Rengu Zhang | Email: | Instagram: @rengooooooo

Artist Statement

This Is for Us to Share is an installation of sculptures formed from old garments, which I have outgrown, inherited, and kept for years. Compressed and bandaged by medical tape, the cut-down, repurposed fabrics are metonyms for the material possessions that pass through one’s life as identity transforms. These sculptures are marked by narratives, especially those from the pandemic: loss of selfhood after migrating to the US; of relationships; stories of separation from and longing for family. Each sculpture crystallizes the past and gives new lives to discards destined for loss of value, proposing an existence not yet here. During the process, I heal through conversing with belongings of past eras and morphing them into object-creatures. Animating a world of reverie, they ask, “what future is there?”

Let Me Sleepwalk Through This City is a five-person performance responding to the disorienting post-quarantine experience of navigating NYC public spaces. The choreography and soundscape draw on the sensation of riding the NYC subway: disjunctive sounds, disruptive visual cues and texts, bodily smells, and brief exchanges with stranger-passersby. Here, sleep is a metaphor for a state of rest from the world of the subway and other New York public spaces. As a woman and an Asian person, I yearn to experience this moment of respite in public—to feel safe and at ease as if sleeping, unperturbed by the external world.

Artist Bio

Rengu Zhang is a New York-based, Chinese-born multidisciplinary artist working in drawing, sculpture, moving image, and performance. Drawing on her Chinese roots and the lived transcultural experience, her work materializes feelings and narratives associated with migration, loss, and cultural amnesia. Blurring reality and fiction, her projects often operate in mythological dimensions that collapse time-space. She has exhibited in the US and abroad in exhibitions such as the Inaugural Ice Sculpture Show on Governors Island, NY (2022); “Bi Cang” at Jia Pingwa Art Museum, Lintong, China (2020); and ”Be Beyond: 1st Xi’an Biennale 2019,” Xi’an, China. Her work is in the permanent collection of Copelouzos Family Art Museum, Athens, Greece. Her curatorial projects include “Inundated,” 25 East 13th Gallery, New York, NY; and “Left Unsaid, Miss(In) Personae,” CopeNYC, Brooklyn, NY (2021).