Installation View of What I Don’t Understand Is What I Understand
Zhai Liang's latest solo exhibition, What I Don't Understand Is What I Understand, is on display at White Space (Shunyi) from May 27, 2023.
In his series The Garden of Forking Paths (2011-2015) and Night Vessel, shown at exhibitions such as Catalogue: Babel Library (2013), Notes (2015), and Finding Hermits (2018), Zhai Liang excelled at using ambiguous symbols to lead viewers into literary moments. He always cleverly combined humorous vignettes from short stories and comedy films and ambiguous perceptions and visions from everyday life with the contemplation of social relationships.
Zhai Liang, An Infinite Conversation, 2023. Oil on canvas, 180×135cm.Zhai Liang, Shall We Dance, 2023. Oil on canvas, 231×185cm
The 14 all-new oil paintings in What I Don't Understand Is What I Understand mark a bold departure from his previous work, reflecting a new round of destruction and creation from a long-time lover of literature and painting. Zhai takes a relaxed approach as he gives form to personal memories, but he also imbues the images with the woven textures of narratives that seem nearly—but not quite—over. His trademark humor continues in these paintings, but he no longer relies solely on comedic figures and their gestures from real life and media; instead, he transforms them into towering, jelly-like shapes comprised of countless curved lines and restless rounded surfaces. In other pieces, Zhai secretly grafts rural carnival scenes painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and his son and images from a trip to India a few years ago that had an immense influence on his subsequent work onto spontaneous Chinese experience. Nostalgic variants of legendary works of literature, the romance of colleagues riding their bicycles home from the factory, and the sophistication of the pair dancing era are deeply implanted in still other paintings.
Installation Views of What I Don’t Understand Is What I Understand
About the Artist
Zhai Liang (b. 1983, Shanxi Province, China) received his BFA from the Oil Painting Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute (SFAI) in 2006, he graduated with a Master’s degree from the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include What I Don’t Understand is What I Understand, WHITE SPACE (Shunyi), Beijing, China (2023); Imaginary Comedy, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China (2020); Writing Will Make Your Body Warm and Thumb Pain, Plate Space, Beijing, China (2019); Finding Hermits, WHITE SPACE BEIJING, Beijing, China (2018); Slow, A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, Chengdu, China (2017); Zhai Liang: Living Room, Fou Gallery, New York, US (2016); Notes, White Space, Beijing, China(2015). Recent group exhibitions include The Intertextuality of Art and Poetry, OCAT Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China (2019); Hack Space, K11 Art Foundation Pop-up Space, Hong Kong, China (2016); Luo Zhongli Scholarship 10th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibition, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China(2016); 1199 People: Collection from Long Museum, Long Museum, Shanghai, China(2014). Zhai Liang currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
About the Exhibition
Dates: 05.27, 2023 – 07.07, 2023
Venue: White Space (Shunyi)
Courtesy White Space.