This presentation of work by Shanghai-based artist Yang Zhenzhong involved two video works and an installation of sculptural pieces.
Let’s Puff (2002) involved two video projections screened parallel to each other. On one side a young woman against a black background blows air in sharp bursts towards the other side which featured footage of a city street in Shanghai. Every time she exhales, the street scene is pushed backwards, suggesting an impermanence in this urban environment, famous for always being ‘on the move’. The viewer is caught between cause and effect, the illusion also suggesting elasticity in the walls of the building.
Massage Chairs: Then, Edison’s Direct Current Was Surrendered To The Alternating Current (2003) consisted of six massage chairs – each differently designed – stripped of their upholstery. Still in operation, their various mechanisms are clearly visible, the cogs and belts moving the various shapes intended to knead and gently pummel the backs of human bodies requiring relaxation. Without their padding and soft surfaces, the chairs are skeletal and eerily reminiscent of electric chairs, especially in the stark space of the old factory. The sounds they emit, the whirrings and rhythmical clickings, echo ominously in this interior, still haunted by its industrial past, evoking a response which is a far cry from the desired effects of massage.
Ikon Eastside is supported by Advantage West Midlands, Birmingham City Council, Business Link and the European Regional Development Fund.