Artist name: Yuge Zhou
Featured Work 1: Soft Plots
Through her video and installation works, Yuge Zhou provides her audience with an opportunity to reimagine human relationships to various environments by presenting them in familiar but transformed dimensions and formats. By fluidly altering the scale, textures and solidity of scenes and individuals, she invites viewers to reconsider their understanding of permanence, movement and identity within a community. As she said in a recent Huffington Post interview,
I am deeply intrigued by the history and distinctive characteristics of American urban cities, and the collective idealism, attitude and pace of the lives of their inhabitants.
Other Featured Works:
Zhou explains on Vimeo that this work featuring Central Park in NYC “encapsulates an optimism that is central to American life.”
5 Questions for the Artist:
1. What is art to you?
Art, to me, is a visual diary. It comes from a very personal place. Art can also address the universal human condition, and I use art to search for something that binds all of us, something that is at our core as social creatures in built environments. I also believe art should be accessible. The media that I’m working in—video art— is a very accessible medium and, like television and YouTube and cinema, it’s familiar and inviting. Video is light and color and movement, it expresses our lives and it’s a medium of our time. When I see audiences respond to my work in some way, it’s a profound and gratified feeling to have that connection with the viewership. Especially during this challenging time, I hope to create work as a positive reminder that we can coexist. Because we need that right now. Art has the power to be inclusive.
2. What did you make in the past and why?
I started by creating paper collages that explored design and abstract patterns by drawing inspiration from my surroundings. At the same time, I photographed daily rituals embedded in micro-narratives and architectural elements. About four years ago, I moved to video art because I wanted to explore the concept of time in relation to space within the context of my work. While keeping my focus on the urban environment and experience, I expanded my vision of what a city is from the formal qualities of its architecture to the actions of its people—the collective tapestry of its citizenry.
3. What are you making now and why?
My artwork is comprised of video collages and sculptural video installations that portray characteristics of urban life and explore the complex interactions between humans and their environment. I use my camera to document ritualistic moments of urban life and rearrange and assemble these documentations into a collaged cityscape. Most of all, my work comes out of the scenes that play out by chance in front of my camera. When these scenes aggregate, a rhythm emerges, an essential rhythm that in some way defines a place.
My video installation itself uses techniques like wall relief and projection mapping to enhance these framed glimpses as well as emphasize the physicality of digital video. This approach is inspired by the concept of architectural relief (a technique where the sculpted elements remain attached but raised above the background plane). Audiences experience a gradual shift in the appearance and depth of the installation from a flat image to a three-dimensional view with protruding geometric shapes.
4. What are your hopes for the future?
My next plan is to widen the scope of my videos by travelling to small towns and rural corners—maybe always by train—to create work that inhabits many corners of the country (this seems to be a direction that is more political at this time because of its statement of community and oneness). And, I also want to keep exploring how the moving image can be experienced and how to work with certain concepts of moving images that don’t rely on the flatness of the screen.
5. What else would you like to say?
Nowadays, art is a very fluid practice. A lot of artists are not defined by a single medium or one identity. The important thing is to find the most appropriate media to express an idea, and I hope to keep expanding my media and reach. It’s a very exciting time to be an artist and a citizen of the world.
Artist Supplied Background:
Yuge Zhou is a Chinese born, Chicago-based artist whose video and installation works portray ‘urban dispositions’ and explore the complex interactions between humans and their environment. Zhou earned her Master of Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a masters degree in Computer Engineering from Syracuse University. Zhou has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including SIGGRAPH Asia in Kobe, Japan; Elmhurst Art Museum; York Art Gallery in UK; Chicago Cultural Center; SEA 2016 in Hong Kong; Chicago Design Museum; Santa Fe New Media Festival at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe among many others.
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