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Photography (MA)

Zihan Zhou

Zihan Zhou (b.2000) is an art creator from China, studying and living in Beijing and London. She studied fine arts and art history at RUC (Renmin University of China) as undergraduate, and began to create with images as the main medium.

Zhou focuses on the exploration of body and self in her creative process. Based on her interest in ancient cultures and worldviews, she often draws inspiration from images in art history, occultism and religions. She regards art as an alchemy and life as a ritual. Time and space are redefined in her concept, allowing people to glimpse the present and themselves through images.

Her works mostly combine the images and various media, such as installations and performances, and she is good at extending images to different senses.

screenshot of dance video

Human Dance is looking for a way for human beings to perceive the world. 

Zhou believes that the cognition of the external world is achieved by the human spiritual world, not limited to the guidance of a certain religion or science. This project is inspired by collective dance in prehistoric times. Zhou believes that the collective unconscious language is not rooted in any cultural context, but is internalized into the spirit through the body, like a daily sacrificial ritual. 

People are in such a ritual today, just like our ancestors, exploring the huge unknown. But the rapid development of technology and modern language make people think they are detached. The world has evolved from an egg-shaped chaotic body to all the things. Everything is a story or fantasy told by human beings. The world may still be chaos.

Zhou combines the computer technology with the dance of the primitive period, produces computer images and cooperates with dance performances, forming a specific language in the overall work, and cognition of the world through the path from body to spirit. Through this, the echoes of ancient and new, the contrast between human and man-made, she created a ritual to question the limited cognition.

exhibition of the installations
Human Dance,installation by mixed material(digital print on papers and clear films,led light strips,wood frames),90x126x15cm each
details of the installations

Dance is the main component of all religious ceremonies. It is the common language before various languages in the world. The collective understands the world and communicates emotions in this way.

Drawing elements from ancient murals and tribal dances, Zhou used 3D modelling to produce a series of movements of the original dance and synthesized them into a pattern. The outline is in the shape of a cosmic egg (it is regarded as the origin of the world by many cultures), the computer code that generates this pattern is engraved with a knife on the periphery. In short, the image part is done by the modern world language - the computer. The light box is made by superimposing the print on the lower layer of opaque paper and the upper layer of transparent print adds a projection effect to the image, like a shadow suspended in the air.

round images as part of the performance
Zhou made 3D production of individual dance movements, rotated and layered them to compose these images. The figurative body was transformed into abstract graphics, like mysterious symbols and ancient languages. These symbols will surround the ritual as part of the performance.
screenshot of the following video
Launch Project
Test performance There will be formal performances in the RCA on site show in Battersea. (Woo building floor 3, performed daily at 14:00 and 16:00). If you missed it, you can watch the video on Instagram.

For another part, Zhou will echo it with an impromptu dance performance in the exhibition. Hold the candle in both hands, stand on feet, and use hands as the main power. This dance deduces the origin and cycle of life, and at the same time completes the universal ritual, that is, human beings are always pursuing the ever-changing and eternal external world.

The two parts of the installation and the performance echo and contrast, explaining and questioning each other.

China Scholarship Council