An exhibition showcasing five important video artworks by pioneering new media artist Zhang Peili.
Closing drinks for Zhang Peili's exhibition on the 15th June 1-3 pm at 164 High Street Hawthorn.
Zhang Peili is undisputedly a pioneering new media artist integral to the birth of China’s avant-garde. His piece 30x30, made in 1988, is widely accepted as the first video piece in the history of Chinese contemporary art. Critic Karen Smith describes ‘a sardonic, deadpan impulse’ with respect to this seminal work, and a resonant pragmatism reflecting the socio-political mood of the time.
Zhang Peili’s practice centres on universal human experience, perception and interaction. Invariably using a fixed camera angle, his eye – and thus that of the audience – is trained unflinchingly on a specific and often simple subject or action.
Zhang Peili (b.1957) is a Hangzhou-based oil, conceptual and video artist. A prominent figure in the new wave art movements of the mid to late 1980s, and a founding member of the Pond Society (est 1986), Zhang graduated in 1984 from oil painting department at China Art Academy. Zhang’s experimental practice quickly transgressed painting. Pond Society group pursued alternatives to conventional notions of art, working together to create work that explored the use of the body, and impermanent occupations of public space. They explored social interaction through themes of conformity, manipulation and the ominous connotations of health (jiankang) and sterility.
ACAF is honoured to present a selection of works by Zhang Peili over past two decades at the Melbourne Project Art Space. The works exhibited include 30x30 (1988), Actor’s Lines (2002), Last Words (2003), Happiness (2006), and Portrait (2012 ). Displayed across separate screens, Happiness portrays two sets of video clips taken from the Cultural Revolution film In The Shipyard. As a male protagonist delivers a speech on one side, the other screens shows people clapping wildly. Actors Lines experiments significantly with cinematic time and repetition, as a scene of a soldier being reprimanded by his senior is spliced, slowed and re-presented for effect. In an uncanny and surreal intervention, Last Words puts together multiple scenes of heroic characters’ final words from 1950s and 1970s Chinese Revolution films.
The truth, finally, is not in describing but in seeing these works by Zhang Peili, a very first solo exhibition in Melbourne.