Wien Kunst

Her Body doesn’t fit her Soul

Zhang Wenrong's paintings are delicate and ambiguous, narrating the complex relationship between an individual and fast-changing China, world concerns, and the myriad of confusions around us. His work attempts to tackle difficult issues without following a straightforward storyline.
Zhang, Wenrong The Great Landscape, 2012, Oil on canvas, 180 x 250 cm
Zhang, Wenrong The Great Landscape, 2012, Oil on canvas, 180 x 250 cm

From 2011-2014 the artist realised three animated films and created works such as Territory, which employed a combined language of image and sound to present a portrait of our time. Water, is a large-scale project which Zhang completed in 2016 with more than 12,000 people participating in the process. Through this lively interaction, the artist explored the unpredictabilities of the situation and opened up a fresh new way of artmaking.

Unlike many others, Zhang Wenrong is someone who does not shy away from dealing with difficult things and with faulty circumstances. He never looks away, but rather investigates and researches.

Images in newspapers and the social networks often serve him to establish the content of his works, which masterfully convey the prevailing mood in times of crisis or the uncovering of difficult matters without pointing fingers. During the working process, it is often cruelty that finds its way into his pictures, which, like scenes from films mixed with mystical images, deliver a conglomeration of densely loaded content. In addition to a captivating narrative line, they allow for the most diverse interpretations. His pictures have a special effect on their viewers: no matter what situation is outlined in them, they contain a very special beauty of their own. If one tries to get to the bottom of this, various points of view, from a combination of shock, gloomy romance to delightful colouring, open up.

Zhang, Wenrong The Great Landscape, 2012, Oil on canvas, 180 x 250 cm
Zhang, Wenrong The Great Landscape, 2012, Oil on canvas, 180 x 250 cm

Conformity is what Zhang can probably never be accused of. He counts a narrow circle of collectors among his admirers and patrons and has never sought to create content or imagery that would receive recognition from the general public. This criterion of a certain unwieldiness, alongside his outstanding talent for creating tense scenes, is probably what makes him a predestined artist for the BMCA collection. As Li Xianting stated many years ago, it is the task of art to serve a purpose in addition to aesthetic value or decoration. Especially in the recent years of crisis and the increased striving for security and easy forms, it is particularly important to point to art that challenges and captivates the viewer through complex content.

On 2nd of February, Zhang Wenrong’s solo exhibition opens at Loft 8 Gallery in Vienna. After two extensive exhibitions last summer in Munich, it is the first presence of Blue Mountain Contemporary Art since moving its base from Beijing to Vienna.

About the artist. Zhang Wenrong (b.1982, Gansu province, China) graduated from the Sichuan Academy of Fine Art in 2006, and currently lives and works in Shanghai. His solo exhibitions include: Realism of Hallucination, Today Art Museum, Beijing, (2014); Image Flying – To Remember in the History, at Duishan Art District, Xiamen (2018); A Vision of the Flow of Time, at the 8th Salon, Hamburg (2019); 2022 at Qi Gallery in Shenzhen. Other exhibitions: 2022 at Hefei Contemporary Art Museum; 2021 Chengdu Biennale; 2020 Guangdong Art Museum; 2019 at Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art and Chongqing International Experimental Visual Art Biennale; 2018 at CAFA Art Museum Beijing, 2017 Anren Biennale, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing, Today Art Museum Beijing, WhiteBox Art Center Beijing, Shenzhen Circle Art Center; 2016 Times Art Museum Beijing, 2014 The Future is the Past, organised by BMCA Collection in Vienna; 2013 The Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2013); Suzhou Art Museum, Suzhou; 2013 at National Convention Center, Beijing; 2012 Landing Art Museum, Chengdu, Season Gallery, Singapore (2012) and others. Screenings at Film Festivals (selection) 2019 at Olympus International Film Festival, Los Angeles; 2017 at Raleigh Film and Art Festival, The 12th Athens Animation Film Festival, Greece, Holland Animation Film Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands, New York peel Film Festival, Lisbon International Film Festival Lisbon, The 19th Kansas International Film Festival (KIFF) (..)

Exhibition: Zhang Wenrong. Her Body doesn’t fit her Soul
Exhibition time: February 2–25, 2023 (Tuesday-Friday 1-6pm Saturday 11am-3pm)
Curator: Alexandra Grimmer

Opening: Thursday, February 2, 6-9pm
Finissage: Friday, February 24, 2023, 6pm & Presentation of newly released catalogues by Huang Min and Ma Jun

Address and contact:
Loft8 Gallery
Radetzkystr. 4 1030 Vienna

Blue Mountain Contemporary Art (BMCA) is a collection of contemporary Chinese art based in Vienna. Since its foundation in 2013, the BMCA defines itself as part of China’s dynamic art scene, maintains close contact with its artists and focuses on works that critically engage with their time and surroundings. The aim is not to witness passing trends but to acquire and cultivate unique works with a long-term impact. Since the BMCA Collection moved its headquarters from Beijing to Europe, the focus has been on making its works visible in international projects. The continuous presence of current Chinese contemporary art in an international context is as important as “Capturing the Moment in China”, which has been BMCA’s credo since the beginning. BMCA works on its mission to shift the perception of China’s emerging artists as strong international positions, and no longer as Chinese phenomena, as defined in the years of China’s first generation of contemporary artists. Numerous exhibition projects at various venues in China, Israel and Vienna preceded over the past nine years and form the basis of the BMCA Collection, which also sees itself as a project platform. In addition to exhibitions, artist residencies and collaborations between Chinese and European artists, the realisation of exhibition catalogues and artists’ books is a further focus. With this multi-layered approach, the BMCA Collection aims to raise awareness of excellent artistic positions and strengthen their perception both in Europe and in China.