"Seeing is Forgetting"
Text by Emma Nixon
Seeing is Forgetting
The heart of a pillow, the edge of a printer, the head of a chair, the handle of a door, sit tightly between found ephemera on the gallery floor - like a compendium of books on a library shelf. Working in a language of collected and abandoned furniture, these fragmented objects act as hints of the functionality that once was. Do it and do it again, 2016, speaks of an action on repeat, the somewhat violent gesture of sawing something from the sum of its parts. Perhaps if the articles could talk, they would tell stories of their use, purpose, and ultimate demise. Yusi Zang sees and rescues these deserted entities, collected from the roadside’s hard rubbish, renders them useless and then rebuilds them here as a “structure of stability”.
Two draws sit shut, their contents hidden and sealed by paint; a functional object now only a mere surface. The ambiguity of their origin converts Zang’s draws into a quasi Pandora’s box, holding inside them the potential for secrets, documents, junk or nothing. Permanent Repetition, 2018, posits a proposition, compelling you to want to open up these draws, and rummage through them, finding whatever it is you are looking for - a desire then thwarted by the painting’s 2D plane.
A white hook with a pull-off tab hangs on the right hand wall of Zang’s small kitchen. It sits high up, tantalizingly out of her reach, and goes unused. A tall boy came and helped her take a photo of it one day, and from there it became a painting. The low angle from which the hook in Arrows Down, 2018 is depicted echoes Zang’s knowledge of it. I imagine her, arms stretched upwards, reaching for the unreachable. Finding value in the incidental gaps between things, she clasps onto objects forgotten by others, and it is this closeness and fondness that enriches her paintings with character. Her meticulous rendition of ordinary detail emerges here from an unconscious familiarity that can only be gleaned over time, from living with something.
‘Seeing is Forgetting’ is an exploration of object hood, the everyday and the overlooked. It attempts to articulate the confusion that arises while looking at something familiar with such intensity that suddenly, it’s no longer familiar at all.
Emma Nixon, 2018
Connecting the poetics of her inner thoughts with the realism of banal objects, Yusi Zang’s paintings and sculptures become filled with feeling. Zang is a Beijing born multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Melbourne. She was granted the Les Kossatz Memorial Graduation Prize in 2017 and was also awarded this exhibition through the Bus Projects Graduation Prize. Zang is currently completing her Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) and has an upcoming collaborative exhibition at Blindside in 2019.
Emma Nixon is an emerging curator and writer based in Melbourne, who has recently completed a Bachelor of Art History and Curating at Monash University. She co-runs Cathedral Cabinet ARI in the Nicholas Building, has written for BLINDSIDE PLAY2 and took part in a collaborative writing component at Bus Projects in conjunction with the exhibtion ‘Being As Becoming’. Nixon works as a volunteer at Daine Singer Gallery and is the Gallery Assistant at the MADA Gallery, Monash University. She has curated four exhibitions this year, which investigated subjects such as abstraction, text, and collage, within contemporary art.