Exhibition View of “The Dangerous Balance”
“There are dangers that are visible and some that are invisible. Every time I hear all kinds of unfortunate news, I feel that living is really a lucky thing.... Confronted with various dangers, we can only keep dodging while maintaining a balance, just like walking on a tightrope.”—Zhang Yanzi
Paris October 5, 2023, Zhang Yanzi’s latest solo exhibition “The Dangerous Balance” opened at ESPACE DES FEMMES-Antoinette Fouque. This exhibition is hosted by the academic Elisabeth Nicoli, Chief of the French Women’s Publishing House, and curated by Ms. He Yuhong, founder of the Union of Asian Artists in France (abbr. UAAF). Six series of new works recently created by Zhang are on display: “Hyperplasia”, “WE”, “The Multi-face”, “The Faceless”, “Breathable”, and “Enjoy Oneself”. These continue Zhang’s long-standing comprehension and expression of issues such as tradition, identity, scars, and repair. The use and selection of materials are more intense, more ingenious, in a free and easy way, in line with the artist’s own temperament and spiritual pursuit. They present a panoramic view of encounters, collisions, fights or separations among different cultures and civilizations, among different human groups, and between traditional and modern spirits, making people truly feel a profound cultural “Hüzün” .
View of the Opening Ceremony (from the left): Ms. He Yuhong, founder of the Union of Asian Artists in France (abbr. UAAF), Ms. Catherine Villeneuve, one of the leaders of the Women’s Alliance for Democracy, and Professor Zhang Yanzi from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China.
The opening ceremony was hosted by Ms. Catherine Villeneuve, one of the leaders of the Women’s Alliance for Democracy. She introduced the event by saying that since its establishment in 1972, the Women’s Alliance for Democracy has adhered to the principles of equality and justice, advocated for women from all aspects, and fought for women’s rights and interests, and has decided to continue this mission. Ms. Elisabeth Nicoli, the academic host of the exhibition, mentioned that: Zhang Yanzi’s works have strong modernity and a contemporary quality. Having experienced individual transformation and long-term in-depth thinking, the artist has found her experience of realistic life within the epochal context, adding to a new multi-dimensional cognition and discovery to our understanding of the creations of contemporary Chinese female artists.
View of the opening for“The Dangerous Balance”
Being a Chinese female artist, Zhang Yanzi has been focusing on themes such as pain and analgesia, healing, and remedy over the past decade. Curator Ms. He Yuhong stated in her opening speech: Zhang Yanzi has gone through a period of thinking and weighing up. After that, she decided to give up the general and narrow artistic methodology and naturally develop from themes and materials to expressive techniques. She no longer avoided her unique talent as a woman. She was determined to express women’s characteristics, determination and value of women’s force with sensitivity, delicacy and flexibility from her heart.
Exhibition View of “The Dangerous Balance”
“The Dangerous Balance” comes from the poet Bei Dao’s comments on Zhang Yanzi’s works. He believes that “her works achieve a dangerous balance between art and therapy. With the unique sensitivity bestowed upon women, she is looking for the source of life for human beings to save themselves.” This sentence left a deep impression on the curator He Yuhong and she totally agreed with it as a short sentence that conveyed the dual meaning of philosophy and poetry. He Yuhong believes that artists are a group of people who keep “dangerous in balance and balanced in danger”. In her artistic experiments and explorations, Zhang Yanzi is committed to pursuing the “sorrow and trauma” that people intentionally avoid but cannot forget or bypass. This is a dangerous behavior, and precisely because of the danger, it is full of poetry and heart-warming.
WE, 2023; Gauze, screws, mineral pigments, thread, puppets, Puppet sets with a height of about 12-16cm (dimensions variable)
The Multi-face, 2023; Mixed media, Each about 20 x 35cm
The Faceless, 2022; Mixed media, Each about 20 x 35cm
Hyperplasia No. 2, No. 4 and No. 3, 2023; Ink, gauze, thread, from the left 35.5×97cm, 35.5×111.3cm, 36.2×97cm
Since the outbreak of pandemic in the context of the ever-changing relationship between the individual and society, the individual and the epoch, artists have gradually shifted from the past focus on self and others to a more grandiose focus on the emotions and destiny of the surrounding people, society and the world. Their creations naturally do not depart from a common theme: “remedy”. The “constant in change” reflected by artists reminds the curator of what Jacques Derrida said: “deconstruction is always a movement of its own.” The movement of self-deconstruction is not so much “dismantling and destroying”, rather it is a reconstruction in a larger dimension. This “self-movement” runs through the story composed of eras and individuals. It can be passive or active, and the “initiative” here is precisely the “dangerous balance” mentioned above.
This exhibition remains on view until October 28, 2023.
About the Artist
Zhang Yanzi was born in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province. Graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, she is currently based in Beijing and she works as a Professor and PhD Supervisor in Central Academy of Fine Arts. Her solo exhibitions were held respectively at Shanghai Art Museum, Today Art Museum, PAN, Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli, Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences, Surgeons’ Hall Museums and Museum of East Asian Art (MEAA). Besides, her works have been included in the collections of the National Art Museum of China, M+ Museum, CAFA Art Museum, Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, the Sigg Collection, Museo Belliniano and and private collections.
About the Exhibition
The Dangerous Balance
Zhang Yanzi’s First Solo Exhibition in Paris
Women’s Alliance for Democracy
Gallery of Feminism founded by Antoinette Fouque
Union of Asian Artists in France
Location: Gallery of Feminism founded by Antoinette Fouque
Address: 35 rue Jacob 75006 Paris
Duration: October 5–October 28, 2023
Opening Reception: October 5, 2023, 19:00
Academic Chair: Elisabeth Nicoli
Curator: Yuhong He
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 14:00-19:00
Courtesy of the Artist.