Phenomenon ——Zhou Xianyao Art Exhibition
Academic Host: Yang Wei
Curator: Li Qinglin
Planning Editor: Wang Xin
Translation: Cui Peng
Design: Yang Mingyue
Organizer: Northern Abstraction
Undertaker: Cloria Art Museum
Media Support: Artron.net, KuArt, CCARTD
Opening Time: September 30, 2023 (10:00 a.m.)
Exhibition Time: September 30, 2023 to October 30, 2023
Exhibition Venue: Dalian Jinshitan Museum of Fine Arts (Hall 1)
所谓“坏画”，不是指画坏的画，而是指一种创作的立场和态度，带有某种玩世不恭的意味，包含“坏蛋”的意思。它主要源于北欧和东欧，以德国艺术家维尔纳·巴特纳（Werner Büttner）、马丁·基彭博格（Martin Kippenberger）、阿尔伯特·奥伦（Albert Oehlen）等人为代表。90年代以后，中国艺术家也开始关注时易世变的社会形态，将动荡不安和支离破碎的现实纳入艺术观念，加以戏谑性的表达，由此催生出一种中国式的“坏画”。艺术家周宪耀就是承接了这样一条创作路径。
Serious "Bad Painting"
——On the Art of Zhou Xianyao
By Yang Wei
Since modern art broke free from its narrative dependence on literature and other forms, it has presented an unprecedented richness. Among them, the anti-art trend sparked by "Dadaism" has also been incorporated into the inevitable logic of artistic development, and has made considerable progress. The most typical example is the birth of Pop Art, which expresses non-artistic elements as art, gradually becoming a creative trend and influencing the development of contemporary art since the 1960s. In this developmental trajectory, there is also an artistic clue that differs from Pop Art's frequent use of ready-made products and popular symbols, which is to deconstruct and destroy painting with painting itself. This has been criticized by the art world as "Bad Painting."
The so-called "Bad Painting" does not refer to poorly painted paintings, but rather a creative stance and attitude that carries a certain sense of cynicism and includes the meaning of "bad egg." It originated mainly in Northern and Eastern Europe and is represented by German artists such as Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger, and Albert Oehlen. After the 1990s, Chinese artists also began to pay attention to the rapidly changing social forms and incorporate the turbulent and fragmented reality into their artistic concepts, expressing it in a playful manner, thus giving birth to a Chinese-style "Bad Painting." Artist Zhou Xianyao is one who has continued down this creative path.
Zhou Xianyao began studying painting in the 1980s and was influenced by the "New Wave Art" of the time. His early works drew on many styles of Post-Impressionism and Expressionism, and from the beginning, he had a modernist creative concept, such as the exaggerated and distorted figures, bold and rough brushstrokes, thick and colorful textures, and subjective and arbitrary colors. These aesthetic tastes with modernist consciousness were absorbed by Zhou Xianyao into his own artistic thinking, laying the foundation for his artistic language. Later, swept up by the trend of the times, Zhou Xianyao went into business for a while, experiencing the ups and downs of the business world and the vicissitudes of personnel, which gave him a deeper understanding of society and human nature. Therefore, when Zhou Xianyao returned to the art world and picked up his brush again in the new century, his inner world was already full of wounds. As a result, using his brush to make up for his inner lack and express the social upheavals became the core content of Zhou Xianyao's artistic creation.
Unlike his previous focus on human body and other art themes, Zhou Xianyao's later works are more focused on social expression. This is, of course, due to his real-life experiences, years of social involvement and observation, which made him see too many things in real life that are mixed in black and white and unclear, especially the spiritual confusion and emotional detachment brought about by social changes, leaving him with indelible psychological shadows. Therefore, using his brush to vent his anger and express his love and sympathy for reality and life has become Zhou Xianyao's humanistic perspective on reality. However, unlike many artists who focus on reality, Zhou Xianyao's observation of reality is not only based on personal experience, but also on his interest in exploring language. This makes Zhou Xianyao's paintings not only leave us with a picture of the era of contemporary society but, more importantly, engraves the psychological imprints that have passed through this era.
Zhou Xianyao's recent works can be mainly divided into two categories: one is about daily things, such as the static space of indoor solidification, such as colorful and old chairs and stools; the other involves life situations, such as rows of men and women, and lonely individuals lying in thorny bushes. These two types of works seem to have different themes but, under the language coordination with strong expressive meaning of Zhou Xianyao, they are interrelated and organically integrated, all revealing an image of weather-beaten and shadow-dwelling. Obviously, this sense of desolation and loneliness is the contemporary human survival situation and the collective expression of contemporary people. However, interestingly, Zhou Xianyao does not summarize this collective destiny of contemporary people with grand narratives but, through the abstraction of language, invests it with a personalized artistic vision. This makes Zhou Xianyao's works more profound and more imbued with human warmth, stripped of the bizarre surface of reality.
There is no doubt that after the immersion of materialization and the impact of commodification, contemporary human living space has been alienated, no longer the simple relationship between human and nature, but entangled with various real interests and material desires, becoming increasingly obscure. Therefore, contemporary art criticizes reality in order to cleanse the polluted reality and awaken the sleeping humanity. Zhou Xianyao adheres to such a creative concept. He uses a highly satirical language to reveal the fleeting shadows of contemporary society, just as Lu Xun used literary works to tear open wounds. In fact, it is precisely to awaken the essence of human existence and to allow people to gain self-awareness from it.
August 15, 2023 in Tongzhou, Beijing.
坠落的春风1 2022 布面油画 200×150cm
坠落的春风2 2022 布面油画 200×150cm
春风 2023 布面油画 150×120cm
升起月光 2023 布面油画 150×120 cm
醒不了的时光 2022 布面油画 150×120cm
现象——生命的象征和世界相连的纽带；思考这个现象是黑色的现实，光在哪里……而心灵有了 “光” 促使他在自我孤独的思考里呈现着自己思维的脉络，而不再困惑与迷茫。
周宪耀作品中的 “现象” 存在于具体的视觉空间之中。这种视觉空间是东西方文化艺术与自我的表达，它是时间的，是现象的，是维度与思考后的思考；是遥远的河流，是星辰，是轮回的，如真如幻的 “现象与空间” ，是作者对时代潮，当下的，思考——你倾诉吗？
2023 8 15于大连金石滩
寻找月光河 2022 布面油画 150×120 cm
为什么有风 2022 纸本油画 70×54cm
有邮票的遥远 2022 纸本油画 70×50cm
江山1 2022 布面油画 120x90cm
江山2 2022 布面油画 120x90cm
—Those who are highly idealistic,Those distant rivers.
By Li Qinglin
Phenomenon — the symbol of life and the link between the world; contemplating this phenomenon is a black reality, where is the light... but the soul has a "light" that prompts it to present the train of thought in its own self-solitary thinking, no longer confused and perplexed.
Zhou Xianyao's work expounds the essence of the era and social phenomena, as well as the problems of artistic essence and fundamental thinking. The reproduction of the light of art aims to shine with the light of freedom and self before the illusion; by exploring life and living conditions as well as focusing on and contemplating the natural environment and society through time and reality.
Through the language of art, it inspires us to cherish even more the harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature; it reshapes the inner voice of those who give meaning to the reproduction of artistic life.
The world of art belongs to you and me; together, we reproduce our own dimensions of freedom, thinking and longing for the desires of every artistic creator to coexist. Through visual communication, each artistic creator conveys their unique microcosmic world.
The art form of Zhou Xianyao's exhibition is diverse and multi-dimensional, showcasing the fragility of life, human care, the power of recovery and origin, as well as the longing for hope and dawn.
His artistic growth is also his understanding of this society and unique self, through experience and reflection. Culture and art are not only integrated, but also represent the current era and trends. His attitude towards art is not only a part of his life, but also a state of living pop culture. It points to the introspective phenomenon of the passing of life's essence.
In the artistic tide of this era's changing trends, the perception of phenomena sheds new light on the original meaning of individual life; it is of the times, of society, of self and loneliness, and is discovered within oneself. Do the relationships between people and the phenomena that pass between them exist?
---The sun rose last night,
I searched for the shadow of the Milky Way from the opposite bank,
I searched for the stars of the sun in the black night of the sun,
Sun, does the phenomenon exist?
Those popular beliefs.
The son of the sun,
The stars are distant,
I rise in the dawn of the sun before dawn.
The "phenomena" in Zhou Xianyao's works exist in a specific visual space. This visual space is an expression of Eastern and Western cultural art and the self. It is time, phenomenon, dimension and thoughtful reflection. It is a distant river, stars, and a cycle of phenomena and space that is like a mirage. It is the author's reflection on the current era and trends. Will you share your thoughts?
Zhou Xianyao's painting is a true visual experience of his contemplation of contemporary art. It is also his deep understanding of art and human concepts that gradually move towards contemporary and abstract new concepts.
August 15, 2023 at Jinshitan, Dalian.