015-2020 12

Installation view: Zhu Yu: 2015-2020 13

In Zhu Yu's work, painting is action, as well as experiment, but it is not image or concept. The communication between the artwork and the viewer, and its connection to the world, is rooted in the vision of the individual. The discrepancies in individual experience, often manifest as the viewer’s skepticism of or resistance against the artwork, are testaments to the uniqueness and freedom of art. In fact, according to Zhu Yu, everything about the artist is determined by god before he is even born, and his life’s practice is the quest for that uniqueness god has bestowed on him. Placing this “uniqueness” at the core, Zhu Yu has rejected all standard rhetorical devices, and excluded people's dependence on shared experience and standards.

Zhu Yu (b. 1970) born in Chengdu, Sichuan province, was a pioneer of conceptual art in the 1990s. Whether in the painting practice that spans his career, his conceptual artworks or his early performance works, the artistic language he has explored has always defied classification. The contemplation and probing of the independence of contemporary art language are the true aims of Zhu Yu’s work as an artist.

 

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