Peng Zuqiang | “Vestiges” @ Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo


    Antenna Space is delighted to announce that the artist Peng Zuqiang’s solo exhibition Vestiges is currently on view at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, from November 2, 2023 to January 7, 2024.

    Vestiges represents the first solo exhibition by Peng Zuqiang in Italy and is conceived as a new stage in his long-term investigation around the affective meaning of stories, bodies and language. In this context, the artist presents two new film installations dedicated to the themes of memory and contagion in relation to the production and dissemination of images. The exhibition travelled from its first iteration at Kevin Space, Vienna, on shown from September 8 to October 21, 2023.

    Within Vestiges, affectivity and fragility of bodies are the lenses through which to observe and access the sphere of memory, both individual and collective. Memory is not understood by the artist so much as an archive, ordered according to criteria of efficiency for preserving and consulting information, but rather as a set of traces, often ambiguous. Peng Zuqiang investigates this paradoxical regime of (in)visibility, disassociating memory from its abstract and mental status in order to situate it in body and matter. The remembrances that emerge in Vestiges’ works alternate between images of violence and intense emotional feelings. They come from confused space-time coordinates, between the pandemic period and the present day. To cross these reminiscences strewn with both wounds and forgetfulness, the artist adopts an anti-narrative register, characterised by an opaque and fragmentary expressive language. Opacity becomes a tool to prevent the production of traumatic and therefore contagious images, but also a political strategy to avoid identification. The analogue film, a distinctive feature of his artistic practice, is directly interrogated as a medium and subjected to a mnemonic production process.

    In Déjà vu (2023), the film itself becomes the skin and body on which memories are inscribed. Déjà vu, as it is explained, is in fact “just a bodily sensation, not a real memory”. The work consists of a 16mm projection that produces an enigmatic and abstract black and white image, animated only by the convulsive movements of a vertical band. The work is realised through the photogram technique, a method typical of cameraless photography, by exposing a 30-metre wire directly onto the same metres of negative film. The line that emerges is the vestige left by the object on the celluloid material. The work is complemented by a sound track, a first-person narrative through memories of oppression of body injuries in public, private and hersays.

    The exhibition is completed by Autocorrects (2023), a sentimentally charged three-channel video installation that follows the structure of a music video clip. The light, commercial register, paced with a downtempo beat, a genre of ambient electronic music emerged in early 1990s Chinese speaking music scene, contrasts with a narrative of memories, amnesia, affection and nostalgia. We follow the protagonist’s physical and emotional movements through some of Amsterdam’s non-places, spaces designed solely for the circulation and consumption of the individual such as an airport, an underground, a lift, a corridor. In this imagery composed of urban feeling, intimacy and lacerations, the subject’s identity seems to gradually blur in favour of an untranslatable affective interconnection.

    The images and text courtesy of the artist, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin and Kevin Space, Vienna.

    Installation Views

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