TIME AND SPACE
Cutting-edge artist Zhong Biao's surreal works conjure up confused pastiches of past, present, and future; perhaps it's because he views them all as one. TWOC sits down with Zhong to discuss his work.
Why do you concentrate so strongly on your understanding of time and space? For my college graduation internship project, I did an investigation of ancient cultural sites across northwestern China. It was quite intense and I would go through three counties per day and felt like I was completely wrapped up in antiquity. An illusion started to grow that I was a man walking through history. Twenty-two years old at the time, I felt like I had existed for far longer. It’s like a piece of a jade artifact from the Qing Dynasty; though the carving was done in the Qing era, the jade itself takes hundreds of millions of years to form. So I started to look for antiquity in the modern metropolis I lived in. This particular idea about time and space drove me start on my journey.
Where do you get your inspiration from? As far as I’m concerned, the present is a temporary product of the universe. So I propose the concept that we are all brought into the present by the universe, by the merging on us of everything that has occurred. The present, past, and even the future are one. Every individual is connected with history and with the future. If you can embed yourself into this consciousness, you’ll have joined with the whole and the other no longer exists. My inspiration comes from my unexpected meetings with this whole.
Are you expressing an opinion on international politics in your work “All in Vain”? Though cosmic forces have generally fostered the rapid progress of humankind, it doesn’t make any difference; disasters have still intensified. Great opportunity and crisis always go hand in hand. I wouldn’t call it an opinion on international politics; rather, it’s putting the reality of the world on a cosmic scale to make sense of it.
Zhong Biao (钟飙) Active for the past two decades, Zhong Biao has had 23 solo exhibitions in 12 countries and regions, contemplating the relationship between reality and its hidden motives. Mainly focusing oil painting and installation art, his surreal expressions represent a distinctive view of time and space.
How does the political climate in China and the world impact your artistic expression? The impact is not significant. The latent forces behind these political issues and the political climate are what really influence my creation, though they are often invisible.
Why put the specific images among the abstract strokes? If abstract strokes are like electricity in the power grid, the images are the light bulbs they’ve lit. Abstraction is the hidden connection; they express the visible objects they link. Expression, on the other hand, is the intervention of subjectivity. Therefore, abstraction, expression, and representation, in essence, are a single entity, a visual integration of the subject and object.
All in Vain, Meat, Take Off,
Journey to the West,