Amidst a vast, crumpled canvas, I discovered a small screen and “脱, 穿”（Take off, Put on) by E Zhang. Part-filmed via drone, the piece’s visuals are romantic and cinematic, spanning the wild countryside before focusing on a solo silent figure. Originating from an image in the artist’s mind, we watch as the subject repeatedly removes and puts on his clothing, whilst also battling harsh winds. Commands in Mandarin (“take off”, “put on”) are cut into the strong gales, and the film becomes a messy display of emotion. This intended emotion is amplified by its surrounding paintwork. This mass of paint actually belongs to second year student Aidan Wallace, and the spontaneous decision to merge the two pieces worked unbelievably well.
Focusing on installation and performance action pieces, the audience is crucial to E’s practice. As an artist, she doesn’t shy away from doing things on a grand scale; despite its miniature display “脱, 穿” (Take off, Put on)” is a pretty big production. Her work ranges from a peephole activated from the inside, Op.Peeping.II, to a durational treadmill performance at Camden Arts Centre, in which the audience freely controlled the speed. In giving free rein to an audience, each piece becomes ‘alive’ and more about the individual’s emotion as opposed to the artist’s own. “The funny thing is that it’s like doing a test: anything can happen, and I only understand it when it’s complete.”