Escape Routes: Zhang Kechun at Bangkok Art Biennale 2020

Zhang Kechun has been selected to represent China at this year’s Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB 2020). This year marks the second edition of the festival, which will take place in venues across the city from October of this year. On the subject of this year’s theme, Escape Routes, the Biennale’s chief executive and artistic director Apinan Poshyananda has said: ‘In one way or another, artists create ‘escape routes’ to make us aware of the paths of sufficiency, sustainability and inclusivity. The artists will reflect on issues such as environmental detriment, pollution, social malaise, gender, diaspora and political differences.’

Zhang’s work consistently communicates a sense of the scale and power of landscape, with human figures often appearing small in relation to their vast surroundings. His first series, The Yellow River, documents the consequences of modernisation along the third longest river in Asia. Whilst the project was not intended to confront environmental issues, many of the works demonstrate the visibility of air pollution along the riverbank. In the following series, Between the Mountains and Water, he focused on the relationship between the people and the land on which they live and work. Zhang continuously explores the landscapes of China, capturing the awe and surreal beauty of its natural phenomena.

Alongside Zhang, the Biennale’s list of exhibiting artists includes Bill Viola (USA) and Anish Kapoor (UK), whilst the curatorial team includes Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Curator for International Art at Tate Modern, as well as President of Thailand’s Royal Photographic Society, Dow Wasiksiri, who has said: ‘Zhang Kechun’s photographic works are reminiscent of traditional Chinese landscape paintings of mountains and rivers by ancient masters. Inspired by their works, he uses photography to capture such images and include people in certain scenarios while illustrating the relationship between the people and the environment in which they live and work.’

BAB 2020 will run from 10 October 2020 through 21 February 2021. Find out more here.

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