Lulu by X Museum is pleased to present a solo exhibition ‘Flight Girls, skeleton and vampire bug’ by Chinese artist Evian Wenyi Zhang.
Evian Wenyi Zhang’s work is the result of a peculiar web of processes and interests, which are simultaneously emotional and analytical. Focused on studying relations between images and those who observe them, Evian has developed a pictorial strategy for disentangling what she identifies as ‘areas of interest’ within the visual surface of still photographs. Consciously starting from the unknowable number of images with which we daily interact in urban life, the criteria for selecting the images in each of her pieces are completely unpredictable, producing random discoveries. From a quick and practically thoughtless first approach to her source material, the artist identifies areas to which the gaze is drawn in each case. She then submits them to careful scrutiny. Although the development of each piece implies a certain systematicness, it is not an exercise in fragmentation or synthesis; rather, it sets in motion the careful exploration of a provocatively arbitrary piece of information.
Here we have large paintings, composed out of a series of smaller, airbrushed units. The grid—a persistent scheme of formal composition—has become a tabulator. In the same way, the pictorial values of color and shape are here some kind of data; they are contained in cells. Although the repetition exists, a pattern cannot be identified. It produces a visuality that oscillates between familiarity and bewilderment. Its saturated and captivating appearance takes advantage of the contrast of this organizational system with the vagueness of the visual material with which it works. Curiously, the result still offers some kind of integrity: the hint of a referent that was abandoned or is yet to come. We thus move away from the prejudice of the self-conscious gaze that selects the matter of meaning at will. The eyes begin to function as sophisticated sensors in the midst of a slow and endless process of calibration.
Evian Wenyi Zhang was born in 2000 in Shanghai, China. She then moved to New York City for her BA degree in Art History at New York University. Currently she has her studio in Shanghai and Brooklyn, New York. Selected group exhibitions include: ‘We Borrow Dreams from Others, Like Debt’, MadeIn Art Center (Shanghai, 2022); ‘USB Multi-port Linking Exhibition’, MadeIn Gallery and In The Park store (Shanghai, 2021). Evian’s practice explores the interrelation between the observer and the observed. In her densely composed paintings, she rearranged subjective visual fixations in accordance with a cognitive progression of saccade, that afterwards reassembled into a tabulation form of painting, visualizing the result of this cognitive study.