Zheng Yuan: Bare Minimum


  • Opening hours

    10 : 00 – 18 : 00
    Tuesday – Saturday

  • Location:

    No. 1, -1F Sunken Garden, Lane 9, Qufu Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai

  • Artist:

MadeIn Gallery is pleased to present Zheng Yuan’s solo exhibition “Bare Minimum” on March 16, 2024. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with MadeIn Gallery, following “Forward, Backward” in 2020. Featuring five newly created video and sound installations, it demonstrates Zheng’s diversified practice as he carries forward the exploration of visual language. The exhibition will extend his previous investigation of history, memory, and image production mechanisms, while showcasing the dispatch and reorganization of realistic elements in his latest projects.

Physical experiences over the past three years have contained the “bare minimum” of movement, communication, mourning, and, not least, dignity, hope, among much more. “Bare Minimum” does not come with a prescribed noun, nor does it detect the limits of the development of things or the scope of action. Instead, it connotes a pray for returning. A motive for his artistic creation, “Bare Minimum” originates from Zheng’s intent to give active feedback to passive limitations as well as his efforts to construct a time-space of rehabilitation.

In Bare Minimum (A Walk) (2023-present), the artist follows nine people respectively as they walk at nightfall, forging ahead with the guidance of memory or meaning. The camera trails closely, anonymity and reticence both immersed within a single movement and perspective. The distance betrays a willingness to approach, be it in following or accompanying. The four-channel video installation Bare Minimum (By Memory) (2024) hints at a reboot, where the re-mastering of skills reveals a recovery of memory, and also enables a re-operation of certain modes of interaction. As they listen, read, play music or games, multiple characters appear back and forth between adjacent screens and engage in the simplest forms of collaboration or confrontation. Here, sound brings movements into a shared space. In the single-channel video Ruby (2024), a diary of the deceased occupies the center of the frame, whose text is occasionally illuminated by fireworks in between prolonged moments of darkness and silence; even in the most intimate narrative, memory desires to “be seen”, but that desire has to be illuminated through a medium. The two-channel video and sound installation A Humble Life (Two People) is a discovery and reproduction of the medium, in which sound attenuation conveys expressions of loss. The concreteness of objects and the abstraction of sound form a contrast and hew out a tunnel in time. Hepingli Playthrough (2021-2023), a single-channel video also on view, is created intermittently over the past three years and resonates with the evolution of real time. Borrowing the save and load system in classic games, the work constructs a narrative space capable of being replayed. It draws on fiction to parody the irreversibility of history while offering opportunities for active choices.

Works in the exhibition benefit from the generous support of the Huayu Youth Award and the New Century Art Foundation.