Yang Zhengzhong

Yang Zhengzhong
b. 1968, Hangzhou
Video and installation artist
Yang graduated from the Fashion Design Department of the Zhejiang Institute of Silk Textiles in 1990. He continued his studies in oil painting at the China Academy of Fine Arts in Hangzhou (see art academies). Despite a traditional training, he soon began experimenting with both performance (Happy Birthday and Christmas Gift, 1994) and video art (Shower and 45° as a Reason, 1995). Ever since, he has focused on the production of video installations that examine ordinary subjects, present extra-ordinary situations and evoke the puzzling anxiety and paradoxical impressions of the inhabitants of modern urban spaces. In such a mode is Fish Tank (1996), in which the video image of a large mouth is shown underwater in a fish tank, with a recorded voice obsessively repeating ‘we are not fish’. Yang’s video assemblages highlight the whimsical effects produced by the accurate coordination of sound and image, where repetition becomes a kind of expressive power. Such is the case in I Will Die (2000) and 922 Rice Corns (2002), where a digital counter synchronized with male and female voices counts the number of rice grains greedily pecked by a hen and a cock.
Let’s Puff (2002) was presented at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and the 4th Shanghai Biennale (2002). This video installation consists of two facing projections in which a girl on one screen energetically blows air out of her chest and seemingly affects the movement of an urban crowd projected on the other screen. Yang’s work has been featured in ‘Art for Sale’ in Shanghai (1999), ‘Living in Time’ at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (2001), and the 1st Guangzhou Triennial (2002).
Chen, Xiaoyun (2001). ‘Artist of the Week: Chen Xiaoyun interviews Yang Zhengzhong’. Chinese Type-Contemporary Art Online Magazine 4.3.
Dal Lago, Francesca (2000). The Fiction of Everyday Life: Video Art in the People’s Republic of China’. ART AsiaPacific 27 (Summer): 52–7.
Smith, Karen (1996). ‘Notes on China’s Video Installation Art’. Asia-Pacific Sculpture News 2.4 (Autumn): 19–21.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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