Zhang Xiao. About My Hometown

The exhibition features five latest photography and mixed media works about Zhang’s reflections on his homecoming to Yantai.

Blindspot Gallery is pleased to present “About My Hometown”, the third solo exhibition of Mainland artist Zhang Xiao at Blindspot Gallery, featuring the six latest photography and mixed media series from the artist. Revolving around the theme of “hometown”, it highlights Zhang’s shifting focus from the portrayal of life in contemporary China in his previous series such as Coastline (2009-­‐2013) and They (2006-­‐2008) to reflections on his homecoming, and the experiences and presences that surround it in his new works. It also demonstrates the artist’s use of a wider range of media in his creative repertoire.

Featuring instant films taken in his home, i.e. Yantai in Shandong province, the black and white photo collage series Shift was created through a process of detachment and reassembly that echoes Zhang’s relationship with his hometown. In a delicate and time-­‐consuming process, the artist created the instant film emulsion lifts and manually assembled them into works of photo collage. The faint, painting-­‐like images not only mirror the shifting homeland in Zhang’s perception, but also hint at the changing landscapes from China’s ongoing transformation.

Memories of home life ring in the mixed media series Home Theater (2015), which draws on Zhang’s recollection of watching TV and films on VHS during his childhood, a symbol of luxury in China in the 1990s. The artist selected eight of his favourite films and TV shows from the 1980s-­‐1990s, and made a screen capture of the most notable scene in each film or show for the label for the VHS tape. The film soundtracks are played simultaneously alongside the exhibit, weaving an intricate web of sounds that denote the re-­‐ creation of the bygone eras.

The rendition of the past underlines Eldest Sister and Relatives, and the two series mark a humorous tribute to the once popular practice of “New Photography” in the rural villages of Northern China. Photo editors, whom the artist calls “travelling folk artists of image”, roamed the villages with their notebook computers and created composite portraits for the villagers, like the ones comprising Zhang’s cousin’s face and models’ figures from Eldest Sister. In enlarging these old photos into near life-­‐sized portraits, Zhang resurrects the sense of aesthetics, attitudes and even longing of those who inhabited the Yantai of his early years.

Living (2014-­‐15) is a light-­‐hearted portrayal of the reality in today’s China. It features Zhang posing for a photo with presumably the day’s newspaper and imitating those retired elderly who, having moved away from their hometowns where the records of their household registration were made, must provide photographic proof of themselves still living to obtain their pension funds. This work also recalls Zhang’s experiences and memories of working in the media for five years in the past.

Image: Zhang Xiao, A Dead Magpie 2014. Instant film on paper, 27 x 27 cm

Press Contact: Ms. Lesley Kwok at 2517 6238 or by email info@blindspotgallery.com

Opening: Saturday, 16 May 2015, 4 -­‐ 6pm
(Guided tour by artist starts at 4:30pm)

Blindspot Gallery
28 Wong Chuk Hang Road
15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building
Hong Kong
Tue – Sat 10am to 6pm

dal 16 maggio al 27 luglio 2015