Gallery: SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery
Artist(s): Michael Anastassiades
Opening / Event Date: 29 Mar, 2019
Closing / End Date: 30 Jun, 2019
“Xicheng”(Which from Mandarin, translates to “The West of the city”) once was a district in Chengdou city. In 1990 this district went through tremendous re-organisation as part of the governments urban redevelopment program thus having an adverse affect of the culture and heritage of the area. Growing up in Xicheng, Zhang Litao see’s his heart and soul in every corner of this part of the city, footprints left deep in in Zhang’s memory.
It was in the 70s during the beginning of the reform and opening up of Central and Provincial government policy, Zhang, from the 70s generation, experienced the leap firsthand from what would have been traditional Xicheng to the western part of the city as it’s known this present day. Actually, “Xicheng” is just a notion：the experience of Time.
This series “the puzzle of Xicheng” is not about a narrative, “Xicheng”could also be “Dongcheng”(the East of the city), “Nancheng”(the South of the city) or “Beicheng”(the North of the city).
If “Xicheng” represents Time, then the architectures in the paintings represent space. As a continuation of “The memory of Xicheng” the artist’s previous exhibition with A2Z Art Gallery, held last year in Paris, Zhang Litao deepens his research in space and Time in the series of “The puzzle of Xicheng”.
He likes to construct space, some of which, real spaces, the others are virtual. For the artist, the architecture contains the living space, public environment and social relationship, thus influencing deeply people’s lifestyle and aesthetics. From the fall of an old building to the erection of a new building, from brick to reinforced concrete, people have been going for decades. Before they have time to be used to this change, most of the people have been pushing forward by development trend.
Under this background, it seems that people can’t settle down memories in order. In the form of faults, fragmentation and dislocation, memories exist in the brain of the artist and are emerged through the paintings. A kind of obscure and misty atmosphere surrounds the paintings, reflecting on the unique emotion of Xicheng. The artist creates an absurdity between the void and flatness by disordering and superposing different spaces, presenting spaces in two dimensions.
“The puzzle of Xicheng” is like some missing puzzles scattered around the city. The artist searches for them by re-visiting old places and following his memories, an attempt to piece together the “real” face of Xicheng.