Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on July 25, 2013 of Zhang Dun: New Works. In her first exhibition at Chambers Fine Art, Zhang Dun turned the industrial environment of Shenyang where she spent her formative years for the subject-matter of her drawings. Her desolate urban landscapes, pencil drawings of remarkable refinement were noteworthy for the way in which she transforms industrial buildings of the type that can be found throughout China into haunting evocations of a world that no longer exists.
From the 1990s onwards it was the destruction of the traditional architecture of Beijing that inspired many artists to document its demise. In the hands of Zhang Dun, it was the massive industrial architecture of the 1950s and 1960s that occasioned these elegiac reflections on this utilitarian architecture that is currently undergoing the same fate as the hutongs.
In a new series of drawings of peaches, however, executed in colored pencil, Zhang reveals sensitivity to the forms of the natural world that had hitherto not appeared in her oeuvre. Whereas her street scenes, fully occupying the sheet or sheets of paper on which they were executed, were severe and monochromatic, the peaches are created from networks of fine pencil lines which range from the palest silvery grey to rich tones of yellow and pink.
Traditionally regarded as a symbol of longevity and health in China, the peach assumes monumental form in Zhang Dun’s drawings and is the sole focus of attention. Examining them from many different angles, emphasizing the surface demarcations which differ from one to the other, the luscious peaches are strangely disembodied and frankly erotic. There is a tension between the sensitive draftsmanship which can be admired for its own sake and the resulting three-dimensional forms which simultaneously evoke intimately observed aspects of the human body and the pieces of fruit from which they depart.