Leah Ke Yi Zheng

Feb 24 - April 13, 2024
Mendes Wood DM, Brussels

Full documentation.      Mendeswooddm.com 
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    Leah Ke Yi Zheng asked me to write something for her exhibition, maybe because we’ve known each other for some time and we have an uncommon rapport, but knowing her work and describing it seems like a fool’s errand and she knows it. That said, I’ve always been impressed with the thoughtfulness, restraint, and seemingly paradoxical indulgence of Leah’s work. As an artist, she’s adopted much from eastern and western traditions, primarily through an understanding of how to create a situation that can lead to an epiphany; whether that’s from the architecture of Zen gardens or the situation of land art - the kind of artworks that are meant to be walked as well as viewed and experienced over an extended period of time and that seem to constantly change.

    It’s easy to be drawn into Leah’s work by its visual abundance and the way it connects to complex ways of seeing and how we consider our place in the world. But to enter this thicket, it’s necessary to begin somewhere, with an element, a piece of the whole that then begins an irregular and circuitous path forward where a viewer must first focus on the immediate situation of her work before arriving at a place where perceptions open up and the possibilities of the nature of the experience come forward. Leah’s work is not logical, it plays with and subverts our expectations. Her work asks a viewer to follow her into the moment where we let go of the desire to make sense, and in the process reveals a deeper understanding of being present. This may be most evident in the division inherent in this exhibition between the two sides of the gallery, one bathed in light and color and the other darker with an emphasis on value and definition. Both expressions retain their own character and integrity but as we walk the exhibition the differences close through the flow of her work and we feel it as much as we see it. 

— Gaylen Gerber