Nov 9, 2019 -
Jan 12, 2020
BANK is excited to present, for the first time ever, a double solo show of two of Chinese contemporary art's most controversial players, Lu Yang and Chen Tianzhuo. This badass artist couple just celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary but have yet to exhibit together, nor have they ever exhibited paintings before. Lu Yangs 'Debut' posits her irreverent and eclectic interests, not in her usual 3d video animations, but instead in traditional paint on canvas. Demons, gods and Japanese anime characters are entwined together on her vibrant hand painted canvases. While Chen Tianzhuo's 'backstage boys' takes a behind the scene peek at his many off-the-hook performances with his cast of freaks and saints rendered here in mixed media oils and charcoal.
This is a double solo of double firsts and not to be missed!
Lu Yang: Debut
Is a “second debut” an oxymoron? What does it mean to an artist? To his/her audience, an artist lives inside a box – a public image based on the works he had created, and the works he/she “should” be making. A second debut topples the box over. In this latest solo exhibition, Lu Yang makes a second debut as an artist, and this time as a painter. Taking visual elements from popular and sub-culture, Lu Yang’s new body of work reflects themes familiar throughout his practice. In many paintings, Lu Yang reincarnates himself as demons or monsters that conjure a cult of annihilation – a direct reference to a recent video game work where characters from his past videos gather as a superhero alliance to fight evil. In Lu Yang’s universe, good and evil are. By subverting this dichotomy, Lu Yang tips over the balanced and the normative with a wicked sense of humor. Like a good parody, Lu Yang’s paintings are loud and border on absurd, but make enough room for his audience to react and shift their attitude towards art and an artist’s second debut.
Text by Ida Yang
Tianzhuo Chen: Backstage Boys
As the artist and director, Tianzhuo Chen has only seen his performance work from backstage. He is, to quote himself, a “backstage boy”. A good backstage boy disappears into his own work: he is part of the stage direction, lighting design, and sound composition. From the conception of a new work to its avatar characters and prop design, Chen likes to visualize his ideas through hand made sketches. The performance, to an extent, is a continuation of his works on paper. In his first painting showcase, the backstage boy steps onto the stage. The act of painting, though private, is performative in itself and for the very first time, he will be seeing his works front-stage, as an audience.
Paintings included in “Backstage Boys” give motifs from Chen’s past performance work a second life. His early drawings on Hell Bank Notes (a psychic medium in Asian culture) meditate on an image’s transcendence beyond life and death, and catapult his painting practice into a new material realm. In “Backstage Boys”, Chen continues his experimentation with various painting surfaces. Still images from past performances are printed on aluminum panels or rendered sculpturally as reliefs on density fiberboards, and then painted over with oil stick or charcoal. Chen’s painterly strokes furthers the lifespan of his avatars by taking their absurdity and romanticism beyond the limitations of live performances. In some cases, Chen evokes the uncanny by painting on his own skin – scanned and flattened as canvases. As a painting showcase, “Backstage Boys” begins with representation, but lands on musings over idolatry and iconophilism embedded in Tianzhuo Chen’s practice.
Xin Bi, co-founder of MondayOFF