Vanishing Point by Aleza Zheng

29 Jun 2024 – 3 Aug 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Los Angeles
California, United States

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SOOT is pleased to present "Vanishing Point," the first solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based multi-disciplinary artist Aleza Zheng.


The site-specific installation presents two figures painted on organza, displayed one in front of the other. Zheng’s approach to figurative painting employs shadows to disorient and challenge traditional perceptions of painting and form.

The two conflicting figures depicted on the dual layers of silk reference Ares and Mars, gods of war in Greek and Roman mythology, respectively. Portraying these classical figures facing off on a chessboard evokes the "objective attitude" of linear perspective in Western art.

Zheng uses this composition to encourage the viewer to consider fixed viewpoints within the Western canon of painting and in our day-to-day perception. However, when viewed through the vertical perspective proposed by Hito Steyerl in her concept of "free fall," the interpretation shifts. Neither of the opposing parties knows that the ground they believe they are standing on is actually falling. Alternatively, because they are both falling at the same speed, they perceive themselves as standing on solid ground. The perspective is one of disorientation, groundlessness, and perpetual motion.

Zheng believes that within the complexities of globalization, our identities are greatly influenced by our environment. She emphasizes the importance of observing ourselves as spectators in an endless race and considering how we perceive and construct reality.

Distinguishing between what is real and what is mere illusion has become increasingly challenging due to advancements in technology. We are now living in a world where the influence of forces shaping collective consciousness in unreal spaces later manifests as phenomena in reality, a reversal from the pre-internet era.

The image on silk–reminiscent of silkscreens and the pop art movement–observes the spectacle of contemporary information, mass production and consumer society. As information and images disseminate, they degrade, progressively moving towards visual and semantic abstraction with each screenshot, edit, upload, and share. On various levels, we experience how the reception of this abstracted information, seemingly similar yet entirely distinct, influences reality through distortions.

The shadows cast by the figures prompt us to look at the conditions of manipulation, exploitation, and influence that are typically hidden behind appearances. Against the backdrop of a chessboard, the gods of war are mere players in an inconclusive game, reduced to shadows in the essence of our "real" world. The installation denies the role of any passive observer, whilst the spectator is contested.

As a witness to ethnic and national tensions, one must identify false distinctions and oppositions in the world. The installation not only raises the question of where we set our focus but prompts a continuous recognition of our position as individual actors within society.


Hiroko Maruyama

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Aleza Zheng


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