Ying Zhu

Washington, D.C., US

www.yingzhu.org

As a young adult, I moved from Beijing to the Midwest of the US. The novelty of this experience has intensified over the years as I become more conscious of the ongoing transformation of my perceptions. Living and working as a Chinese artist in the US is not as simple as neglecting an old culture and acquiring a new one; it is where two sets of ideas, qualities, and histories morph into one, creating the liminal state. This foreign but exhilarating terrain stimulates the searching nature of my work, and inspires me to negotiate with ideas that explore the confluence of cultures/identities.

The very root of my work is an understanding of the self in relation to the other and vice versa. This understanding of the self applies linguistically, spatially, and culturally. Novel environments permit us to become conscious of the acts we take for granted, such as speaking, walking or gesturing. These situations can cause an immediate shifting of gears, and we suddenly feel like foreigners in our own body. I also explore the idea of comfort by constructing referenced spaces of slightly altered proportions inhabited by familiar but distorted objects. These distortions, which encourage the viewer to experience their world anew, are similar to the emotional reactions of immigrants to their non-native country/culture. The feeling of being a foreigner is not limited to migration between countries, but applies to local and emotional geographies as well. My hope is that all would have a engaging experience within the kinesthetic spaces I create and leave somehow empowered to take ownership of one’s place, wherever it may be on the creative spectrum.

Ying Zhu, Watch your steps, installation view, 2013, cotton candy, floor tile, 63 x 37 x 12 ft. All the white tiles are raised 5 cm off the floor, viewers are invited to walk over the uneven floor and eat pieces of the cotton candy cloud.

Ying Zhu, Watch your steps, installation view, 2013, cotton candy, floor tile, 63 x 37 x 12 ft.
All the white tiles are raised 5 cm off the floor, viewers are invited to walk over the uneven floor and eat pieces of the cotton candy cloud.

Ying Zhu,  Grey China, China Grey, Installation view, 2013, photographs and thread, 18 x 42 x 16 in.  Two identical images of my hometown mirror each other on opposite gallery walls. Threads were used to trace the course of the yellow river in each photograph, then the end of the thread were tied in the middle.  

Ying Zhu,  Grey China, China Grey, Installation view, 2013, photographs and thread, 18 x 42 x 16 in. 

Two identical images of my hometown mirror each other on opposite gallery walls. Threads were used to trace the course of the yellow river in each photograph, then the end of the thread were tied in the middle.  

Ying Zhu, Till morning come, let’s tessellate, installation view, 2013, plasticine, paint, floor tile. 45 x 21 x 8 ft.

Ying Zhu, Till morning come, let’s tessellate, installation view, 2013, plasticine, paint, floor tile. 45 x 21 x 8 ft.

Ying Zhu, Till morning come, let’s tessellate, detail, 2013, plasticine, paint, floor tile. 45 x 21 x 8 ft.

Ying Zhu, Till morning come, let’s tessellate, detail, 2013, plasticine, paint, floor tile. 45 x 21 x 8 ft.

Ying Zhu, No Strings Attached, 2012, pine branch, thread, tack, 39 x 19 x 9,  Thread were wrapped onto the end of each pine needle, the pine branch is suspended in the center of the gallery by stretching the thread. 

Ying Zhu, No Strings Attached2012, pine branch, thread, tack, 39 x 19 x 9, 
Thread were wrapped onto the end of each pine needle, the pine branch is suspended in the center of the gallery by stretching the thread. 

Ying Zhu, No Strings Attached, detail, 2012, pine branch, thread, tack, 39 x 19 x 9,  As the branch dries, the needles start to fall off. 

Ying Zhu, No Strings Attached, detail, 2012, pine branch, thread, tack, 39 x 19 x 9, 
As the branch dries, the needles start to fall off. 

Ying Zhu, Viva Dan, Installation view, 2011, Eggshells, paper towel, oil clay, 56 x 41 x 19 ft. Gallery walls are covered with over 6500 paper-towel pillows measuring 10cm x 10cm. An "area-rug" made out of eggshell is in the center. A rocking chair covered in oil-clay is placed in front of the rug. 

Ying Zhu, Viva Dan, Installation view, 2011, Eggshells, paper towel, oil clay, 56 x 41 x 19 ft.
Gallery walls are covered with over 6500 paper-towel pillows measuring 10cm x 10cm. An "area-rug" made out of eggshell is in the center. A rocking chair covered in oil-clay is placed in front of the rug. 

Ying Zhu, Viva Dan, detail of eggshell rug, 2011, Eggshells, paper towel, oil clay, 56 x 41 x 19 ft. All the eggshell shards are facing one direction, because of the color difference on two sides of the shards, the patterns change from soft and blurry to vivid and sharp as viewers walk by the piece. 

Ying Zhu, Viva Dan, detail of eggshell rug, 2011, Eggshells, paper towel, oil clay, 56 x 41 x 19 ft.
All the eggshell shards are facing one direction, because of the color difference on two sides of the shards, the patterns change from soft and blurry to vivid and sharp as viewers walk by the piece. 

Ying Zhu, Every Cloud has a Silver Lining, detail, 2014, mirrors and fabric, 25 x 46 x 10 ft.  Gallery walls were covered with small mirrors measuring 1-2 inches.  Silver clouds made out of reflective fabric scatters around the center space.  The fragmented reflection reflection responds to light and movement in the space.

Ying Zhu, Every Cloud has a Silver Lining, detail, 2014, mirrors and fabric, 25 x 46 x 10 ft.  Gallery walls were covered with small mirrors measuring 1-2 inches.  Silver clouds made out of reflective fabric scatters around the center space.  The fragmented reflection reflection responds to light and movement in the space.

Ying Zhu, Every Cloud has a Silver Lining, detail, 2014, mirrors and fabric, 25 x 46 x 10 ft.

Ying Zhu, Every Cloud has a Silver Lining, detail, 2014, mirrors and fabric, 25 x 46 x 10 ft.