Traces and Stains presents eight paintings by Yusi Zang. Looking at the overlooked, through observation and meticulous transcription, Traces and Stains aims to extract the impersonal and imperceptible forces that are obscured in life. In contemplating the mundane and banal - bird poo on a car window, coffee stains on tissue - Yusi attempts to overthrow our sense of the familiar.
Yusi Zang is a Beijing born multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Melbourne. Recent shows include Altered Routine at Blindside, Melbourne (2019), Flattening at C3 Contemporary Art Space, Melbourne (2019) and Family and Friends at Daine Singer gallery, Melbourne (2019). She also recently completed an At-home residency with Blindside, Melbourne in 2020.
MEANWHILE Public Programme Coordinator in conversation with artist Yusi Zang (31 March, 2021):
Anna Persson: Firstly, these moments you capture, like in "bird poo on car window" or the dented bumper in "attack", are these moments you experience in life and think, "wow, I need to paint that"? And do you work from a photograph of the exact moment or memory in these instances?
Yusi Zang: Yes, they are all the moments that I have experienced in life so far. My iCloud is my main resource for reference images. Sometimes the photo is sent from my friends, like the car dent. But in this case, the subject matter is also what I have seen and experienced a lot in life. I think very hard before I start making, to think about the connections between those moments and myself. There needs to be a reason, I’m not an experiment kind of artist.
AP: What have been your influences, artistically?
YZ: I’m influenced by Duchamp, Agnes Martin, and Vija Celmins. They influence my thinking. I don’t want the final presentation of the work to be influenced too much by the artists I look at. When I look at them, I try to learn the kernel instead of the appearance.
AP: What moments do you tend to find yourself drawn to, in terms of understated beauty?
YZ: I don’t believe in imagination or making up stories. I believe in inhabiting. Because I think the reality is always beyond imagination if you look intensely. I tend to paint the object life-size and strive for a degree of realism. However, the meaning of my work is not the realistic illusion, but a strong desire to intervene in the images in my memory, to try to provide visual information with a tension of likeness.
The opening event for Traces and Stains was sponsored by Splendid / Curatorial oversight by Melina Payne and Sian Stephens / Poster design by Tara Young