Zhai Liang 翟倞

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A Thousand Plateaus

翟倞 加缪与我 布面油画 60x40cmx2 2014
Zhai Liang, Camus and I, Oil on Canvas, 60x40cmx2, 2014

Zhai Liang (b.1983) began to learn painting in junior high school. Since his mother is from Tianjin, a northern city in China, he attended the Fine Arts High School in Tianjin.

In his junior year there, a teacher took him to Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts for a lecture about Joseph Boyce. He asked: Who is Boyce? The teacher said that it was Andy Warhol in Europe. He thought to himself: Who is Andy Warhol?

In 2002, he was admitted to the Sichuan Fine Arts Academy. He began to read Boyce's autobiography in his freshman year. After graduation, he ...

Zhai Liang's work is known for the fusion of pictorial representation and literalization. His exploration of the relationship between image and text is represented in his iconic series of works titled "The Garden of Forking Paths"(2011-2015).

In response to Jorge Luis Borges' novel <The Garden of Forking Paths>, Zhai Liang transfers himself into a reader, a literary critic and Borges himself in three exhibitions - "Reader" (2011), "Critic" (2013), and "Author" (2015). Using the exhibition space to build a continuous dialogue with classic texts, these three exhibitions regurgitate the complicated reading experience and implants physiological emotions, realistic memories, and metaphysical reflections.

  • Zhai Liang, The Garden with Forking Paths — Reader, Exhibition View, 2011
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Sketch reader2011
翟倞 Zhai Liang 我是你的朋友 我是你的敌人 I am your Friend your I am Enemy 布面油画 Oil on Canvas50 5 35 5cm 2011
Zhai Liang, I Am Your Friend, I Am Your Enemy, Oil on canvas, 50.5×35.5cm, 2011
  • Zhai Liang, The Garden with Forking Paths — Critic, Exhibition View, 2013
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线索布面油画 20x30cm2012年副本
Zhai Liang, Clue, Oil on Canvas, 20×30cm, 2012
评论 线索 场景图136
From exhibition "Critic" (2013)
翟倞 Zhai Liang 灵感如何产生 How Is Inspiration Generated 布面油画 Oil on Canvas 80 105cm 2015
Zhai Liang, How Is Inspiration Generated, Oil on Canvas, 80×105cm, 2015
作家 现场图 灵感是如何产生的
From exhibition “Author” (2015)

The work "How Is Inspiration Generated" (2015) overlooks the atrium under the spiral staircase of the Metropolitan Museum, Zhai does not fully dive into the biographical depiction of the subject, but rather stays in Borges’ inner thinking process, in which some possible moments of inspirations lie and for which visual associations and transformations are found.

  • Zhai Liang, Catalogue - The Library of Babel, Exhibition view, 2014
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Borges regards absurd and fantastic historical texts as the starting point for reimagining and recognising. From him, Zhai learned how to find a clue - that let him immerse in and meanwhile be able to travel through the labyrinth of knowledge, so as not to lose the self as the creator.

In his another exhibition "Catalog—The Library of Babel " (2014), Zhai masters such way of thinking and creating.

IMG 4011
你先吃点苦 然后再换我吃苦纸本水彩 56 5x76 5cm 2013年
Zhai Liang, You will be in Suffer, then I will be in Suffer, Watercolour on Paper, 56.5x76.5cm,2013
IMG 4001
论艺术纸本水彩 56 5x76 5cm 2013年
Zhai Liang, A Study on Art, Watercolor on Paper, 56.5x76.5cm, 2013

"Poetry has a magical power, it can turn ordinary words into mysterious and touching through various combinations. "

—— Zhai Liang

  • Zhai Liang, Grid 2: Words in poetry, water color on paper, table, 16×10.3cm ×35,198.5×91.8×83.5 cm, 2019
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In Zhai's latest work "Grid 3"(2021), which will be exhibited offline at the Liste Art Fair in Basel, he uses the same method to withdraw modern language from its represented order, let it free and return to an ancient time.

In "Grid 3", we will see that: based on the index of the encyclopedia <The Night Ferry>, Zhai classifies a number of terminologies that artists nowadays care about (their heavy and confusing contemporary meaning behind them), and draws an image on each card to visually present these words. These cards will be represented in a wall grid of defined horizontal and vertical axis, and correspondingly, these cards will eventually have very different meanings under this bizarre heading.

Various possible fragments of order are produced in these irregular and nonmodern dimensions. Words and words are intertwined in the depths of time, forming a scene of disorder and at the same time implying a vast and unknown middle ground.

Zhai Liang Grid 3 Watercolor on paper wall view 2021
Zhai Liang, Grid 3, Watercolor on paper, studio wall view, 2021
Grid sketch
Grid 3 sketch, the working logic

For instances, simply speaking, this work "Two with the same name stay for a while" (2021) is the result of combining two phrases - "Two with the same name" on the horizontal axis (X3) and "stay for a while" on the vertical axis (YG).

3 G 同名两个停留 纸本水彩 13x20cm 2021
9 D 记事珠娜拉出走怎么办 纸本水彩 13x20cm 2021
11 F 白猿折叠 纸本水彩 13x20cm 2021
8 B 睡看 纸本水彩 13x20cm 2021