Umělec magazine 2010/1 >> Yunsheng’s Language of Love List of all editions.
Yunsheng’s Language of Love
Umělec magazine
Year 2010, 1
6,50 EUR
8 USD
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

Yunsheng’s Language of Love

Umělec magazine 2010/1

01.01.2010

Ivan Mečl | grayscale | en cs de

Zhao Yunsheng is the exact opposite of the typical image of the contemporary Chinese artist. He is hardly a scrawny figure with a ponytail, glasses and a goatee, an ironic look, and a casual blazer. Yunsheng has the figure of a bull, the disposition of a panda, and a round head with a buzz-cut. He is constantly drawing and painting in his apartment in a prefab housing estate on the outskirts of Beijing, not far from the main street (a main arterial leading out of town) filled with cheap restaurants and establishments offering erotic services.
Yunsheng had just completed a series of four hundred pencil drawings when Shu Yang and I visited him at the end of the tropical summer in 2009. He had been working on them since 2008; at the outset, they had been a form of therapy for overcoming the breakup of a ten-year relationship. Later, however, other motifs made their way into the images: fabrications, erotic fantasies, more or less believable fables, and stories told by friends.
Yunsheng counts on the viewer being knowledgeable. Chinese audiences understand certain allegories and symbols, but they too require the artist’s storytelling in order to be able to find a painting’s entire story. Like the rape of the daughters of Leucippus or Lot’s wife – all we need is a title or an elementary observation from the canon of representation and the entire adventure, including historical background, is revealed to us. Those whom curiosity has abandoned, however, will learn little about the stories hidden in the works of contemporary artists. They will be satisfied with the aesthetic experience and come up with an interpretation on the basis of a few universal symbols. We know that this is superficial, that it does not work, and yet a large part of contemporary art theory is based on this approach. We couldn´t care less whether an interpretation is correct or not, we are just happy to have any interpretation at all – an aesthetic text created as a fiction of theory.
The drawing This Deaf Girl, for instance, comes from Yunsheng’s personal experience. Lying on the floor by a hole in the wall, we see his wedding photo, although in the end there was no wedding. Sitting on the floor is a man, and a woman is crawling over the broken photograph and into the hole in the wall. Their eyes do not meet, each is elsewhere in their thoughts. Appearing in the room are enlarged depictions of its residents and images from their thoughts. In Yunsheng’s drawings, the thoughts of the person depicted are often floating about in the action or they directly intervene in the events depicted. Events inside a house often make their way outside or onto the threshold of a space that remains closed and invisible to the passer-by. This is the case in Little Beijing House, where an unusual sex act with a young girl from the south takes place on the street. Like many other drawings, it was inspired by stories told by friends and conversations with the rural girls who sell themselves to urbanites in his district. They are naïve and lost girls who have left their mountains and villages to find work. On state holidays, they offer large discounts on their services. Perhaps they even do what is expected of offspring in Chinese culture, sending a part of their earnings home to their parents.
Yunsheng does not judge in his drawings, nor does he moralize; only their titles (which I had to coerce out of him) touch on the character of their protagonists, often through the use of a sarcastic but understanding metaphor. This tolerance is apt, since he has to forgive himself for his many erotic fantasies. In the drawing She Finally Got Down to It, for instance, he depicts a piece of furniture designed to fulfill unusual passions and back-bending sex games.
Some of Yunsheng’s drawings are a brief look at someone else’s unequal relationship of which he was an involuntary witness. Rat’s Treasure is about the owner of a tearoom and her jealous suitor, who followed her around constantly until that was all he did. Once, when Yunsheng stopped in for tea, she gave him a gift of an object in the shape of a Chinese gold ingot used for pouring the first pot of tea and the remaining tea during a tea ceremony. With time, all such objects take on this color and can become a kind of talisman – a symbol that we understand only if we have ever been in a similar situation. The drawing’s title is probably intended to confuse things even more.
Some of the drawings can be understood as pure social satire. In He’s Silent..., Yunsheng appears in the role of an artist at a crossroads: death or loss of ideals. The allegorical death of the Chinese artist may be caused by a lack of means, for instance because he does not have the state’s approval to engage in artistic practice. Or the loss of dreams and ideals, a tendency towards pragmatism, which Yunsheng equates with castration.

Zhao Yunsheng is currently preparing to publish all his drawings in book form.




01.01.2010

Comments

There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Intoxicated by Media Déjà-vu / Notes on Oliver Pietsche"s Image Strategy Intoxicated by Media Déjà-vu / Notes on Oliver Pietsche"s Image Strategy
Goff & Rosenthal gallery, Berlin, November 18 - December 30, 2006 Society permanently renegotiates the definition of drugs and our relationship towards them. In his forty-five minute found-footage film The Conquest of Happiness, produced in 2005, Oliver Pietsch, a Berlin-based video artist, demonstrates which drugs society can accommodate, which it cannot, and how the story of the drugs can be…
An unsuccessful co-production An unsuccessful co-production
If you know your way around, you might discover that every month and maybe even every week you stand the chance to receive money for your cultural project. Successful applicants have enough money, average applicants have enough to keep their mouths shut, and the unsuccessful ones are kept in check by the chance that they might get lucky in the future. One natural result has been the emergence of…
My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution
An American poet was invited to the White House in order to read his controversial plagiarized poetry. All tricked out and ready to do it his way, he comes to the “scandalous” realization that nothing bothers anyone anymore, and instead of banging your head against the wall it is better to build you own walls or at least little fences.
Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Borrowing heavily from fairy tales, fables and science fiction, the art of Magda Tóthová revolves around modern utopias and social models and their failures. Her works address personal and social issues, both the private and the political. The stylistic device of personification is central to the social criticism emblematic of her work and to the negotiation of concepts used to construct norms.…
ArtLeaks
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
Read more...
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
Read more...
prize
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
Read more...
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Read more...
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
From series of rare photographs never released before year 2012. Signed and numbered Edition. Photography on 1cm high white...
More info...
220 EUR
255 USD
From series of rare photographs never released before year 2012. Signed and numbered Edition. Photography on 1cm high white...
More info...
220 EUR
255 USD
15 x 21 x 0,7 cm / 76 pages / couv sérigraphie 3 pass. couleur / intérieur offset/ 1000 ex / Co-édition l’Impubliable
More info...
10 EUR
12 USD
print on durable film, 250 x 139 cm, 2011 / signed by artist and numbered from edition of ten
More info...
799,20 EUR
926 USD

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

DIVUS NOVA PERLA
Kyjov 36-37
407 47 Krásná Lípa

 

Gallery, Bookshop and Cafe
open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 10pm

and on appointment at shop@divus.cz, +420 606 606 425
 

 

Divus Perla
Gábina Náhlíková, gabina@divus.cz, +420 604 254 994


Divus Publishing
Ivan Mečl, ivan@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888



Design, Pre-Press and Printing Studio Divus
studio@divus.cz


Magazine Umělec
Palo Fabuš, umelec@divus.cz


Cafe & Bookshop Perla
shop@divus.cz, +420 606 606 425

DIVUS LONDON
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

news@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

 

DIVUS BERLIN
berlin@divus.cz


DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz


DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz


DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz

DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK
alena@divus.cz

DIVUS NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Divus We Are Rising National Gallery For You! Go to Kyjov by Krásná Lípa no.37.