ZHANG Yunyao prensents new series Spirit, water drop and the light at Watou Arts Festival, Belgium

 

From 3 July to 5 September 2021, the city of Poperinge in Belguim hosts the 40th edition of Watou Arts Festival. The curators Benedicte Goesaert, Chantal Pattyn and Peter Verhelst have realized ‘Watou 2021’ as an outstretched hand to experience poetry and visual art with brains, senses and feelings, thus being filled with the multi-layered nature of art.

 

For this special occasion, ZHANG Yunyao created Spirit, water drop and the light (2021), a series of graphite works on paper comprising one large scale triptych and five small drawings, executed during a visit to Paris that was indefinitely extended due to Covid-19. The moments depicted in these monochromatic drawings – the gushing fountain of the Place Saint-Sulpice, the dancing reflection of light on the glass frame of a Twombly drawing – are imbued with a sense of wistfulness and longing. They capture the evanescent vitality of everyday instances encountered by the artist while processing the loss of a loved one in a strange city. Other meditations, such as the tenuous knot of an inflated balloon or the flimsy heads of dandelion blooms, evoke the at once steadfast and precarious thresholds of our own existence.

 

This series is a departure from Zhang’s bold, highly contrasted paintings on felt, a material he began exploring in 2011 that has figured prominently in his practice ever since. Where the felt works formally trouble and render unstable the fixity of his subjects – classical bronze and marble sculptures from antiquity – Spirit, water drop and the light reads as a poetic yet painstaking attempt to grasp the fleeting notes of which life is composed for just a moment longer by bestowing attention on the beautiful, yet ultimately transient, present. 

 

Visit Watou Arts Festival website →

  • ZHANG YUNYAO Spirit, water drop and the light (6), 2021 Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate 3 panels,...
    Spirit, water drop and the light (6), 2021
    Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate
    3 panels, each 150 x 115 cm
  • Zhang Yunyao, Spirit, water drop and the light (2), 2021 (Detail)
  • Artist statement written on the night of 28 April 2021 at rue de Lévis, Paris. 'In the past year or...

    Spirit, water drop and the light (2), 2021

    Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate

    29 x 38 cm

    Artist statement written on the night of 28 April 2021 at rue de Lévis, Paris.

     

    "In the past year or so, for each of us, the meaning of life must have taken on an extra latitude to review and re-examine. For me, at this moment, in a foreign land, I am also experiencing and have been through many things that are engraved in my heart. Perhaps only the language of poetry can settle those mixed, complicated emotions and thoughts down inside me.

     

    The two poems and one essay presented here were written in the year of 2020 and 2021. The first two poems were written in memory of my deceased loved ones, in which I wanted to use two imageries as symbols of the 'death and disease' in my heart that took away the lives of my loved ones. These two imageries are 'Charon, the ferryman of the Rivers Styx' and 'the lungs destroyed by disease.' The essay is my first attempt to describe the 'self / ego' in lyrical words, which can also be interpreted as 'how a painter paints a self-portrait with words.'

     

    The works on paper and my written words presented at the 40th edition of the Watou Arts Festival carry some of the most simple emotions,  light as cotton, transparent as drops of water. May they evoke those feelings of empathy within us at the present time of 2021."

     

    • ZHANG Yunyao Spirit, water drop and the light (5), 2021 Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate 26.7 x 20 cm
      ZHANG Yunyao
      Spirit, water drop and the light (5), 2021
      Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate
      26.7 x 20 cm
    • ZHANG Yunyao Spirit, water drop and the light (1), 2021 Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate 27.5 x 20.5 cm
      ZHANG Yunyao
      Spirit, water drop and the light (1), 2021
      Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate
      27.5 x 20.5 cm
    • ZHANG Yunyao Spirit, water drop and the light (3), 2021 Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate 24 x 18 cm
      ZHANG Yunyao
      Spirit, water drop and the light (3), 2021
      Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate
      24 x 18 cm
    • ZHANG Yunyao Spirit, water drop and the light (4), 2021 Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate 26.7 x 20 cm
      ZHANG Yunyao
      Spirit, water drop and the light (4), 2021
      Graphite pencil on paper mounted on aluminum plate
      26.7 x 20 cm
  • Zhang Yunyao's Spirit, water drop and the light series at Watou Arts Festival is now open

     

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