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Working is a bad deal

June 18, 2018

Looking at contemporary art, it is inevitable to notice the variety of irrelevant and narcissistic subjects, tackled by the great majority of artists. While the number of media and tools used is growing, and traditional methods such as painting are flanked by often unusual materials often of hardware affiliation or of increasingly technological weight, the social aspect is often neglected if not totally forgotten. A positive exception, is the art and sensibility of the international artist Zhiyuan Yang.

 

Artist Zhiyuan Yang

 

The prolific and inspiring muse for Zhiyuan Yang's art are social topics treated with a high capacity for irony and equally aesthetic potency. Zhiyuan Yang began to make herself known in the art world through the visual discussion of the concept of gender and the role of man and woman within the family, favoring a humorous edge that always accompanies her works. If for her performances like 'Drawing Hearts on My Dinner Table', Zhiyuan Yang has chosen to entertain the introverted side of her romanticism, for her performances included in her last show, 'A Daydream of Bitter Strength' , the artist has chosen a sordid but equally touching approach.

 

Zhiyuan Yang, Drawing hearts on my dinner table

 

The United States has gotten to know the artist's empathic capacities though her various projects in different locations. Zhiyuan Yang was selected for the Mass Moca Residency and was able to benefit from a full tuition fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. She also had the opportunity to exhibit her works in prestigious venues including the South Bend Museum of Art, South Bend, IN; and Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY. Her current solo exhibition at 062 Chicago seems to offer a further expressive maturation of the artist. Bitter Strenght (Cooly, Kuli, and Coolie) is a word game that defines the reality for millions of people on this planet and is often the destiny of the immigrant, the starting point for those who choose to leave their country of origin.

 

Zhiyuan Yang, 10 cups of bubble tea made in one minute

 

The draining fatigue implicit in the most humble but necessary labor activities undertaken by immigrants for the functioning of cities, is a social element often neglected by contemporary art. It is however, highly regarded in Zhiyuan Yang's solo exhibit. The show, through the use of various media including performance, convincingly manages to conquer its visitors transmitting empathy and strength, while activating their aesthetic sensibility. The result is a call to consciousness in participating with greater commitment and awareness to the endless political debate dedicated to the rights of labor workers starting from the most humble classes. The exhibition provides access to such participation while arousing interest in following future projects from this international artist who managed with incendiary grace to turn on her spectators on this highly debated topic which is as inflammatory as it is essential.

 

Zhiyuan Yang, Bitter Strength

 

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