Zhan Wang’s presentation, collectively titled Match Openings, following the first positions in a chess game, includes his latest body of sculptural works and ink paintings. The sculptures are an evolution of his stainless-steel artificial replicas of the ‘scholar’s rocks’ traditionally found in Chinese gardens. Zhan applies the philosophical concept of the Dichotomy Paradox to the segmentation of each stone, before reconstructing the fragments to make an ever-expanding set of new modules. The mirrored surfaces of these previously organic objects are arranged on a tessellating grid of nine plinths that rotate and morph on a weekly basis, in formations that represent light, air, earth/ocean/plant, star, fish/insect, human/animal, and finally, rest. This conceptual and lyrical bed of stones stimulates philosophical slippage between the natural and manmade worlds, between the technological and the archaeological, but also between energies, elements and materials.
The ink paintings on rice paper shown alongside the sculptures are placed within two five-by-five matrices. Operating under a strict rule that the brushstrokes not overlap or touch each other, the artist seeks to paint with near-absolute spontaneity, resulting in abstraction and a similar, shifting mode of conceptual, time-based display that, in his own words, is “both accidental and inevitable”.