Conversations on Michael Zheng’s Exhibition “A Tree is a Tree” at 500 Capp Street, 2022

Hou Hanru, Michael Zheng


In this article, curator and critic Hou Hanru engages in a conversation with artist Michael Zheng about his exhibition titled “A Tree Is a Tree”. The discussion revolves around topics such as perception, conceptual art, and the influence of Buddhism on Zheng’s practice of contemporary art, particularly site-specific installations. Zheng describes his residency at The David Ireland House, explaining how it leads to a deep observation of ordinary details and helps develop ideas for the exhibition. Drawing from a Buddhist saying, Zheng explores the concept of direct experience versus intellectualization and discusses his approach to conceptual art influenced by Buddhism. In his artistic process, he highlights the significance of ordinary daily occurrences and unassuming elements, such as cracks in walls. Examples of his works, including an installation with a window blind and a photograph of a wall pasted back onto the same area, are discussed, revealing his interest in illusions and the mechanisms of perception.

Key Words

Direct experience, perception, conceptual art, site-specific installation, Buddhism

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