Zhao Yao: Painting of Thought

January 13, 2015

In the recent years, there has been a significant increase of emerging artists on the Chinese contemporary art scene. From one of the leaders of Chinese contemporary art Ai Wewei, who just recently participated in Art Basel Miami Beach, to artists Cai Dongdong, Chu Bingchao, Feng Lin and others who joined forces in a unique group show Unlived by What is Seen, it seems like the Asian art scene is more active and versatile than ever. One of the most important figures in this talented generation of young artists is Zhao Yao, Beijing born rising star who, after the success of his Tibetan prayer artworks in the 2013 London solo exhibition Spirit Above All, will be presenting his latest body of work at his first Hong Kong solo exhibition at Hong Kong's Pace Gallery this month…

Pace Gallery, Hong Kong
Zhao Yao - Spirit Above All 1-781 , 2012. acrylic on denim

New Approach To the Art and Artist Relationship

The series entitled Painting of Thought are drawn from the visual composition of brain games to confer the exhibition and images with a similar cognitive model. Using the thick accumulation of acrylic on fabric, Yao gives the paintings an aura of materiality, applying a destructive rational logic to form a new balance in the relationship between art and artist. The idea behind Zhao Yao’s new body of work is to construct a new conceptual form in order to affirm his artworks’ emphasis on state of mind. At the same time, through an experiential method from beyond the art system, Yao eliminates the interpretive nature of the artwork established within the content-form dialectic. Through a very simple and at the same time unique expression, the artist warns his viewers to have in mind conceptual habits as he tries to diminish the knowledge background that primes viewers to passively accept deceptive formal designs. Yao’s approach to reexamining the relationship between image and viewer through the integration of existing image forms is quite unusual and brave at the same time, knowing that it’s a rather rare practice in recent years.

Pace Gallery, Hong Kong
Zhao Yao - left Sprit Above All III-69, 2012, right Spirit Above All III-102

About the Artist

Zhao Yao was born in Sichuan Province in 1981, and graduated from the Design Arts Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2004. Through numerous past solo exhibitions, he has approached the vested exhibition system with the logic of interference and subversion to break down the framework of the contemporary art system. His recent exhibitions include 51m2:3# Zhao Yao at Taikang Space in 2010, Zhao Yao: I Am Your Night and Zhao Yao: You Can’t See Me, You Can’t See Me at Beijing Commune in 2011 and 2012, and Zhao Yao—Spirit Above All at Pace London in 2013. His works have been featured in exhibitions at Tate Modern, Fremantle Arts Center, Rubell Family Collection, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, PinchukArtCentre, ZKM Karlsruhe and the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, among others.

His latest show Painting of Thought at Pace Hong Kong opens January 15. The exhibition will stay on view until February 15, 2015.

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Featured image: Zhao Yao - Spirit Above All I-259, 2012.

Pace Gallery, Hong Kong
Zhao Yao: Spirit Above All I-93A , 2012. acrylic on denim