Zhang Yu

23 January - 28 February 2019

PIFO Gallery is delighted to present the first self-titled exhibition of artist Zhang Yu. His recent series “Ink Feeding, Water-soaked Nanjing Daily” (2017) presented in the exhibition, not only including Nanjing Daily in the show, but also soaked Xinhua Daily, Guangming Daily, China Youth Daily, China Art Newspaper and China Education Newspaper, etc.


Zhang Yu is considered as one of the pioneers in Chinese experimental ink painting, his artistic practices manifested the development of the modernity of ink wash painting in reference to visual form and inner spirit. The thirty years of continued investigation into the practice of ink wash painting since the late 1980s. Through the “Devine Light” series, Zhang Yu formally embarked upon probing into the modernity of ink wash painting and discontinued his calligraphy style. “Fingerprints” series, Zhang brought a unified scheme of artistic creation of his own. Repeated fingerprinting actions allowed the abstract shapes turn to marks, functioning as a means to touch upon artistic issues in a way of cultural sense. The series including Shang Shui (Water Feeding), Shang Mo (Ink Feeding), and Shang Cha (Tea Feeding) demonstrated the ending era of ink as from his concern. Dissociating from ink, the artist showcased his thoughts and awareness beyond the everyday viewpoints through an installation-based performance that’s naturally conceptual yet not directly conveying any messages. All of it was to present a sort of metaphysical relation re-recognized and to look into its multiplied relationships and possibilities in the naturally cultural context.


Different from the past, " Ink Feeding, Water-soaked Nanjing Daily " is a cleaning operation by using ink to soak ready-made "newspapers". The concept of "Feeding" encounters “newspapers” as the media. Despite the use of ink, there is nothing to do with it in other aspects. "Newspaper" is either functional or nonfunctional, as well as so-called daily information, which is a mixed well object. Ink Feeding, it is a cleaning action for this ready-made product, and it left the ink only to audiences, which has separated from “Ink Feeding” works that he once created. After ink applied, the traces on newspapers were regarded as cleaned and reborn.


In 2008 and 2011, Zhang Yu brought the “fingerprint” series to the first and fourth abstract group exhibitions of PIFO Gallery. This solo exhibition is the complete debut of Zhang Yu's latest series, and it is also a departure of his ink practice. As the words of himself: "Art creating is about how to get out of the system that was limited by art. The creation of art is outside of the art, vacancies of art is what pushing the art development forward."