AMNUA announces "INDIVISIBLE: Zhang Yanzi Solo Exhibition" opening on March 10



Chasing the Wind A Thousand Miles Away (detail), Album of painting, 51.5×1191.5cmMixed media on paper, 2023-2024


By Lin Shuchuan

There is no intimacy that is indivisible and everlasting nor does it exist in any relationships, in life, or in art. Being “indivisible” refers to a non-spatial area, indicating a state of invisible fullness, and a blank space for Zhang Yanzi’s reflection on individual and collective relationships. As the artist depicts in the exhibition, her work remains reflective of both the individual and the collective. Through the seamless transformation of positive and negative aspects, there is always another perspective of thinking hidden under the aesthetic representation. What Zhang Yanzi wants to reflect is far more than one aspect, as this is not only a creative perspective for her, but it is also a viewer’s perspective when participating. It can be observed and comprehended from various perspectives, states or emotions. These works that were deliberately completed with a single element and movement can convey distinct concepts if the artist composes them in various ways. These elements can change according to different situations, thus unfolding diversity beyond the materials that she has used.


Encounter (detail), Hollow scroll and mixed media, 320×90cm, 2022-20243.jpgEncounter (detail), Hollow scroll and mixed media, 320×90cm, 2022-2024

If being “indivisible” is not regarded as a superficial intimate relationship, then how to construct a state of closeness and indivisibility then becomes the artist’s thinking direction. For Zhang, being “indivisible” is the undercover of appearance, and appearance may be just the tip of the iceberg of expression. She conveys this relationship between appearance and deeper significance through different materials, forms, colors and symbols. In the “Encounter” series, Zhang Yanzi constructs a temporal opposition, intentionally hollowing out traditional scrolls that symbolize tradition and everyday objects that symbolize the present. The internationally common currency, painkilling patches, gauze, and plasters are combined by the artist, like a pretending rhetoric on current society, and also a “useless” decoration for an ever-expanding social desire. Like the pretence of intimacy, the hollowness is what we cannot truly touch. The pain results from this and is “indivisibly” transformed in body and analgesic objects such as band-aids, gauze, plasters, and currency. Similarly, in her latest work “Chasing the Wind A Thousand Miles Away”, the painted landscape pages that have been pierced and carved out by scalpels and medical tweezers, also have a sense of pain coming from behind if they are observed closely. Apart from the form, her work ceases to be simple landscape paintings but they represent the traces of personal skin allergies and a record of an extreme action. In the work, this scar is preserved, and a thousand miles also turn from a description of distance to a temporal concept. Time may bring about pain and some of the history that has been completed over time is also painful. People who exist in history may sometimes feel painful. This is an operation in the face of tradition, history, and time. In these works, Zhang Yanzi attempts to express the heterogeneous landscape under the bustle of people in a silent and empty way.


Glamours (detail), Ink and color on paper, 180×96cm, 20245.jpg

Her 24 Solar Terms (24 pieces), Mixed media, Varied dimensions, 2022

“Her 24 Solar Terms” in this exhibition are gender-specific as the 24 chapters are named after Chinese solar terms, which can be one year or a lifetime. A gendered life, from a passive birth to a passive departure, is also the life of a “woman” from the artist’s view, from awakening, to maturity, to desolation, to withering. Just like a “female” poet, she uses “female” colors, “female” paper, “female” cloth, and “female” lines. Just as Zhang Yanzi often says: “I don’t think about whether these are art or not, I just want to finish one thing.” Maybe Zhang Yanzi has never cared about her identity as an artist. In her life, everything she sees and thinks is just recorded by herself with a specific material.


Fragments (detail), Mixed media, Dimension variable, 20247.jpgFragments (detail), Mixed media, Dimension variable, 2024

Here is “Indivisible” showing time flies, in her unique way, Zhang Yanzi creates something from nothing, and from something to nothing.

March 2nd, 2024

About the Artist

章燕紫2024近照 摄影 张威.jpg

Zhang Yanzi was born in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province. She is currently based in Beijing and she works as a Professor, PhD and Postgraduate Supervisor in Central Academy of Fine Arts. Currently she is the Director of Social Studio at the School of Experimental and Sci-Tech Arts at the 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


Curator: Lin Shuchuan

Dates: March 10–30, 2024

Venue: Hall 4, Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts (AMNUA)

Opening: March 10, 2024, 15:00

Courtesy of AMNUA.