A view of the Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuō zhèng yuán), one of the most representative classical gardens of Suzhou, China
David Zwirner is pleased to present Parallax, a group exhibition curated by Leo Xu that will feature work by gallery artists Francis Alÿs, Dan Flavin, Gordon Matta-Clark, Fred Sandback, and Diana Thater. On view at the gallery’s Hong Kong location, the show takes its inspiration from the classical Chinese idiom 移步換形 yí bù huàn xíng, which literally translates as “the view before you will transform with every step you take,” suggesting an understanding of the experience of space as contingent and infinitely changing as one moves through it.
A fundamental idea in Chinese garden design, the meaning of the term has been explored in literati travel memoirs and nature writings as well as in the traditions of landscape painting. The exhibition will feature immersive installations and video and film works by these five artists, all of which engage with this concept by highlighting and directly confronting how space is perceived and experienced by the viewer.
Image: Diana Thater, The Road to Hana Two, 2014
A view of the Surging Waves Pavilion (Cāng Làng Tíng), one of the most representative classical gardens of Suzhou, China
A view of the “sea of cloud” at Mount Huangshan
Huang Gongwang (1269–1354), Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, 1347–1350 (detail)
Since the early 1990s, Los Angeles–based artist Diana Thater has created pioneering films, videos, and installations, the primary theme of which is the tension between the natural environment and mediated reality, and by extension, between the tamed and the wild.
The Road to Hana Two is from a series of three video wall installations that the artist made featuring unique, almost hypnotic depictions of the so-called rainbow eucalyptus trees lining the Hāna Highway in Maui, Hawaii.
Installation view, Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Sixteen-part Vertical Construction), c. 1987/2020
By stretching lengths of yarn horizontally, vertically, or diagonally at different scales and in varied configurations, Fred Sandback (1943–2003) developed a singular body of work that elaborated on the phenomenological experience of space and volume with unwavering consistency and ingenuity.
The artist’s multipart vertical sculptures succinctly encapsulate the primary concerns of his practice and in particular highlight his multivalent use of the seemingly infinite vertical line.
Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-part Right-angled Triangular Construction), 1982/2010. Installation view, Myth/History: Yuz Collection of Contemporary Art, Yuz Museum Shanghai, 2014. Photo by JJYPhoto
Francis Alÿs, who is to represent Belgium at the 2022 Venice Biennale (his fifth participation in the exhibition), is known for his distinctive practice that poetically addresses anthropological and geopolitical concerns through observation of, and engagement with, everyday life.
“The National Portrait Gallery was a perfect setting... Instead of keeping secret their operating system of cameras like most institutions do, their system is based on the preventative power of showing to the public that they are constantly being filmed.”
Dan Flavin (1933–1996) produced a singularly consistent and prodigious body of work that utilized commercially available fluorescent lamps to create installations (or “situations,” as he preferred to call them) of light and color. Through these light constructions, Flavin was able to establish and redefine space.
Here, three 2-foot (61 cm) lamps of yellow, pink, and red (from left to right) are aligned tangentially, facing into the corner of a room and mounted to the back of an eight foot (244 cm) blue lamp facing out. The dedication to Virginia Dwan in this work was made as a tribute on the occasion of the final exhibition at her gallery in 1971.
Dan Flavin installing his exhibition fluorescent light, etc, from Dan Flavin at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1969
Installation view, Flavin, Judd, McCracken, Sandback, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2018
A central figure of the downtown New York art scene in the 1970s, Gordon Matta-Clark (1943–1978) pioneered a radical approach to art making that directly engaged the urban environment and the communities within it. Through his many projects—including large-scale architectural interventions in which he physically cut through buildings slated for demolition—Matta-Clark developed a unique practice that critically examined the structures of the built environment.