Julian Yi-Zhong Hou’s Country Balance

VI. Mantis, 2021, tiffany style stained-glass, 17.5 inches diameter

Review by Molly Cranston

In Country Balance, nine vivid discs are suspended from the ceiling at Zalucky Contemporary. Artist Julian Yi-Zhong Hou uses Tiffany-style glass, mirrors, jade, and quartz, soldering them into near-symmetrical compositions that reference symbols from ancient and contemporary Chinese culture. Hou blends Feng Shui and the Arts & Craft movement to create sensitive talismans that propose a spiritual practice – seeking meaning and goodwill through materials and images. 

The shape of each piece refers to Chinese coins, pentacles and talismans, markers of value and transaction. Hou inspects the dual-meaning of good fortune; “I. Coin begins the series by asking the viewer to consider the ways in which symbolic and fiscal value is assigned to certain cultural objects through recapitulated and eroded orientalist iconography.”

Spiritual and decorative, Hou’s stained-glass pieces are personal and centre the home. ‘Angel Wings’ consists of pieces of glass that were found or accidentally broken by Hou. In a gentle and loving gesture of mending and repurposing the shattered, Hou places a small round mirror (referencing bagua mirrors) at the centre of what could either be a time-warped triplet of dice, spotted wings or tropical leaves. A perfectly balanced protective amulet for the myriad of potential futures ahead. Country Balance is on view at Zalucky until Sept. 11th.

IV. Tree of Life, 2021, tiffany style stained-glass, 15.5 inches diameter

VII. Country Balance, 2021, tiffany style stained-glass, mirror glass, jade, shungite, labradorite, 17 inches diameter

VIII. Jade, 2021, tiffany style stained-glass, mirror glass, clear quartz, 17 inches diameter

Photography: Toni Hafkenscheid, all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Zalucky Contemporary