Ermanno Casoli Award spreads worldwide. The XV edition winner is the Chinese artist Yang Zhenzhong with a project entitled Disguise, curated by Marcello Smarrelli. The award is a commission that the Foundation gives to an artist to create an artwork for a company, with the active participation of its employees. Yang Zhenzhong worked for more than two months to a project in the Shengzhou Elica plant, and engaged tens of employees; the exhibit project will be presented at Elica Showroom in Shanghai on Saturday, May 9th at 5.00pm.
The project title is Disguise and introduces its audience in a theatrical atmosphere, which is highlighted by a series of masks reproducing the involved employees, and was created by 3D scanning. Each mask was later worn by the very employees in a performance that took place within the company; the relevant documentation was later used to create a video installation.
“I asked employees to wear the mask they had created during the workshop first step through their faces scanning, during their working shift” – the artist 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”.
Disguise is based on a Lacanian approach connected to deconstructing identities and, at the same time, triggers a process that awakes individual awareness within the collectivity. The mask, which is a perfect copy of the employees’ faces, adds drama to their emotions and reaches an extreme ostentation. The slow motion choreography of mechanical movements that they perform at the assembly line, which is displayed in the video, unveils another aspect of the work. What is more real, the role they play or their identities? What reaction does this video trigger in the workers involved when they see their own performance? Nothing is certain during the production and every forecast can be turned into a new possibility.
The project outcomes will be exhibited at Elica Showroom in Shanghai, where the video and the 50 masks used by the workers will be displayed. The arrangement will include Elica products as well and will re-create the industrial atmosphere in which the work was shaped.