Project 26

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible

Yang Zhichao: Chinese Bible
Yang Zhichao: Chinese Bible

Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation presents Chinese Bible (2009), a performance installation comprising 3,000 diaries and notebooks collected by Beijing-based artist Yang Zhichao (b. 1963).
Curated by Claire Roberts
SCAF Project 26
Exhibition dates: 14 May – 1 August 2015
Presented as part of Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection, in partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales
Video by Max Homaei

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Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible, 2009 (installation view)

3,000 found diaries

Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney
Photo: silversalt photography

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible, 2009 (detail)

3,000 found diaries

Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney
Photo: silversalt photography

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible, 2009 (installation view)

3,000 found diaries

Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney
Photo: silversalt photography

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible, 2009 (detail)

3,000 found diaries

Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney
Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible, 2009 (detail)

3,000 found diaries

Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney
Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible, 2009 (detail)

3,000 found diaries

Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney
Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

Yang Zhichao
Chinese Bible, 2009 (detail)

3,000 found diaries

Collection: Gene & Brian Sherman, Sydney
Photo: Jenni Carter, AGNSW

Go East is exhibited across two sites: AGNSW features over 30 works from The Gene & Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection and SCAF features Yang Zhichao’s monumental installation Chinese Bible (2009).

Chinese Bible (2009) is a performance installation comprising 3,000 diaries and notebooks collected by Beijing-based artist Yang Zhichao (b. 1963). The diaries were bought from second-hand markets over a three-year period, but their content spans the first five decades of Communist China (1949-1999). The diaries have survived because there was money to be made from recycling their paper pages. Contained within bright covers that are so suggestive of the past are fragmentary records of the lives of ordinary people: quotations from Chairman Mao, notes from political study sessions, self-criticisms, phrases from Russian and English language text books, as well as shopping lists, knitting patterns and song lyrics. The diaries are displayed as a massive unit, like a patchwork memory quilt. Together they form a more genuine account of the period than a conventional history; one that is all the more compelling because of its randomness. Through his conscious act of recovery, washing and staging Yang Zhichao gives the diaries a new life, compelling us to consider their significance in the present.

A room sheet for Chinese Bible (2009) will be available in Chinese.

 

Go East: The Gene & Brian Sherman
Contemporary Asian Art Collection
Curated by Suhanya Raffel
Art Gallery of New South Wales
14 May – 26 July 2015

And associated installations:
Yang Zhichao: Chinese Bible
Curated by Claire Roberts
Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation
SCAF Project 26
14 May – 1 August 2015

Jitish Kallat: Public Notice 2
Curated by Suhanya Raffel
Art Gallery of New South Wales
14 May – 5 October 2015

Image:
Yang Zhichao Chinese Bible (2009) (detail)
3,000 found diaries
Photos: Jenni Carter, AGNSW