Born in Shengyang in 1981, Zhang Ye Xing studied in the Central Fine Art Academy and has exhibited in China and Korea. This series of works uses the motif of stage curtains as a main theme because people always have the desire of acting on a stage. Therefore, by placing some of his own intimate thoughts in front of the stage, that in real life cannot be revealed to others or disclosed in public, Zhang is researching into how the human character exhibits itself in reality.
There are two observable levels in Zhang Ye Xing’s paintings – the psychological and the political – and both intertwine to present an insightful work of art by a young artist trying to make meaning of the mind and the environment. The psychological aspect is not disassociated with the political aspects and in fact these two spheres overlap and it is in this overlap that we find Zhang’s ‘Stage Curtain’ series.
The stage is a place of performance, a space dedicated to the adoption of a different persona – when one is able to be someone else without any stigma. However, in Zhang’s stage, through the red curtains, we witness the artist painting himself in the basest of postures and shedding all pretenses. Freud’s ‘superego’ and ‘ego’ disappears and only the ‘id’ remains. Thus on stage the artist is as he wants to be. He reveals to the public what should morally remain in the private sphere. Furthermore, the Red Curtains occupy an overwhelming space on the canvas making Zhang’s works engaging on another artistic level. ‘Red Curtain’ refers to a theatricalised form of cinema where the audience is conscious that they are watching a film. They are not allowed to engage in the film as it is directed in such a way that the audience is alienated. In Zhang’s works, we watch the performance of the artist, and although those are intimate moments we are never aware that it is only a performance.
It is hard to disassociate the Red Curtain from the politics of China and the communism of their past era. The ‘Iron Curtain’ was a term often used to signify the ideological and physical boundary that arose after the Second World War due to communism. It signified to the West the great differences of politics and also the ignorance of what happened behind that curtain. After the end of the revolution, it seems that the curtains remain, but assume different meanings. With the globalization of China, it seems she has had to put on performances for the rest of the world. What the country is, has become a façade for the world, and yet it cannot hide its true self. Perhaps then, the artist hints at the impossibility of prolonged pretense, whether in an individual or in a nation, as performance is futile because the audience is aware.
"This series of works uses the motif of stage curtains as a main theme because people always have the desire of acting on a stage. Therefore, by placing some of my own intimate thoughts in front of the stage, that in real life cannot be revealed to others or disclosed in public, I'm researching how the human character exhibits itself in reality." - Zhang Ye Xing
Tribute to Chinese Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
"Movement" Contemporary Art Exhibition, Si He Yuan Gallery, Beijing, China
"Untainted Memory" Exhibition of Nominated Undergradutes from the Art School, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China ?
"Beijing Creates" China Contemporary Art Exhibition, Korea Hong Yi University Modern Art Museum Exhibition, Seoul, Korea
Joint Exhibition, "Recapturing Youth", Beijing, China