There are two things you can usually count on when attending an art opening at Pace Gallery: The art will be physically imposing in some way and the room will be absolutely packed. Such was the case last Thursday when we attended the reception for an exhibit by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang, who has been represented by Pace since 2007.
For this exhibit, Zhang fills both of Pace’s adjoining galleries with monochromatic painted bronze sculptures depicting youth of both sexes dressed in what look like school uniforms. There is also a selection of sculpted, unclothed infants seated on pedestals around the gallery, which weren’t as compelling to me as the stoic-expressioned, uniformed busts of the youth.
A press release nailed these sculpture’s unique presence, offering that the bronze busts, which range in size from six inches to over five feet tall, are “Sculpted with great clarity in a political-realist style that echoes the state-sanctioned sculptures of the Cultural Revolution.” A few of the subjects are repeated over the course of the two room exhibit, but in different sizes or colors.
In the smaller of the two gallery rooms, you can see four of Zhang’s large scale oil paintings, which often depict fully realized representations of the youths seen in the assorted busts. According to the exhibit press release, the paintings “continue Zhang’s inquiries into the domestic interiors to which people returned after the Cultural Revolution, and in which the artist came of age.”
The Artist was in attendace at the opening and can be seen in this photo being interviewed by the news media.
I enjoyed these sculptures – and the deep cultural back-story they hinted at – very much and would encourage anyone intrigued by this post to check out the show while it is still up.
Zhang Xiaogang’s Bronze Sculptures and Paintings will be on Exhibit through April 27, 2013 at Pace Gallery, Located at 508 and 510 West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.