Zhao Guanghui

07.02.2008 – 01.03.2008

In collaboration with Hanart TZ Gallery

The 75 Faubourg gallery presents for the first time in France, the works of a young Chinese artist, Zhao Guanghui, born in 1972 in the Province of Yunnan.

Zhao Guanghui takes the prospectus of commercial car promotion as the model of his own prospectus for his mock vehicle designs.

The biomorphic tendency of engineering products has long been the trend in the history of civilization. When machines take over the tasks of domestic animals they also take over the animals’ special features of physical capacity that first fired human imagination. Ever since the advent of the industrial age, when new sources of energy were harnessed, engineering development has accelerated without looking back.

For the new urban generation that only knows animals first hand through pet cats and dogs, the sense of wonder at the special abilities of the animal kingdom continues to be sustained by wild-life programmes on TV and Digimon cartoons. For this generation Zhao’s wonder vehicles are not impossible engines, instead they would appear to be perfectly legitimate products waiting for their turn in the production line. If Zhao Guanghui’s vision turns to a futuristic machine step, his way of thinking nonetheless leads him to be interested in the past. Indeed, in 2005 he creates a series of work titled “Excavated Future”, in which he presents bone-like fossil fragments covered in heaps of sand, the fossils turn out to be parts of a car, or parts of a computer. With this series Zhao takes us forward to the age when humans may look back at the pre-historic present to excavate the fossilized bones of our machines as modern dinosaurs.

Perhaps our reading of the world of living creatures has been unduly coloured by the idea of scientific progress, in which case Zhao’s creature-machines may serve as an amusing symbol of our age, and represent a fitting caricature of our collective imagination.