Spotlight

Feature Artist Stella Zhong

Championed by Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt
The Wick - PLOT (Installation View), 2022. Courtesy the Artist, Fanta-MLN, Milan, Chapter NY, New York.
Above  PLOT (Installation View), 2022. Courtesy the Artist, Fanta-MLN, Milan, Chapter NY, New York.
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The Wick - Feature Artist Stella Zhong
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Interview
Stella Zhong & Michèle Ruo Yi
14 September 2023
Interview
Stella Zhong & Michèle Ruo Yi
14 September 2023
Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt is the director of Asymmetry Art Foundation, a London-based non-profit that’s dedicated to nurturing curatorial practice and disseminating knowledge about Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art.

She first met artist Stella Zhong at a drinks reception Asymmetry organised to connect curators, artists, writers and friends of the Foundation in New York earlier this year. They have since connected around the world and over art.

Chinese born Stella Zhong’s sculptures and videos hinge on prepositions. She works with zest from her Brooklyn based studio to create her visionary installations. Each one provokes both senses of intimacy as well as alienation often playing with our view of how we hold space. Her large-scale forms – made with materials such as painted wood, plaster or foam) are combined with small scale material subjects such as string, grains of sand or lumps of clay. This means very often the viewer is surprised with new elements as they explore the work.
In some works, Zhong threads little pieces of paper—what she calls “codes”—for example PLOT 8-4-2 along strings held taut by other small elements in the sculptures. Ultimately all her sculptures encourage the viewer to question scale, nature and technology.

Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt says: “I’d already followed Stella’s practice but sometimes connecting with an artist personally does enrich the understanding of their work with an echo that carries it further. Stella’s large-scale installations and videos seem detached from time and space yet offer humorous food for thought on themes such as resilience and resistance found in the small and mundane.

“At this year’s Art Basel in June, her work Rare Tilt, a sculptural-video installation, was shown at the fair’s Statements section. Referencing her interest in physics, the work tenderly balances notions of disorientation and meticulous precision, resulting in an odd and tender push and pull of feelings. Weeks later, in a café in the 798 art district in Beijing, I looked up and caught Stella’s eyes looking back at me in surprise and with a gentle question: ‘Shall we go see some art together?’.”

Physics, food, architecture, geometry, seemingly inanimate things and unsolved mysteries converge into the metaphysical worlds of Stella’s work.

She adds: “Simultaneously alienating and intimate, my radically scaled work refracts my personal lens of global shifts and entanglements and anchors in tactile yet barely visible connections – a taut string, a faint dot: I look for moments of strength in smallness.”

In addition to working towards exhibitions that will be held in Athens, Shanghai and Naples, Stella’s work is currently on display at Chapter NY in New York until October 21, 2023.

For Frieze London 2023, Asymmetry is also launching a new initiative, Asymmetry Rituals. The one-day experience, which will be taking place on Friday 13 October, will be divided into two parts – Day Rituals, a public programme that will include a panel discussion and presentations by the Asymmetry Fellows, and Night Rituals, an exclusive event including electronic dance music, experimental art and performance. For further information, check out asymmetryart.org or @asymmetryartorg on Instagram.

About the champion

The Wick - Feature Artist Stella Zhong

Since joining Asymmetry Art Foundation ahead of its launch in 2020, director Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt has developed partnerships with some of London’s leading arts institutions including Chisenhale Gallery and Goldsmiths, University of London. She regularly leads panel discussions at Asymmetry’s East London HQ and has also co-hosted its public lecture series with The Courtauld Institute of Art, aimed at furthering and diversifying knowledge of Chinese and Sinophone contemporary art.

“Stella’s large-scale installations and videos seem detached from time and space yet offer humorous food for thought.”

Place of Birth

Shenzhen, China

Education

An MFA in Sculpture from Yale University and a BFA in Glass from Rhode Island School of Design

Current exhibitions

Solo exhibition at Chapter NY, New York until October 21

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Hamsters


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