Organizer: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre
Opening: 16:00, April 30th, 2019
Duration: April 30th, 2019 - May 29th, 2019 (9:30-17:30 Closed on Mondays)
Curator: Wu Xihuang
Location: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre
(No. 301, Building 2, Xinglinwan Business Center, Jimei District, Xiamen)
It’s like living in two different sets of time and space;by turns, I cycle through two little lives. One clearly faces many people, flourishingand varied, and the other is only open to me, chaotic and changing.
A vital young person, an independent photographer, a goodfamily member, a… I would describe myself with all of the adjectives anyonecould think of. But sometimes, I battle depression. Insomnia, loss of appetite,and loss of vitality… I really want to embrace it, but I also want to stopbefore I careen over the edge.
“The momentyou realize that you’re happy is the moment it begins to slip away.” Manypeople think that depression is simply feeling despair or sadness, like when thelittle things in life make you unhappy—unhappiness at a receding hairline caused by stress at work, or unhappiness at the cooling of a passionate romance… In fact,depression is still feeling that sadness even though everything is going well. It’s like being caught in a whirlpool or blanketed by a huge shadow.
Writing these words was not easy, and when I was shootingthis series and talking with friends, I tried to avoid these topics. Everyone hasthe right to feel sad and be swallowed by that sadness, and people who have notexperienced it cannot fully understand it.
Frankly saying what I wanted to say, bringing it out intothe open, would be difficult for anyone. However, I admire the courage and confidence of the girls who sought me out. They unreservedly took off their social disguises; they relaxed and told me about their personal experiences,which represented sincere confidence and reassurance for me.
Despite this, we cannot escape that depression in young people is a common issue today.
I had originally thought that depression was an imaginary feeling, one that was very distant, but you might suffer from depression yourself one day. When that happens, all of your dissatisfaction barrels down on you like a growing snowball, burying you entirely so that you cannot move. That persistent suffocating feeling is like dozens of hot knives being simultaneously driven into your chest. You may not even dare to look in the mirror, but when we look at Zhang Yateng’s pictures, it’s like seeing a stranger in that mirror.
Zhang attempts to record in photographs the different feelings he experiences on meeting people. This is an experiment with real emotions and resistance to anxiety. When we realize the goodness of certain things, it quickly begins to fade. He uses photography only to record the “collapse” and confusion of life, and for Zhang, photography is are lease valve, or maybe a treatment method.
This series is made up of thee motions and body language of his subjects. Zhang Yateng “frankly” presents atrue yet absurd, calm yet expressive little world to viewers. In these works, we are almost able to feel the cycles of the natural world—appearing, disappearing, and multiplying endlessly. This cycle reflects the grief and helplessness in life.