A detail from an artwork by Diana Thater, titled The Road to Hana Two, dated 2014.

Parallax

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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. 

 

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Image: Diana Thater, The Road to Hana Two, 2014

A view in the Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuō zhèng yuán), one of the most representative classical gardens of Suzhou, China.

A view of the Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuō zhèng yuán), one of the most representative classical gardens of Suzhou, China

A view of the Humble Administrator's Garden (Zhuō zhèng yuán), one of the most representative classical gardens of Suzhou, China

A view in the Surging Waves Pavilion (Cāng Làng Tíng), one of the most representative classical gardens of Suzhou, China.

A view of the Surging Waves Pavilion (Cāng Làng Tíng), one of the most representative classical gardens of Suzhou, China

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” in Mount Huangshan.

A view of the “sea of cloud” at Mount Huangshan

A view of the “sea of cloud” at Mount Huangshan

A portion of an artwork by Huang Gongwang (1269–1354), titled Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, dated 1347-1350.

Huang Gongwang (1269–1354), Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, 1347–1350 (detail)

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.

An installation view of the exhibition Diana Thater: A Runaway World at the Guggenheim in Bilbao in 2018.
Installation view, Diana Thater: A Runaway World, Guggenheim, Bilbao, 2018
Installation view, Diana Thater: A Runaway World, Guggenheim, Bilbao, 2018

“I’m interested in the idea of the theatre and what it means to encounter an image in a theatrical setting. I want to create an experience that triggers an emotional and physical response, one that leads to a thoughtful response, to the conceptual. That’s why I make installations. You have to walk into them, so you have a very particular experience that is both physical and visual but it’s silent.”
—Diana Thater

An installation view of a work by Fred Sandback at David Zwirner, Hong Kong, in 2020.

Installation view, Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Sixteen-part Vertical Construction), c. 1987/2020

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.

An installation view of work by Fred Sandback at Art Basel Unlimited in 2018.

Installation view, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-part Triangular Construction), c. 1982/2011, Art Basel Unlimited, 2018

Installation view, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-part Triangular Construction), c. 1982/2011, Art Basel Unlimited, 2018

An installation view of a work by Fred Sandback, called Untitled (Sculptural Study, Swcen-part Right-angled Triangular Construction), dated 1982/2010.

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

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

Sandback described his sculpture as being “…less a thing-in-itself, more of a diffuse interface between myself, my environment, and others peopling that environment, built of thin lines that left enough room to move through and around. Still sculpture, though less dense, with an ambivalence between exterior and interior. A drawing that is habitable.’’

A sculpture by Fred Sandback, titled Untitled (Sculptural Study, Sixteen-part Vertical Construction), dated circe 1987 slash 2020.

Fred Sandback

Untitled (Sculptural Study, Sixteen-part Vertical Construction), c. 1987/2020
Red, yellow, and blue acrylic yarn
Situational: spatial relationships established by the artist; overall dimensions vary with each installation
A sculpture by Fred Sandback, titled Untitled (Four-part Vertical Construction), dated 1987.

Fred Sandback

Untitled (Four-part Vertical Construction), 1987
Off-white and black acrylic yarn
Ceiling height x 20 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches (Ceiling height x 52.1 x 45.1 cm)
An installation view of an exhibition titled Francis Alys: La Depense, at Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, dated 2018.

Installation view, Francis Alÿs: La dépense, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, 2018

Installation view, Francis Alÿs: La dépense, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, 2018

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 Nightwatch is a video work that is part of Seven Walks, a project commissioned by Artangel in 2005. Walking comprises an important facet of Alÿs's practice—the repetitive, meditative action serving as a catalyst for the recognition of deep-rooted issues. Here, the artist released a fox, named Bandit, into London’s National Portrait Gallery at night. The resulting footage from the museum's array of security cameras shows the inquisitive fox trotting around the museum, at times purposeful and at times puzzled.

“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.”
—Francis Alÿs

A sculpture by Dan Flavin, titled untitled (to Virginia Dwan) 2, dated 1971.

Dan Flavin

untitled (to Virginia Dwan) 2, 1971
blue, yellow, pink, and red fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) wide across a corner

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.

A photo of Dan Flavin installing an exhibition titled fluorescent light, etc in 1969.

Dan Flavin installing his exhibition fluorescent light, etc, from Dan Flavin at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1969

Dan Flavin installing his exhibition fluorescent light, etc, from Dan Flavin at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 1969

“It is what it is, and it ain’t nothin’ else…. There is no overwhelming spirituality you are supposed to come into contact with…. And it is very easy to understand. One might not think of light as a matter of fact, but I do... as plain and open and direct an art as you will ever find.”
—Dan Flavin, quoted in Michael Gibson, “The Strange Case of the Fluorescent Tube,” Art International 1, 1987

A scale shot with a human figure of an installation by Dan Flavin, called untitled, 1974.

Installation view, Flavin, Judd, McCracken, Sandback, David Zwirner, Hong Kong, 2018

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.

“Some observed that the pronounced use of light within Day's End imbued it with a sacral character, an effect the artist stressed when he described the pier as 'looking like an enormous Christian basilica whose dim interior was barely lit by the clerestory windows fifty feet above.' Along similar lines, Matta-Clark referred to the cut in the west wall as functioning like a 'rose window.' These statement are metaphorical, but what they ultimately convey is the awesomeness of the kinaesthetic experience within the space.’’
—Pamela Lee, Object to Be Destroyed


Below: Exhibition video, Passing Through Architecture: The 10 Years of Gordon Matta-Clark, Power Station of Art, Shanghai (November10,  2019–March 29, 2020). Courtesy Power Station of Art

A video installation by Diana Thater, titled The Road to Hana Two, dated 2014.

Diana Thater

The Road to Hana Two, 2014
9-monitor video wall
Overall: 68 3/8 x 121 x 3 5/8 inches (173.6 x 307.3 x 9.2 cm)
Monitor, each: 22 7/8 x 40 3/8 x 3 5/8 inches (58.1 x 102.5 x 9.2 cm)
Dimensions variable with equipment
A sculpture by Fred Sandback, titled Untitled (Sculptural Study, Sixteen-part Vertical Construction), dated circe 1987 slash 2020.

Fred Sandback

Untitled (Sculptural Study, Sixteen-part Vertical Construction), c. 1987/2020
Red, yellow, and blue acrylic yarn
Situational: spatial relationships established by the artist; overall dimensions vary with each installation
A sculpture by Fred Sandback, titled Untitled (Four-part Vertical Construction), dated 1987.

Fred Sandback

Untitled (Four-part Vertical Construction), 1987
Off-white and black acrylic yarn
Ceiling height x 20 1/2 x 17 3/4 inches (Ceiling height x 52.1 x 45.1 cm)
A sculpture by Dan Flavin, titled untitled (to Virginia Dwan) 2, dated 1971.

Dan Flavin

untitled (to Virginia Dwan) 2, 1971
blue, yellow, pink, and red fluorescent light
8 ft. (244 cm) wide across a corner
A film by Gordon Matta-Clark, titled Day's End, dated 1975.

Gordon Matta-Clark

Day's End, 1975
16mm film, 23:10 min, color, silent
Overall dimensions variable
A video by Francis Alÿs, titled The Nightwatch, dated 2004.

Francis Alÿs

The Nightwatch, 2004
Single channel video on monitor, 17:30 min, color, silent

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