Guang-Yu Zhang is an artist who melds together thoughts, ideas and experiences to construct imagery and universes that epitomizes what it is to forge work reflective of reflection itself.
The beauty of art exists in its boundless communication as visual language, its innate desire for change and its appetite for expansion. Artist Guang-Yu Zhang in particular explores the fundamental notions of creation through his work, by pulling dissimilar ideas together as one and in the process building something new. He is an artist who melds together all the thoughts, ideas and experiences to construct imagery and universes that epitomizes what it is to forge work reflective of reflection itself.
In Zhang’s creation he often forces new tensions into existence. If two universes or ideas of thought were opposite points holding between them a tensile string, Zhang is the hand that grasps the string in the middle, pulling on it to create a new point, a new universe, a new tension. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this act is that in this new creation he bridges the two worlds of thought, simultaneously pulling them in closer to one another.
Zhang has expressed that much of his work explores the relationship of his contrasted inner self. A man born in Shanghai China but living both in the UK and China he speaks about, “The source content of my works is traditional Oriental culture under the influence of classical Chinese culture as well as Western and European culture”. Works such as Oriental Memory XII and Fairyland G-II B capitalize on this contrast as portals into the soul of the artist. Side by side the pieces illuminate the subconscious world of a man deeply influenced by Eastern and Western culture yet the two works are so obviously of the same world. From the iconic imagery, futuristic and historical element to the traditional techniques applied in non-traditional ways these pieces exemplify what it is to build a world from within contrast.
The juxtapositions go beyond the surface and converse with the history of art itself. Zhang's work seemingly responds to the aesthetic energy of Futurism. Though futurism finds purchase in the fragmented intersecting views of the same subject, while Guang-Yu Zhang is opposite to this, synthesizing opposing views of opposite subjects, there is still this communication of movement fractured as though the world is viewed through broken glass. Works of Zhang’s such as Fairyland G-I W and Fairyland G-III view layers of a fantastical universe through geometric lay-lines that leave cracks in an otherwise tranquil surface. Visually Fursim works tend to evoke fervent movement and the powerful iconography of industry, and while the works of Guang-Yu Zhang do appear to be in conversation with the visual atmosphere of this movement the images Zhang portrays are more in line with nature, organza and mythos. All ideals that futurism stood against. The very nature of building “Fairylands” as Zhang does seems more in line with the surrealism. Zhang’s body of work absolutely follows the surrealist idea of allowing the unconscious dream-like aura of the mind to express itself, however the works of Guang-Yu Zhang lack the seemingly more visually constructed narrative of classical surrealism, leaning away from its visual aesthetics and into another realm entirely.
The relevance is not in whether one side unilaterally influences Zhang but more a conversion around the construction within the grey area between them. Guang-Yu Zhang is a master at cultivating these discussions in space between. It is a conversation about combining the two ends of a spectrum resulting in a third tension derivative of both opposing sides. A conversation where once again Zhang’s voice exists to disrupt what was once a straight line between two opposites, in turn, pulling two things seemingly at odds - closer together.
Bianca Valencia Criscuolo