The following is a gallery statement from Long March Space, Beijing about Zhu Yu’s current exhibition, “Separation“(March 7 – May 24, 2015). The text is accompanied by a series of Zhu’s porcelain plate works on canvas, which feature the dregs of past meals.
Above image: Zhu Yu, Stain No. 1, 2008, oil on canvas, 180 x 140 cm
“Separation” is Zhu Yu’s second solo show at Long March Space. It’s an exhibition looking back at ten years of Zhu Yu’s works on canvas, and is curated by Colin Siyuan Chinnery.
Although this has never been his explicit intention, it is inevitable given his attitude towards art and the resulting methodology from this attitude. If anything Zhu Yu has been entirely consistent from his early controversial works involving human remains to his ethereal representations of stains. This exhibition aims to explore Zhu Yu’s way of thinking and attitude towards his work.
For this to be possible, a corridor has been constructed in Long March Space, linking together its two main exhibition halls and forcing an entirely linear reading of the work. On one side of this corridor Zhu Yu’s paintings are crammed together in chronological order, from his first to his last with little regard for aesthetic sensibilities. In this treatment, individual works are denied their individuality. Instead of ‘reading’ individual works, exhibition visitors are freed up to look at the artist’s way of thinking and working, which is something central to Zhu Yu’s ethos, and something perhaps denied to audiences before. Zhu Yu says, “In the end I want this exhibition to show a kind of project, something that compresses ten years of painstaking work into the idea of a single process. Maybe the paintings themselves are not central to this process, almost like the idea of performance.”
However, he has approached the medium in an entirely different way from other artists with the aim of creating a unique way of looking and representing the world. Separation refers to Zhu Yu’s insistence on taking a difficult path, separating himself from anything that might seduce him into making work that fits all too easily into today’s world.
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