Le vent du nord-ouest se lèvera demain

09.11.2017 - 30.12.2017
Galerie Liusa Wang

Insisting on the principle of “fun before meaning”, Zhao Yanbin, the young artist who grew up in a small city in China, responded perfectly to the question that haunts all the small boys in school: What do the girls’ toilettes look like?

He has undoubtedly painted the biggest girls’ toilettes in the world, along with all the anecdotes and secrets around them. He also painted the mischief happening in the boys’ toilettes, which nevertheless interests the girls less.

This yesterday’s naughty boy has now graduated from the most renowned university of fine art in china and he redirects his vision into the “classroom in the countryside” from his pass: where wildness and discipline, innocence and cynicism, restlessness and suppression contradict one another.

He sketches a group image of a grand classroom of 700 people with numerous varieties of activities: the students asleep, fighting, watching children books, being punished in the corner etc. Hundreds of stories rise from the enormous painting with a constant character—every one of you within the sights of Einstein, Marie curie, Chairman Mao in the portraits.

This boy that used to climb over the wall of the school, wishing to explore the grand world out there right now had his own exhibition in Paris.His elderly father in Henan Province provides for his family with a truck.

The artist sometimes hides in the back of his father’s car while creating the works that always confuse the latter.However, his father often discretely tells the neighbours that his son is making a film and he will have an exhibition in Paris.

But he doesn’t know that he himself has become the main character in his son’s film.This boy that used to scribble on the corner of classroom desks, brings to Paris four old classroom desks. The drawers of the desks are painted into abandoned classrooms.

The slogan, blackboards, scribbles of those days still remain intact, as well as the music of morning gymnastics.Nevertheless, the kids who used to hide in the grass peeking at couples are absent. Also disappeared are the kids that are almost blown away by the northwest wind holding certificates of well-behaved children that looks like a subpoena from the future.

If you don’t study hard, there is only northwest wind for you to drink in the future.” This northwest wind, however, has brought the artist to a further horizon.

“ This little boy that says he has a headache every time he reads has now become the world’s best novelist using his paintbrush. He brings alive the memories of the adorable but naughty children, throwing the last torch onto the ashes of the past. Several years later, time has transformed these meanings into something more profound. The ruins become the monuments of memories.

The grand classroom becomes silent in a glimpse–cultural memories, historical transitions or personal destiny settle into dust in abandoned classrooms. The children have finally crossed the high walls, while ending up trapped in a much wider world.

This kid that used to peek into the cracks of doors, now opens the crack of time for us. The ever-more-far-away past and the obscure future, the carefree and the worries coexist in his paintings. We bend down to reach out the past, looking up at the clouds and sky over the wall, while contemplating: Which direction will the wind be tomorrow?