I SPENT A MONTH WITH A (VASE), I SPENT TWO WEEKS WITH A (BOOK)
2013 / blue, teal, and green Risograph interior, fold-out (poster) cover, glue and tape bound, edition of 100 / 10.25” X 6.5”
In August of 2013, I spent two weeks with a book. The edition was printed on a Risograph GR3750 stencil duplicator on the occasion of residency at SPARE, Chicago.
About the book:
I wanted to re-explore my approach to a vase which I had replicated before. The previous projects dealt with value being created (or at least being more obviously visible) through an investment of time and labor on the part of an artist and the translation and transitions between copies. I was curious to use a machine to further explore issues of authenticity (each print is a multiple yet unique) and memory (alignment and registration).
About Risograph Printing at SPARE:
The Risograph GR3750 stencil printer is the basis of SPARE. The Risograph is best when its imperfections can be appreciated. It will often look a little rough, misaligned, and handmade. Similar to screenprinting you print one color at a time which brings alignment, overprinting, and other layer techniques into play. When printing multiple colors the alignment will never be precise. These qualities can be seen as limitations, but SPARE prefers to exploit, challenge and play with the capabilities of the Risograph machine.
POSTCARD SALE - DE LOODS (SILO) GRONINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS
2013 / event of selling postcards that document an action
De Loods (Silo) is a building in Groningen that was lifted from its previous location and deposited to where it now sits. I chose this building as my MFA graduation exhibition site. After developing a site-specific project, I was told by the exhibition organizers that the building was not suitable and was offered another more gallery-like exhibition space. After developing another project for the second space, I was informed that the second space was no longer available and I should return (at this point reluctantly) to my first choice. Through moving between spaces and perhaps the shifting of time, I no longer had an interest in being present. This general sense of indifference was the point of departure for this site-specific project.
POSTCARD DESIGNS - DE LOODS (SILO) GRONINGEN, THE NETHERLANDS
2013 / 40 postcard designs / (text from back of postcard included here as captions)
I remade the walls of the space at 1:35 scale and mailed them to loved ones in the places I’ve lived and will be returning to as a way to both expand and destroy the site. Before mailing all but one of the walls to my family (my husband in Baltimore, my parents in Oklahoma City, my grandmother and extended family in China), I asked a photographer to document them. I’ve taken the wall I kept (which will be displayed in my home in Groningen) to locations I felt were significant in the city and documented the visits. I’ve asked my family members to take their respective walls to landmarks in their own cities. My selections from the photographs were made into postcards that were then sold for one euro each during the exhibition.
2013 / Installation in Frank Mohr Institute Window
Viewers are invited to enter a small space sparsely furnished with three white rectangular units (the first is placed vertically and holds a stack of letters, the second is placed horizontally as a bench, the third is placed vertically and holds a black trash bag). To enter the narrow vitrine of the Frank Mohr Institute where the letter is presented, a student/tutor/or employee must visit during office hours or get a key from the reception desk.
Instructions on the wall read:
1. Please sit down on the bench.
2. Take a letter from the bin.
3. Read it.
4. When you are done you can tear up the letter if you wish.
5. Throw it away in the trash can.
Additionally, the reader is on display to the outside public while reading.
The letter is an emotional break-up letter to the institution.
2013 / handpainted ceramic glaze on clay / 5 X 5 X 0.25 inches
I made this ceramic representation of souvenir coasters from Jerusalem that I found in a small shop in the Netherlands . The original coaster and my clumsy copy are made in the same materials, (fired glaze on clay). My version was not made in Jerusalem and the glaze is entirely hand painted.
2013 / video projection at eye level, in a corner / 12:36 minutes, projection image measures 5 X 13 inches
These are stills from a video projection. The video is a series of pairs of photographs showing the travels, reunion, and separation of two almost identical coasters from Jerusalem. I found the coasters at a second hand shop in Assen, NL. Later, one coaster was lost and the other one was sent to America. When the lost coaster reappeared, I began a project to reunite them. This video shows their individual journeys, reunion, and common travels. The video shows 63 pairs of still images and runs 12:36 minutes then loops.
2012 / photocopied texts on sketchbook paper / each page measures 8.3 X 6 inches
These photographs show a presentation of texts I’ve written. The texts range from instructions, to descriptions of performances, to poetic texts, to short stories. I had struggled with how to encourage a viewer to spend time reading my texts. The texts sometimes relate to other works I’ve made. For example, the texts How to Draw a Line and How to Use a Line are closely related to Drawn Line. However, I view them as separate works and did not want one to be an illustration of the other or a caption for the other. This table of texts was placed in a different space (an atrium) to the exhibition. This table invites the viewer to collect the texts and take them home to read in their private space and in a time of their choosing.
2012 / handcut acrylic on vellum / Installation size variable, line measures 656 feet by 1/8th of an inch
This line was drawn in acrylic on both sides of vellum paper and then cut out with scissors. Two other lines were then drawn on the cut edges, essentially making a sculptural line from four lines. These photographs show one installation. I later built a holder to transport and to wind/unwind the line.
2012 / self-published book, open edition / 8 X 5 inches
This is a collection of all my drafts in telling the story of my relationship with a vase. This book can also be seen as a translation of an earlier work. I wanted to tell the story of my relationship with a vase. The first page is my first attempt. I edited and revised the story over time. Each subsequent page is a later draft. I was exploring the nuances of an authentic experience, beginning with the need to put into words my thoughts and ending with a text that was carefully labored over and revised for word choice, grammar, and syntax. Details are omitted, other details are added. The order in which events are introduced changes. The back cover of the book reads “Such a vase has been impossible to find.”
2011 / handcut acrylic on vellum / size variable, undropped vase measures 16 inches in length
This vase is made in the image of the most expensive Chinese artwork ever auctioned. It is drawn twice using acrylic paint - once on the front and once on the back of a sheet of vellum paper and then cut out by hand with a knife. The vase is presented by being dropped on the floor. These photographs document five different drops.
In another work, Brick Story, I recount being given a brick, my experience of carrying it to my studio and the associations that arise. I later made a mold of that brick that I used to cast plaster replicas. I made replicas until the mold broke and chose the closest copy to return to the pile.
In Brick Exchange I returned this plaster replica to the pile of bricks that my gifted brick came from. I returned to the site each day and photographed the pile of bricks until the the plaster brick vanished.
My grandfather had wanted to name me Zhang Peng. My father deemed the name too masculine and rejected it. I consider this work a memorial to my nonexistent male alter-ego. I signed the Chinese characters for Zhang Peng repeatedly on the panel.
FOR LU ZHANG
2011 / acrylic, gesso, wood, mirror / 70 X 5.5 X 25 inches
FOR ZHANG LU
2011 / acrylic, gesso, wood, mirror / 70 X 5.5 X 25 inches
In translating a Chinese name to English, the order of the first name and the surname is inverted. I feel very different depending on how I am called. My parents and Chinese relatives and friends call me Zhang Lu. Everyone else calls me Lu Zhang. I wanted to address this duality. This pair of works appear identical. The difference lies in the order the characters were written (Zhang first or Lu first).