::Hong Kong : Wood Block: 28.08.2018 – 07.10.2018
Solo Exhibition of the Work by Zhao Zhao
Curated by Charles Merewether
This exhibition by Zhao Zhao consists of dozens of large disused woodblocks that the artist salvaged from an Italian furniture manufacturer in Shanghai. The factory had been famous for making imported furniture and was closing. The woodblocks formed the ‘negatives’ of luxury furniture for those who could afford it in China. Recovered from their abandonment, Zhao Zhao had them sanded and polished. Having been subservient to the furniture, the blocks now assume their own identity, symbolizing both a moment in the industrial past and a strange sculptural object of the present.
The work continues a central gesture in Zhao Zhao’s work: retrieving objects, shedding them of their function or original value and transforming them. Zhao Zhao’s work stands as testament to a country where so much of its cultural history is being destroyed and recycled. He seems almost to participate in this, but gives the past another and renewed life. History is seen and valued again; origins remain embedded in the material used - but more than that, they circulate through the international channels of art and symbolize not the China of destruction and the wasting of the past but a Chinese culture of renewal and vitality that draws inspiration from its past. This is history becoming a work of art.