DE SARTHE is pleased to present Out of the Time, Berlin-based artist Xinyan Zhang’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Exploring the weaknesses of human nature and existence, Xinyan Zhang’s works often feature chaotic imagery of survivors in ruins, with their eyes, hearts, or other body parts hollowed out or mutilated. Within the abstract space of her paintings, the wounded victims allude to the decay and withering of the modern spiritual world. Desire, betrayal, indifference, among other human weaknesses distort the spirituality of human existence – Xinyan Zhang’s work visualizes this with a particular focus on the social disadvantage of women and children.
Xinyan Zhang’s practice is influenced by her childhood experience of growing up in Shenzhen, China in the early 90s, a time of rapid economic development and social change. As a child, Xinyan Zhang was regularly kept at home for protection due to a fear of child abduction, having to experience hunger and loneliness everyday while her parents were away. This occupied most of her upbringing, causing insecurity to take root in her young heart. Under these circumstances, painting became her warmest companion. Though informed by traumatic memories, Xinyan Zhang's spontaneous and relaxed compositions on canvas may be regarded to be playful, straightforward and full of narrative. She has been particularly sensitive to colour since she was a child, and it has become a distinctive focus in her work. Her creative approach is characterized by automatism and intuition.
From creative subject matter to expression techniques, her practice is holistically influenced by the philosophy of German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Exploring the essence of human nature, her works attempt to expose the dark side of humanity, visualizing its weaknesses through the illustrated protagonists. Xinyan Zhang often employs satirical visual language to examine themes such as marriage and distrust through the lens of Nietzsche’s philosophies.
Xinyan Zhang’s exhibited works in Out of the Time is emblematic of her creative practice. Born as a result of the past and present, her works strive to keep deliberate distance from fleeting trends. The exhibition title Out of the Timeexpresses the untimely oddness of her creations that still comment on prevalent social phenomena today.