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Visual Communication (MA)

Ziyu(Zoe) Ni

Zoe Ni (2001) is an interdisciplinary artist based in the UK and China. She is currently an MA Visual Communication student at RCA, having completed her BA in Design for Art Direction at London College of Communication. Her work has been exhibited at Art Capital in Paris (15 February 2023 - 19 February 2023). In the past, she has explored various art forms, including performance, installation, and moving image. In her MA studies, she continuously challenges herself to break down the boundaries between different disciplines and aims to find a harmonious relationship between time and space, and between people and installation.

artist portrait

My practice integrates an exploration of human behaviours informed by typologies of the socio-political organisation of everyday life.

I typically begin by examining an unobtrusive phenomenon, which I analyse and study in detail. For me, research is the foundation of any project, and form serves as the visual representation of that research. I frequently draw connections between my research and philosophical ideas, revealing my appreciation for the fundamental essence and underlying logic of the world.

Project Description

On Hold is a multimedia artwork that explores the relationship between people and objects through sculptures, performance videos and archive booklets. The artist considers the unidirectional subject-object relationship between humans and objects by starting with the act of intentional disregard for objects, and through this project she explores how this act breaks the unidirectional relationship between humans and objects.

The artist invites participants, including the artist herself, who ignore object intentionally to voluntarily relinquish the functions and intentions they have imposed on these objects, by dismantling them. 

After the deconstruction phase is complete, the artist collects all the object fragments from participants and breaks all the pieces down again into particles smaller than 1 cubic centimetre. Finally, using gelatine as a medium, four cubes were reconstructed using particles corresponding to each participant's destroyed objects. In this process, the artist attempts to restore the object fragments to their elemental state without the functions and intentions attached to them by human will.

The upper surfaces of two of the four cubes are covered with what appears to be a dusty substance. This is in fact the powder of the participants' object fragments. In the structure of these two cubes, the process of re-decomposition from particles to dust is shown, thus emphasising that the final form of the object's degradation is its return to nature. The cyclical degradation of the object is also reflected in the nature of the sculpture itself. The form of the cube changes over time; from crystal clear jelly-like, to partially softened and, to finally hardened after most of the moisture has evaporated, and eventually mouldy. When these small fragments are reconstructed into a cube, the viewer should get an impression of the holism of fragments as opposed to the scattered and broken fine particles. The viewer will also observe its different forms at different times, this re-emphasises the process of degradation.

In the final presentation of the work, in addition to the display of the four cubes, the artist also shows the full process of deconstruction of the objects by the four participants in real time and the 'On Hold Archive' which documents all the objects and their relationship to their owners. Together with the sculptures, these three media show the objects in their full form, in the process of deconstruction and in their finished states of disintegration and re-decomposition. Through the presentation of the three states, the artist hopes to provide a different perspective of the objects and to create a new perception of the relationship between people and objects.

On Hold | Exhibition Simulation | 2023
On Hold | Sculpture Display | 2023
On Hold | Sculpture Display | 2023
On Hold | 000 Sculpture Day 7 | 001 Sculpture Day 6 |  Mouldy Surface | 2023
On Hold | 000 Sculpture Day 7 | 001 Sculpture Day 6 | Mouldy Surface | 2023
On Hold Archive | 000
On Hold Archive | 001
On Hold Archive | 002
On Hold Archive | 003