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Zhou Song Solo Exhibition

17 April - 07 May, 2022

Guardian Art Center (Beijing, China)


Zhang ZiKang

Academic host

Eugene Y. Wang

Appreciating the works of artist Zhou Song is a process of constant questioning and introspection. What this artist gives is not the answers, but the questions we are waiting for. Zhou Song has a broad vision and universal humanistic care, he constructs a mutual cultural context with his artwork. His works have skilled artistic techniques and profound philosophical speculations, rather than being limited to any technique, concept, or category, he adheres to the respect for the content itself. For him, skill is a way of thinking and his incisive expressions are sharp and clear. In Zhou Song’s paintings, the fusion of image and color constructs a strong collision in its visual presentation, this highlights the harmony between similarity and opposition, while realizing the balance between complexity and minimalism. The structure and details of his paintings are exhibitions of the artist’s thoughts and attitude. The deformation in his paintings are harmonious where plain and solid figures aesthetically coexist, and the space-time crisscross and virtual reality is never a simple beauty of form, but a reflection. Zhou Song’s “inflating” series of works are visual images full of sense and dry humor at first sight, which inevitably makes people wonder whether it was under the influence of pop culture. However, the combination with “good-looking” will not dismiss the connotation of his art with insight. Based on the application of geometric elements and the framework of main composition, the artist emphasizes the richness of painting as a language. He also highlights the emotional relationship in the cold abstract diagram, which constitutes the contradiction of extrusion and resistance, this echoes with the creative theme of his paintings. It is a further exploration and artistic practice of cold abstractionism. Magritte’s surrealism is reinterpreted through formal design and the selection of elements. Is it surreal over surreal or actualization of surreal? The inflating body forms two kinds of spiritual guidance in the structure of the picture: looking from the inside to the outside or looking from the outside to the inside. Is it inbound or outbound? The most complex human images are single, indifferent, and diverse natural objects, which has become the amplifier of human moods and emotions. Tao follows nature. Man, and nature achieve spiritual unity and convey the contradiction between each other. People are implicit and resistant due to complexity, while natural things are explicit and carefree, which makes the artist’s expression trenchant, humorous, sharp, and direct. With hyper realistic techniques, Zhou Song’s “entropy” series form a profound reflection between real existence, scientific, technological imagination, and virtual future. Zhou Song brought conceptual art into hyperrealism, expanded the historical concept of hyperrealism, led hyperrealism to conceptual art, and built a better communication of emotion and concept. Rooted in historical facts and social times, the artist represents what he sees and hears, his thoughts and feelings, this establishes a strong connection with the viewer. The bloody and flesh body carries the temperature and beat of life itself; technology transmits the relative mechanical sense. Is knowledge, energy, and intelligence simply survival or common prosperous? Beyond the eyes of the artist is the nested eyes of the viewer and the eyes of the times, this structure of multiple examinations form multiple perspectives. The intersection of oriental and western cultural symbols, the relationship between man and nature, society, science and technology, the cultural metaphor of animals and plants, the sociological significance of human’s movement, emotion, appearance and dress up, the historical fragments of civilization evolution, scientific and technological development, etc. These are all full of tension formed by Song’s humorous and contradictory observations. Looking back on the creative process of Zhou Song, it is clear that he keeps exploring different sequences of works and he puts forward a serious examination within the social reality of artistic techniques. It can be found that under the transformation of oriental philosophy, western philosophy’s exhaustive logic, and deductive pursuit of his works have changed. There is no difference between master or slave, you or me, creators or admirers, trapped ones or onlookers, society or nature, experience or unknown, individual or group, human or science or technology, subversion or inheritance, present or future, real or symbolic, existing or imaginary. Both sides are aesthetic and reflective subjects, dialectical to each other. [Zhang Zikang is Director of the Art Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA)]

Installation Views


ZHOU SONG's BIOMORPHIC ART OF CYBERG By Eugene Wang, Harvard University The art of 21st century paintings opens up a new horizon. It is ready to move on from the captivity of the previous century’s master narratives–the teleology of flat surfaces, the self-delusion of spontaneity of self expression, medium specificity, conceptual art, and intermediality, and so on. All these have receded in the rear window mirror, having either been internalized or simply made irrelevant, as we are close to the first quarter mark of the 21st century. New horizons loom large and new possibilities beckon. Just as Bauhaus had served as a catalytic agent in jump-starting modern art in the 20th century, so a new impulse–what might be called New Bauhaus–is gaining traction. Design, or the integration of design into the painterly medium, is having its second coming, with a vengeance. Unlike the old Bauhaus that was driven by the mechanist and functionalist impulse, 21st century artists like Zhou Song marry machinist aesthetics with biomorphism. In its origin, art had aspired toward the condition of biomorphic design. Over time, art has undergone stages internalizing biological forms through various means: extrapolating forms from nature or generating nature-inspired abstract or fractal patterns. Zhou Song’s art takes up a more complex set of conditions. Rather than operating within the parameters of lush organicism vs. austere machine aesthetics, he explores the nexus and entanglement of the two. Mechanic schema provides the framework for biomorphic substance; artificiality colludes with bodily texture. These works aptly capture the posthuman dynamic of cyberg, at once a body of mechanism and a mechanics of the body.



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