Zhang Wei / Erik van Lieshout

Fort Kochi

26 Jan - 02 Mar 2019

Zhang Wei, Z-AC1720,2017
oil on canvas
180 x 220 cm
Fort Kochi
26 January – 2 March 2019

Zhang Wei
With the ZHANG WEI exhibition the Galerie Krinzinger will be showing one of the pioneers of Chinese abstract painting for the first time. The beginnings of contemporary art in China date back to the death of Mao Zedong at the end of the 1970s. In the period following the Cultural Revolution a number of young artists felt the desire to develop their artistic impulses in an unrestrained way. At this time Zhang Wei was in his early twenties. Young artists grouped together in collectives, such as the “No Name Group”, which Zhang Wei became a part of. A self-taught artist, Wei searched for his very own style while he studied Western art movements, particularly abstract expressionism. In the early 1980s he was one of the pioneers of abstract painting in China but at the same time he never turned his back on traditional Chinese teachings. His art drew on techniques of Chinese ink painting and the philosophy of “qi”, according to which special energies become set free in the painting process as soon as the brush touches the sheet. The exhibition at the Galerie Krinzinger will feature two different series of the artist’s work. One series comprises early works from the period between 1970 and 1980, while the second one presents more recent works by Zhang Wei. The small, older pieces, usually urban or rural vistas of his hometown and the surroundings of Beijing, show impressionist features. These works include “Mountain in the Sun” (1973) und “Beijing Zoo 2” (1977) – paintings that were created outdoors. The juxtaposition of these pieces with later works nicely illustrates the direction in which his painting has developed. In the more recent expressive paintings the use of strong oil paints stands out. The artist usually combines only a few, usually just two to three colors, in a painting. These works, showing parallels to action painting or Art Informel, are imbued with an expressive spontaneity. It seems as if Zhang Wei employs a couple of strong brushstrokes to quickly produce his paintings. Often he adds drops to a piece to further underscore the impression of spontaneity – a technique that is ascribed to ink painting. The artist actually contradicts this impression when he reveals that his works gain in complexity with every additional bit of abstraction in the painting process. By way of abstract art he is able to express a wealth of content and emotion and for Zhang Wei it is, first and foremost, a manifestation of liberty. But apart from this his paintings are meant to convey to the viewer that abstraction is omnipresent in our life. To quote Zhang Wei: “every good expression has abstract meaning and feelings.”
Zhang Wei was born in 1952 and lives and works in in Beijing. From 1986 to 2005 he lived in New York. His most important exhibitions include: Salon Salon: Fine Art Practices from 1972 to 1982 in Profile – A Beijing Perspective, Inside-Out Art Museum, Beijing (2017); Secret Signs: Calligraphy in Chinese Contemporary Art, DeichtorHallen, Hamburg, Germany; Right is Wrong / Four Decades of Chinese Art from the M+ Sigg Collection, Bildmuseet Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden (2014); Blooming in the Shadows: Unofficial Chinese Art, 19741985, China Institute Gallery, New York, USA (2011). His works are included in the collection of the Chicago Art Institute, the M+ Museum and a number of private collections.

Erik van Lieshout
Erik van Lieshout’s fourth solo exhibition at Galerie Krinziger is showing the film G.O.A.T., which he developed in a period of three months at the Biennale grounds of the 3rd Kochi Muziris Biennale, India. The filming started with the intention to produce a film with and about the audience. As one way to get in contact with the visitors Erik van Lieshout used the performative appropriation of elements of local cultures, such as rituals, to release the visitors from the burden of their sins. Already the intention to share the exhibition space with two goats got Erik van Lieshout into trouble with the Biennale’s authorities and lead to a conflict that later on escalated in the film because of the unwanted collages he made. The artist is reacting with self-censorship by overpainting crucial parts with a felt tip marker. Despite this action those responsible were still upset about his behavior, therefore they let remove or cover the collages entirely and threatened Erik van Lieshout with immediate deportation.
The film goes beyond the otherwise often satirical approach in his artistic practice, as Erik Van Lieshout finds himself in a situation that seems no longer controllable to him. G.O.A.T. is not only about van Lieshout's stylization as a scapegoat but also about right and wrong, guilt and responsibility, victims and perpetrators and questions the values and valuations of various religious-moral ideas and norms - including in the art system. (from the text: Spaceless in the middle, by Ute Stuffer)
Erik van Lieshout was born 1968 in Deurne, NL, lives and works in Rotterdam. Selection of his most resent exhibitions: Erik van Lieshout Sündenbock Kunstverein Hannover, (DL), solo, 2017, 3. Kochi Muziris Biennale (IND), group, 2017, Drawing Biennial 2017, Unfinished conversations: New work from the collection. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (USA), group, 2017, Erik van Lieshout: The Show Must Ego On, Wiels, Brussels (BE), solo, 2016, Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (AT) group, 2015, Drawing Now, Albertina, Vienna, (AT), group, 2015, Between the pessimism of the intellect and the optimism of the will, Thessaloniki Biennal (GR), group, 2015, A Modest Proposal for Radical Bourgeoisie, De Hallen, Haarlem (NL), group , 2015, Meisterzeichnungen/Master Drawings, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich (CH), group, 2015, Feiert das Leben!, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien und Caritas&Du, Vienna (AT), group, 2015, Drawing I The Bottom Line, S.M.A.K. - Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (BE), group, 2015, Manifesta 10, HermitageGeneral Staff Building, St. Petersburg (RUS), group, 2014, delegierte Performance for WWTBD, Marien Jongewaard at Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, (AT), solo, 2013, The Encyclopedic Palace, La Biennale di Venezia, Arsenale,Venice (IT), curator Massimiliano Gioni, group, 2013, Manifesta 9 - Koolmijn van Waterschei-Genk, Genk (BE), group, 2012, Exhibitions at Galerie Krinzinger: ICON - Ideal.Idee.Inspiration, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, group, 2017, Screening The Basement, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Parterre, group, 2015, Echter Luxus, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, solo, 2010, Artists of the gallery, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, group, 2009, Tessa, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, solo, 2004, Politically Correct? Dutch!, Galerie Krinzinger, Salzburg and Vienna, group, 2002