Wanyu Ren(b. 2000) is an artist based in London and China. She graduated with a BA in Environmental Design at Beijing Normal University of Zhuhai and was awarded the 2022 Outstanding Graduate Design. She has won a merit award at the 2021 Hiii Illustration and a merit award book category at the 2020 iJungle Illustration Awards. During her time at the Royal College of Art, she exhibited her window series artwork at Bargehouse Gallery and Southwark Park Gallery in London.
Nature leads me in meditation practices again and again. River, branches, light... each change it undergoes feels like a breath to me. It constantly transforms, without pause, quickly or slowly, forming its unique rhythm.
Wanyu Ren’s practice is based on her observation and exploration of the essence of natural change.
As an interdisciplinary practicing artist with a background in environmental design, she is influenced by Zen Buddhist philosophy and spatial narrative studies. Her practice revolves around observing the change in nature and the neglected traces in daily life. Through printmaking, painting, and photography, she documents her meditative experiences derived from these visual events as a process of awareness of the intrinsic essence of natural change and reconnecting with her inner self.
Wanyu's recent works show her contemplation and depiction of the transient nature of existence. Her artistic approach is extracting imagery from videos and combining different printmaking techniques to obtain a series of visual data portraying the changing state. Her artworks aim to evoke awareness of the present moment through tranquility and subtlety. She intentionally diminishes the causality behind the changes, concealing it within seemingly accidental traces that emerge in her works, existing solely as part of the changing state, thus emphasizing the essence of change.
The river's waves as a musical staff,
The shimmering light spots as a note,
Together, they create an eternal symphony, flowing and free.
There is neither the past,
Nor the future,
Everything is the essence and present.
This work is based on a 1-minute video of the flowing river to create an attempt to contemplate the essence of natural change. For me, the entire creative process is a meditation and a re-description of the river's ephemeral and ever-changing mobility. This one minute is extended infinitely, magnified, I repeatedly put myself in the change and record my feeling. Gradually, I cease to ponder the reasons behind each change, shifting my focus to the change itself.
I divided the original video into 60 frames, each of which represented a musical bar on the sheet. I intuitively play the piano keys to mark the corresponding notes on each image. Subsequently, I looped the video sound from that particular frame, drawing on the images to capture the psychological and auditory impressions by referencing the symbols in the musical score. Through this process, I created a visualized sheet. After, I collaborated with a musician who took the visualized score I provided and expertly transcribed it into a tangible musical score. It was unexpected to see how closely the generated melody matched the rhythm of the ambient music in the original footage.
Medium:Video; Etching; Digital print
This work is based on my observing the virtual image reflected on the other side of the window, I try to explore the connection between the 'unnatural' landscape under ecological colonization and the 'unreal' virtual image reflected by the window.
By recording the trees that evade urban architecture and exist only as a landscape in the window's reflection, I attempt to depict a liberated state for the plants in ecological colonization, despite this state originating from virtual images and being susceptible to the destruction of time.
Medium:Photolithography; Engraved acrylic plate
Blue house opposite
As my gaze met the enchanting reflections beyond the window's glass,
I was captivated by the allure of this ethereal spectacle.
A beauty so unreal, yet so profoundly captivating,
It beckoned me to seize its fleeting essence.
With each passing moment, I became aware of the transient nature,
The delicate balance between existence and disappearance.
A vivid, yet surreal, blue-hued realm emerged before my eyes,
A testament to the elusive nature of the truth I sought to capture.
These constructed reflections, fragile and fleeting,
Became a small spaciousness in my heart.
This artwork employs the aquatint technique in etching to record my observation of the reflection of one of the windows on Milman Street, allowing me to become aware of the surrounding environment's transformations. By collecting fragmented reflections from different moments on this window, I attempted to reconstruct the scene across from it. However, upon completing this process, the landscape depicted in the artwork differed greatly from the actual world I saw. I created a real yet unreal blue world. But two months after completing this piece, the trees outside the window were cut down, and I am grateful that I captured those unreal yet captivating scenes.
When I pass a window
I picked a window close to the Milman's Street landmark sign as my anchor point, recording my trace by the changes on the window. The publication is a flip book that acts as an archive for the Window series.