“I enjoy delving into a topic because the deeper you go, the better your chances of discovering something of value.”
A Journey through Time and Medium
Liyu Zhang was born in 1965 and began his academic journey at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in 1987, specializing in printmaking within the Fine Arts Department. By 2002, Zhang had relocated to Songzhuang, Beijing, a place celebrated for its vibrant artist community. Subsequently, he emigrated to the United States, earning recognition for his distinctive skills.
In the context of China’s monumental reform and opening up, initiated in 1978, society grappled with the allure of material wealth and the ensuing societal stratifications. The year 1999 marked a pivotal moment for Zhang. Using coins as his expressive medium, he created artworks that not only captured the essence of this transformative period but also reflected his personal responses to the changing cultural landscape. Through his art, Zhang aimed to inspire introspection among his peers, urging them to consider China’s trajectory.
As years passed, Zhang’s artistic journey led him to adopt pins as a medium in 2008, facilitating deeper self-examination. Increasingly fascinated with the intricacies of the human subconscious, he immersed himself in Chinese Zen culture. This exploration refined Zhang’s artistic vision, enabling him to skillfully depict the diverse facets of his psyche in paper-based works.
Exploring Zen and Deep Reflection with Liyu Zhang
Zen is often viewed as a practice of “meditative contemplation,” which guides individuals toward a deeper understanding of their inner selves. It encompasses awareness of physical sensations as well as a deeper insight into emotional responses and thought processes. Unlike superficial observation, Zen encourages a thorough exploration of one’s deepest feelings, fostering a richer understanding of the subconscious mind.
Liyu Zhang’s work in this domain has received praise from both respected colleagues and keen critics alike. Such acknowledgments have strengthened Zhang’s belief in a core idea: the greater the depth of exploration, the higher the probability of discovering latent treasures. This belief has significantly shaped Liyu’s experimental and investigative approach towards art.
Exploring Boundaries: The Expressive Journey of Liyu Zhang
Liyu Zhang is on a unique journey of self-expression that defies traditional norms. His artistic voyage showcases two central themes: exploring the balance between form repetition and personal emotion and the nexus between the continuity of time and one’s intrinsic self.
Within his studio, Zhang has crafted a sanctuary for his creative pursuits, maintaining a carefully organized space. To ensure consistent lighting, he often relies on curtains and indoor lighting, thereby mitigating the unpredictability of natural sunlight during his creative process.
His artistry is inspired by Bruce Nauman, Yuichi Inoue, and Anish Kapoor. Among the works of the British-Indian sculptor that have resonated with him, “Cloud Gate,” elegantly situated within Chicago’s Millennium Park. This gleaming stainless steel wonder, with its captivating reflections and unique “omphalos” base, showcases how Kapoor’s theological inspirations from his Indian heritage permeate his creations, molding his creative vision.
Liyu Zhang: Mastering Diverse Mediums to Craft Narratives
Liyu Zhang is a creative spirit who excels in using diverse mediums, moving beyond mere aesthetics to display unique sophistication. He ensures that each medium becomes a meaningful extension of his narrative, without overshadowing it. Zhang possesses a talent for turning the ordinary into the enchanting. Everyday items like coins and ballpoint pens are imbued with new meaning, reflecting the complex real-world links embedded in his personal stories. His exploration spans a wide range of mediums, encompassing monetary elements and everyday items like paper clips, pencils, and soil. This highlights Zhang’s belief that artistic expression goes beyond medium limitations. His skillful touch narrates and elevates, distinguishing between the ordinary and the extraordinary.
At present, Zhang is exploring the subtle interplay between recurring imagery over time and his inner self. The project underscores the interaction between evolving visual repetition and the inner self, showcasing Zhang’s broad and evocative artistic curiosity.