Max Estrella is pleased to present the work of Chinese artist Ting Zhang (Beijing, 1986) as part of the gallery’s project room program called Proyectos Estrella. This exhibition runs in dialogue with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s ongoing show titled Optical Flow. With Far and Near You and Me, Zhang reflects on issues connected to the role of the spectator and the activation of interactive installations. The experience triggered is also very important.
The exhibited piece is designed as a multi-channel interactive installation, and it has been adapted to a single screen for the show. A total of 40 characters inhabit the artwork and meet the spectator when positioned in the piece’s proximity. This results in a fortuitous encounter where body language is the only form of communication. A chain of reactions and spontaneous omissions establishes a familiar but strange bond with the characters contained in the work. The later aspires to generate tension between attraction and discomfort in the public.
An intentionally disturbing experience connects us with the aesthetic discussion about the uncanny. The German psychiatrist Ernst Jentsch, pioneer in the study of this concept and whose work would serve to Sigmund Freud’s research, described the unusual and odd as a state of Intellectual Uncertainty. That is, a condition when the person “doubts whether an apparently animate being is really alive, or conversely whether a lifeless object might not in fact be animate”. As in Lozano-Hemmer’s installations, Zhang positions the public as catalyst of a hypnotic and confusing experience, locating herself at the same time, far from any attempt to entertain or achieve visual complacency.
Graduated from CalArts in Video and Performance in 2016, Ting Zhang lives and works in Los Angeles. She has collaborated in projects that combine digital design with performativity, as well as others with a public nature such as Rain Vortex of Jewel at the Changi International Airport of Singapore. In 2017, she received the First Prize for the Electronic Arts Award by EX association, which brought recognition and visibility in the Spanish Contemporary Art scene.