• Say Cheese - Zhang Moliu Solo Exhibition

    Artist: Zhang Moliu
    Opening: 2022.08.06 / 16:00 - 18:00
    Duration: 2022.08.06 - 09.09 / 10:00 - 18:00 Daily Open
    Venue: OFOTO&ANART, 2F, Bldg.13, 50 Moganshan Rd., Shanghai, China

    Say Cheese

    by Zhang Moliu

    The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him. The spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.

    - Excerpt from Guy Debord (FR) The Society of the Spectacle

    I used to look at the fashion magazine portraits in which the attractive stars and models wore gorgeous clothes and had pretty faces. They presented their bodies in front of the camera in an unnatural and unworldly posture. No matter how complex their thoughts and feelings were, their expressions, after some training, were reduced to a simple and recognizable pattern, either giddy, slightly sad, or seductive. I couldn't tell what was going on in their minds at that moment simply by what I saw in the photos. When the shutter clicks, the image in the camera splits out from their bodies. Later, the internet replaced the magazines, then one day, I suddenly realized that everyone on social media was posing like stars, or rather, everyone was presenting the same trained poses on camera.


    Nowadays, everyone is a performer almost all the time. Although I rarely “perform” on social media, I always feel pressured into performing in my daily life: security cameras are everywhere, and people around me take photos and videos with their cell phones anytime and anywhere, forcing me to play a law-abiding and socially acceptable person; meanwhile, I have to manage a decent and successful persona on social media, posting positive views and content from time to time; nowadays I don't even dare to use search engines thoroughly to understand the things I care about, because once the algorithm captures my preferences, it will keep pushing relevant ads for me so that eventually I will no longer have a secret. Once I get used to the split between the real and the performance, the acting me will consume my real personality. The camera kept nudging me into identifying with the new persona shaped in endless discipline, allowing this personality to feel and think instead of me. When our selves finally dissolve into an ever-lasting collective performance, what's next?


    Tnslated by Chen Dan