A picture of the human condition through art

A solo exhibition at the Van Art Space gives artist Zhou Yaling yet another opportunity to showcase her precocious talent as she tries to develop private experiences into art.


A solo exhibition at the Van Art Space gives artist Zhou Yaling yet another opportunity to showcase her undoubted precocious talent as she tries to develop private experiences into art.

Zhou’s paintings look quite traditional at a first glance, like a color-patterned tile placed on wall but, when you get closer and study the fine details of the art, you can see the lines in the patterns are made of small dots on canvas.

“I drip a mixture of cement and glue onto my canvas,” said the artist, who moved to Hangzhou after graduating from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2015. And when these bulges are partly dried, she will then mark a hyphen at its center, making them look like white pills.

All the patterns are devised in advance with pencil. And on average, 45-centimeter-by-45-centimeter square canvas takes around two weeks to finish.

Zhou is such an innovative artist that she was once inspired by a cold she caught and turned it into a geographical abstract painting rather than the original realism that she had been studying for many years.

Van Art Space

Visitors appreciate Zhou Yaling’s work.

The artist also experiments with colors. In a painting called, “My Appearance After Torn Away,” she depicted the traces of flyers left on a cemented wall by imitating the nuances in the gradation of the color gray.

In another series made on wood panels, she fixes handles and hooks on her paintings to disguise them as ordinary furniture we see in daily life, such as a coat hook on the back of a door, a wardrobe or a cabinet with traditional Chinese cabinet latches.

Zhou has developed the idea of “disguise” further in her latest series, by using fluorescent paint.

In a small separate room of the exhibition, the artist placed seven pieces of her work on the walls, where she hid different words and phrases. They are almost invisible to the naked eye. But when you turn off the light, the messages reveal themselves. The “Exit” is on, but there is no real exit behind the wall. A big “Thank you” looks like the end titles in a movie, which complements the background music that the artist chose.

“This is the last message that my ex-boyfriend sent to me,” said Zhou. “I didn’t know if I should reply or not so I made it into an art piece.”

These works serve as an extra note to her cold, rational abstraction paintings in the previous series, which are made with great precision and self-discipline. And they may also suggest something about the possibility of art becoming a remedy for life.


Date: Through December 26, closed on Mondays

Address: No. 3-108, 167 Fenghuang Shanjiao Rd

Admission: Free

Zhou Yaling

Zhou Yaling’s fluorescent series “Thank You” with the light on (left) and with the light off (right). 



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