Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on September 12, 2013 of Zhao Zhao: Constellations. Born and educated in Shihezi, Xinjiang in 1982, Zhao Zhao moved into the orbit of Ai Weiwei when he moved to Beijing, all the while absorbing a critical attitude that characterizes all aspects of his work, paintings, sculpture, miscellaneous objects and performances.
For his second exhibition at Chambers Fine Art, Constellations departs from the culturally specific references to modern China that characterized According to Zhao Zhao: New Works (Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, 2011) to a more abstract approach that nonetheless is pointedly contrarian in spirit.
Constellations, as series of glass panels perforated with irregular patterns of holes and cracks, originated last year when Zhao Zhao decided to conduct an experiment involving gunshots and glass, a difficult undertaking in China where with very few exceptions the ownership of firearms is illegal. Intrigued by the idea of utilizing the velocity of bullets to create works of art in a carefully controlled manner, Zhao Zhao subsequently likened the glittering glass panels to constellations, any reference to astronomy having been far from his mind at the beginning of the project.
Contrasting with the glass Constellations are the Sky paintings, a seeming anomaly in his highly diverse practice. The context for these lush sky studies that verge on abstraction is Beijing where "blue-sky days" are exceedingly rare, more common being the grayish yellow of heavily polluted air. Zhao Zhao' s sky paintings are the work of somebody who seldom if ever sees a truly blue sky in his day to day existence in Beijing.
Appearances to the contrary, Zhao Zhao has not joined the long tradition of western artists from Constable to Monet who have paid tribute to the sky and cloud formations. Neither belated nature painter nor frustrated astronomer, Zhao Zhao creates subtexts that make his paintings of roiling skies and his glass Constellations potent beyond their physical presence.