Jiang Zhi: Attitude
Osage Gallery is pleased to announce Jiang Zhi: Attitude, featuring new works by Jiang Zhi. The exhibition will debut at Osage Shanghai on 7 September 2009, and will travel to Hong Kong in December 2009 and Beijing in April 2010.
Taking the concept of 'attitude' as a point of departure, Jiang Zhi explores how 'attitude' is not simply a conscious behaviour, nor merely an expression of a point of view, but a form of social rhetoric. Every form of 'attitude' is a node in the complex web of meaning-making. In this respect, 'attitude' is like a form of writing¡Xthrough speech, gestures, actions, expressions, masquerades, and performances¡Xwhere in its omnipresence, the protagonist and his subject is created, and the relationship between the self and other, or identity, is constructed. Thus, 'attitude' as rhetoric is inextricably linked to words, a ring in the chain of meanings, and forms a part of language usage. As a result, 'attitude' is no longer understood as a conscious decision of an individual, but as a performance of rhetoric.
This exhibition is an investigation into, and a rewriting of, the phenomenon behind rhetorical expressions. It consists of a long discussion that accompanies a series of new works by Jiang. The discussion examines different theoretical perspectives about 'attitude', and in so doing, creates a reservoir of meanings. This is juxtaposed against Jiang's re-interpretation of the concept of the rhetoric. Jiang extracts fragments of the social rhetorical as found in real life situations and reconstructs them, and in the process, breaks the chain of meanings. Stripped of its language-signifier, 'attitude' reveals its own significance, bringing forth the criticality that lies at the heart of the deconstruction.
In 0.7% Salt, Jiang reduces the signification of women's tears to a mere physical composite, challenging our habitual reference to its social signification. In this video, celebrity Gillian Chung performs the delicate emotional transition from gently smiling to breaking down in tears. The work demands viewers to forsake our presuppositions; while at the same time heightens our sense of appreciation for the pure visual aesthetics of an emotional transition. Maiden, All Too Maiden! is a photographic installation consisting 100 photographs of female models each presenting an expression of coyness. 'Coy' is an adjective commonly used on women and is deemed a feminine characteristic. The act of performing coyness brings forth an unnaturalness that questions its attribution in everyday usage. In contrast, what happens when a performative act loses it performativity? Does it then become natural? Tremble presents the conditions for such estrangement, proposing a tensity between the 'real' and 'performed'.
Jiang Zhi, born 1971 in Hunan, China, works in a range of mediums, such as photography, video, and installation. From an early stage of his artistic career, Jiang has been writing novels while taking photograph, and is also deeply interested in poetry. His works are highly captivating and often carry complicated levels of intertextuality. Since graduating from the China Academy of Fine Art in 1995, Jiang works have been included in many exhibitions, such as Building Code Violations, Long March Space, Beijing, China (2008), La rivoluzione siamo noi, Isola Art Centre, Milan, Italy (2006), China Power Station Part 1, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (2006), 2nd Guangzhou Triennial of Art, Guangdong Art Museum, Guangzhou, China (2005), Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, ICP and Asia Society, New York, USA (2004), Zone of Urgency, 50th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2003), and the 4th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangiu, South Korea (2002).
Following the presentation at Shanghai, the exhibition will travel to Hong Kong and Beijing, where each site will witness the expansion of the exhibition that stems from the continual discussions. It is hoped that the exhibition will present a continual investigation, rather than an attempt at a conclusion.
Press preview for the exhibition will be held on Monday, 7 September 2009 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. The artist, Jiang Zhi will be present at the event.