Past Exhibitions

Zang Kunkun-Walking Here and Now


Artist Zang Kunkun
Curator Ruth Noack

From April 28 to July 9, artist Zang Kunkun’s solo exhibition Zang Kunkun-Walking Here and Now will be on view at Long Museum (West Bund), Shanghai. Curated by German curator and art historian Ruth Noack, the exhibition is a compilation of six series that the artist has initiated since 2009.

Zang Kunkun's work has long revolved around the templating, vacuous landscapes of the contemporary city. Adopting public images and objects as his artistic vocabulary, he repeatedly reorganizes their forms as a linguistic manipulate, by removing commercial posters, billboards, fitness equipment or garbage cans from their everyday meanings, in order to rethink socially constructed taste and value systems.

In the exhibition, the curator strings six series with visual clues in the images and concepts of Zang Kunkun's in-depth works on symbolic forms; the succession of this path differs from the time sequence, pointing out Zang Kunkun's concerns on the formal and social levels in the evolution of the image structure and symbolic signifier.

In the rapidly developing urban daily life of China, Zang Kunkun tries to deconstruct the symbols in reality by using artistic language. He ponders ideology, cultural cognition, consumerism, and alienation in a playful and teasing way, reveals the Chinese urban landscape as a slice of the world, and contemplates the public meaning of images and symbols.

About the Artist

Zang Kunkun was born in Qingdao, China in 1986. Currently lives and works in Beijing, China. Zang Kunkun’s approach of dealing with experiences of his native China, is expressed through a very universal language, transcending cultural standards, collective acceptance and subconscious agreements. By using industrial materials, he works themes, such as urbanization, the passage of time, and dimensions that are subject to time and space into his installations and paintings, which he altogether considers as objects.

In recent years, Zang Kunkun has increasingly rendered his paintings as objects, rather than depictions of objects on the painted plane. He is attempting to build mutual connections between painting, objects and the things in the paintings, but on an even, rather than hierarchal footing. This implies, that his art is gradually shifting towards a general art, as opposed to some special notion of painting.

His work is held by many art institutions and private collections include MOCA @ Loewen, Singapore; M+ Museum, Hong Kong, China; Today Art Museum, Beijing, China; Long Museum, Shanghai, China; HAO Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Motif Contemporary Art Fund; James Keith (JK) Brown and Eric Diefenbach; Aaron & Barbaba Levine Collection; Sigg collection, etc.

About the Curator

Ruth Noack, an art historian, writer, teacher and exhibition maker, is best known to the global art world as curator of documenta 12. Between 2019 and 2022, she acted as Executive Director and Curator of The Corner at Whitman-Walker in Washington, D.C. Her exhibitions at The Corner included The Mental Body, on aesthetic acts of self-creation and self-care, Stay Alive to Life, on resilience in times of COVID, See You There, on making history at Whitman-Walker and, When We First Arrived..., an exhibition with, which amplified testimonies of children detained at the US-Mexico border through the works of 123 visual artists. Amongst Noack’s other recent exhibitions are the cycle begun in Trieste in 2023 on Eccentric Peripheries, and the cycle Sleeping with a Vengeance, Dreaming of a Life, shown in Athens, Prague, Beijing and at Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart (2019/20).

From 1994 onwards, she curated numerous exhibitions together with Roger M.Buergel, amongst them Things We Don’t Understand at Generali Foundation, Vienna and a cycle on Foucault’s concept of governmentality in Vienna, Miami and Rotterdam. Serving as Head of Curating Contemporary Art at The Royal College in London (2012/2013), Noack has taught at universities and academies for more than 20 years, including 4 years at the Dutch Art Institute and guest professorships at AVU, Prague and Städelschule, Frankfurt. She has lectured internationally and authored more than 50 essays on art and on theory. In 2013, Noack published a monograph on Sanja Iveković and edited Agency, Ambivalence, Analysis. Approaching the Museum with Migration in Mind. In 2002/3, she served as President of the Austrian AICA.

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