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Yang Zhenzhong, DISGUISE, 2015

Artist:Yang Zhenzhong
Curator: Marcello Smarrelli
Company: Elica China
Participant number: 57
Location: Shengzhou
XV Edition
Selected for the XI Shanghai Biennale 2016

Disguise is the title of the project that Chinese artist Yang Zhenzhong conceived for the Ermanno Casoli Award XV edition; this work was carried out during the two-month residency that the artist realized in the Shengzou, China, Elica’s plant. There, he worked closely with more than fifty employees and realized a series of workshops with them.

Disguise evokes a theatric atmosphere, which is highlighted by a series of masks reproducing the involved employees, created through 3D scanning. Each mask was later worn by the very employees in a performance that took place within the company. Employees wore the masks during the normal daily work and the video footage was used to create a multi-channel video-installation. This and the masks were presented during an exhibition held at Shanghai Elica’s Showroom.

“I asked employees to wear the mask they had created during the workshop first step through their faces scanning, during their working shift” – Yang Zhenzhong tells. “The video shows the employees working and, simultaneously, staging the productive process. They express a kind of performative dynamic action despite they have to respect their roles’ rules within the company. With their faces covered by masks, their movements are always connected to the assembly line but, thanks to this metamorphosis, they acquire the grace of a freedom dance. Differently from what could be thought, the atmosphere during the workshop did not change the daily production potentiality; on the contrary, it turned it into a sort of theatre and added spirituality. Personally, this whole practice and creative procedure was a new extraordinary experience”.

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