“Sometimes I feel that if you deal with individual experience on a certain level, it becomes universal experience.”
Born 1968, Hangzhou, Zhejiang. Lives and works in Shanghai
Yang Zhenzhong’s videos employ playful humour to explore serious questions of perception and politics. Exam (2013) presents two schoolgirls studying for a test. Wearing camisoles and lace-trimmed panties, they lie on a bed, moving across it and each other with a casual innocence that only increases the erotic suggestiveness of the scene. The camera-voyeur zooms in and out, leering from all angles, but the girls, alternately dreamy and giggling, are oblivious to its presence or the implications of their behaviour: their whole attention is on the Marxist texts they need to memorise. The dissonance between socialist theory and their material reality of stuffed toys, snacks and European-style furnishings—and between the political texts and sexual subtext—is not only amusing. It also reflects the multi-layered paradoxes of life in contemporary China.