Zang Kunkun: Walking Here and Now
Curator: Ruth Noack
Dates: 2023.4.28 – 2023.7.9
Venue: Long Museum (West Bund)
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 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 Cornerincluded “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 DYKWTCA.com, 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.