Sculpture: Artificial Stone
Zhao Yiqian was born in Shenyang, Liao Ning Province, China in 1982. He graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, China in 2006, and currently works and lives in Beijing.
In the era of consumption, pop culture has become the most representative cultural phenomenon in the modern times. Grown up in this social and economic background, Zhao Yiqian has developed a fresh visual language of the youth through his paintings, which shows a mixture of expressive power of both the traditional and the Western cultural impacts. Through the appropriation and juxtaposition of modern human spirits as well as the worship of the new totems, Zhao Yiqian reflects on the lack of beliefs in the contemporary world.
Originally, "Idol" was created by human beings, in order to enter a spiritual paradise where the unsettling can be settled and the unavoidable can be avoided. However, after the industrial revolution, the leap of productivity brought about the rise of individualism. The gods are forgotten, and consumption has become the new Eden. Purchasing leads to satisfaction, and entertainment stimulates the senses.
In the era of mass consumption, fashion idols emerge one after another, but often accompanied by intense entertaining and commercializing characteristics caused by idolatry. Mickey Mouse, this classic figure from Disney, helped the American people out of the low tide and thus became the spiritual sustenance of a generation in the Great Depression of the last century. Now, artist Zhao Yiqian used the work "new idol" to create a new "idol", as he appropriated Mickey Mouse's image to express his own attitude.
In this work, the artist applied classical sculptural language to change Mickey's sleek and lovely shape, and offered him a shoulder that is bearing a heavy burden. Mickey’s toes struggling in pain and his obese body express his own forbearance, redemption and affirmation of love.
"Divinity is restraint, equality, while consumption brings about gaps between the rich and the poor. Do contemporary people really do not need spiritual idols?" This is Zhao Yiqian’s open question to the viewer, as well as his criticism and reflection on the modern age.
Through this kind of visual re-appearance of the memory of this era, the artist re-examines the relationship between images and scenes, time and space, past and present, metaphor and reality, as these re-selected and arranged images are incorporated into a new cultural context, and new meanings are generated.