Photography and installation art has become an increasingly important medium of self expression among the younger generation of Chinese artists. In Body & Objects, Chambers has selected three such artists, Chu Yun, Jiang Zhi, Tang Yi for our summer show. The use of objects in relation to the body is a common thread found throughout the works of these artists. Objects are used as signifiers that bring meaning and depth to our understanding of our own body and self.
While the rest of us don’t think much of our day to day banal use of a bar of soap, Chu Yun has taken the opportunity to demonstrate that the soap is an interesting object which changes all the time when coming in contact with the body. They are miniature sculptures formed through the process of scrubbing away at the surface of the body. They are what the artist calls, “memorials, or anti-memorials ... as artworks (miniature sculptures made from body, flesh and skin) they are obtained by stopping. If I don’t stop, they will disappear.”
Jiang Zhi’s black and white photographs of two dancers are juxtaposed against one another. The contrast is startling; one is a transsexual with breast implants while the other dancer has lost hers from breast cancer. The artist comments on the emphasis of beauty in society and the significance of the breast as one of the most conspicuous symbols of a woman’s feminine identity.
Tan Yi’s series of photographs is a sequence of photographs of a young girl breathing into balloons of various colors trapped inside a traditional birdcage. A symbol of tradition, the birdcage is sued by the stylish young woman for a personal ritual in which the balloons are denied their most characteristic quality, namely their ability to float.
Although widely different in temperament, the three artists in this exhibition depart from the human body – photographs of it naked and exposed in the work of Jiang Zhi, by implication in the soap sculptures of Chu Yun and through symbolic expression of the air we breathe in the photographs of Tan Yi – and use it in order to survey a variety of personal issues that have only recently been admitted to public discussion in the newly energized China.
也许我们大多数人不会把自己的日常生活比作对一块肥皂的琐碎使用，但储云向我们展示了肥皂在与身体接触过程中不断变化的特性。它们在不断擦拭身体表面的过程中转化成微雕。它们是艺术家所称的“这些从日常生活中剥离出来的物品，一些纪念 / 反纪念碑 …… 作为艺术品 (这些由身体、肌肤制作的小型雕塑)， 它们是通过停止而得到的，如果我不停下来，它们就会消失。”