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Ritual of Repeating Insubstantiality





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Friday, 26 January 2024 to Friday, 9 February 2024
Friday, 26 January 2024 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Chinese American Arts Council/Gallery 456 is pleased to present Ritual of Repeating Insubstantiality, curated by Ivy Haoying Huang, on view from January 26, 2024 through February 9, 2024.

From nighttime skincare routine to daily meal preparation, from second-to-second breathing to annual ancestral veneration ceremonies, human beings are enveloped in rituals of repetition in their most celebratory or minutest form. Embedding the story of repetition with cultural and philosophic perspectives, the exhibition invites the viewers to contemplate their roles in a story of never-ending repetition. As (in)voluntary guardians, documenters, and onlookers of repeating rituals of insubstantiality, Chi Zhang, Crys Yin, and Qiaosen Yang unravel their shared entrapment by convention, habit, context, and time.

Despite their unattainable promise of forever beauty and youth, beauty products emerge as a life necessity worthy of recurring usage. In The Youth Project - Skincare Facial Masks (2018 - ongoing), Chi Zhang presents her used masks, along with their original packaging, as haunting testimony to her ongoing routine of applying facial masks for 15 minutes every night. Collected over five years, Zhang’s masks constitute a series of self-portraits once in contact with, yet now detached from the artist’s body. Zhang also preserves her second-to-second memory of breathing New York City on a given day in her New York City Air Project (2018 - ongoing), where she pairs a sealed bottle of New York’s air with an annotative documentary photograph.

With a sense of nostalgia in the air, Crys Yin’s Untitled No. 1 – 10 (2022) references traditional Chinese ancestral veneration ceremonies while contemplating individuals as the (un)conscious inheritors of long-lasting rituals. After experiencing several passings during the pandemic, Yin revives and represents her childhood ritual of burning joss sticks as offerings in grief. While the lighting and refilling of incense signify a prospering sustenance of lifeline (香火 in Chinese), its fate of ephemerality parallels the cyclical nature of individual narratives. Yin’s The Red Group, Everything is Exactly the Same (2019) also illustrates a juncture where individuality collapses into a vortex of sameness.

In the monolithic face of time, are repetitions reduced to movements of futility? Qiaosen Yang's sculptures transform the supposedly hefty ceremonial objects into a fleeting collective of motion, symbolic of the passage of time. Both grasped and ungraspable by the everyday repetitive structure, collective cultural memories and traditions transport themselves into fleeting motions and individual histories. As its titular phrase suggests, Yang's Another End in the Looping (循環中的另一個端點) stands as an abstract representation of time's inexorable flow, repeating people’s memories and desires.

By re-enacting and re-examining events of repetition, the exhibition embraces repetition in its fullest form. As the most disposable and ephemeral materials (facial masks, incense, air) seep through our everyday repetitive structure, they speak to both the existential mundanity and significance of human experiences.

Curator :

Artist ( Description ): 

Qiaosen Yang (b.1995, Kunming, China), an artist and designer of Chinese Bai ethnicity, is based in Brooklyn, New York. He earned his BFA in graphic design from the University of Central Missouri in 2018 and recently completed his MFA in studio art with a focus on sculpture at Pratt Institute in 2023. Grounded in tradition, Qiaosen learned the craft of traditional metal forging from the esteemed Mr. Huazao Wang, an inheritor of intangible cultural heritage in China. In China, Qiaosen has been awarded the "Golden Phoenix" arts and crafts national exhibition's National Golden Reward by The Chinese Arts and Crafts Institute. He was also invited by The China Academy of Art to participate in the Asia Design Forum as a visiting scholar designer. Since his move to New York, Qiaosen Yang's work has been showcased in various institutions and galleries, including the 2023 Spring Break Art Show, Westbeth Gallery, Ely Center of Contemporary Art, Agora, and Black Brick Project Gallery. Qiaosen's work has been featured by The Poetry Society of New York, Dovetail Magazine, and Hyperallergic. Currently, Qiaosen Yang holds the positions of Academic Secretary of the Yunnan Graphic Designer Association and Gallery Coordinator at Black Brick Project.

Crys Yin is an artist based in New York. Her paintings, drawings, and sculptures tell stories of mis/connections and find contentment in both the banality and absurdity of humanness. Through the distortion of scale and skewing of perspectives, along with a compulsive tendency towards repetition, she depicts worlds that exist just a smidgen off-kilter. Her paintings, drawings, and sculptures have been exhibited at FLAG Art Foundation, the Chinese American Museum, Adam Baumgold Gallery, Fisher Parrish, LVL3, amongst others. She has also participated in fellowships with Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop (New York), A.I.R. (New York), ProjectArt (New York), Shandaken Paint School (New York), The Lighthouse Works (New York), ACRE (Wisconsin), Ox-Bow (Michigan) and The Lower East Side Printshop (New York). She was most recently a participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine.

Chi Zhang (b. 1988, Beijing, China) is a visual artist, art educator, and art professional formerly based in New York, who currently lives and works in Beijing and Shanghai, China. Zhang received her MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York (2013) and her BA in Studio Art from Stony Brook University (2010). Chi Zhang's multidisciplinary practice encompasses installation, painting, drawing, and documentary of daily activity, all of which revolve around personal narratives and perceptions influenced by diverse social contexts. In an increasingly complex and tumultuous social climate, Zhang's art seeks to examine the pursuit of inner peace and the beauty of emptiness, while also fostering meaningful conversations and connections beyond the confines of the artwork itself. Through this exploration of the human experience, Zhang aims to offer a unique perspective on contemporary society and inspire viewers to look inward and outward with greater empathy and understanding. Her works have been exhibited in the United States and China. Zhang also participated in the Pantocrator Gallery Summer Artist Residency, Shanghai, China; NARS Foundation International Artist Residency, Brooklyn, New York, US; and was accepted into The Association of Icelandic Visual Artists (SÍM) in Reykjavik, Iceland and GlogauAIR Artist in Residence, Berlin, Germany.

Other Info: 


Ivy Haoying Huang (b. 1998, Guangzhou, China) is a New York-based independent curator and writer who focuses on the philosophy of language, conceptual art, and in-betweenness in contemporary cultural productions.  Influenced by Wittgenstein, Foucault, and Deleuze, she explores the power relations in representation, repetition, and acts of languaging. Her curated projects include Tale of the Abandoned: Salvaged Works from Art School Waste with The Catchers Curation, Bodies, reciprocal motions: Yale MFA Sculpture Class of 2023 at YveYANG Gallery. She has assisted the Curator of Time-Based Media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum with Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies (2023 - 24) for eight months. Currently pursuing her MA in Modern and Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies at Columbia University, she graduated from Hamilton College with a dual degree in Art History and Philosophy in 2021. She is a freelance writer for Arte Fuse Magazine and her article “Luis Camnitzer’s ‘A to Cosmopolite’: a site of arbitrariness, bifurcation and contemplation” has been published in Burlington Contemporary Journal 9.

Venue ( Address ): 

456 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10013

Ritual of Repeating Insubstantiality
01/26/2024 to 02/09/2024
Mythical Mosaic: Nina Kuo
12/29/2023 to 01/19/2024
Transcendental Visions of Ko Si-Chi's Art Works
09/22/2023 to 10/13/2023



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