SZ Art Center is pleased to present Relatively Related, the first solo exhibition in China of U.S. based artist Xiang Yang. The exhibition surveys Xiang’s hybrid sculptural constructions and premiers his architecturally scaled installation Relatively Related. Fabricated on site, the installation, which envelopes the viewer, meditates on the interconnectedness of China and the United States. Relatively Related, Xiang’s most complex work to date, employs his signature radiant thread construction and introduces film as an image component.
Xiang Yang trained as a painter in Beijing in the early 1990s, where he developed a highly refined style of naturalism and precision along with an appreciation of scale that came from his early studies in mural painting. Following his move to the United States in 1998, Xiang began to experiment with two–dimensional images projected in space, bringing his drawing into the realm of sculpture. In his series Floating Object, which first explored this hybrid form, Xiang combined the most humble and transient of materials, plastic take-out food containers, with exquisitely embroidered images chronicling his daily life and imagination. The threads that form the embroidered image on the surface of the plastic transverse the space of the clear container to create a second image on the opposite side. With these small portable objects, Xiang developed a technique combining narrative image and spatial construction that exploded fully into three-dimensional space with works such as Can We Talk? and Here and There, both on view in the exhibition.
In the larger works that followed the Floating Object series, two framed scrim panels, each printed or painted with a singular image, are dramatically connected in space by hundreds of perfectly tensioned embroidery threads. The images on many of these ambitiously scaled works address political figures and global events. The technique itself, countless individual threads transversing space to bind together disparate images, forms the heart of the work's content.
Xiang Yang's work synthesizes the traditions of China: philosophy and religious thought; art and craft, with a new range of material, form, and critical thought encountered in contemporary Western art practice. Working at the intersection of two worlds gives Xiang an insider/outsider status in both, providing him with a deeper understanding of the unity of seeming opposites. In matters personal and global, it is the relationship of opposing ideas and states of being that Xiang Yang explores in his art practice.
Curator: Mary Anne Friel