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Photography (MA)

Ziyun Cheng

Ziyun Cheng (b.1998, Changsha, China) is a visual artist currently based in London.

For her photography is not just a record but a relation to herself. Her work explores the connection between material, memory and intimacy. She has repeatedly withdrawn from memory and emotion, eager to find emotional support and sustenance through media expression.


2021 - 2023

Photography, MA, Royal College of Art, London, UK

2016 - 2020

Photography, BFA, Beijing Film Academy, China


"Home is our original universe"

A wounded soul seems to end up wrapped

in a hardened shell.

And then eventually we all end up being

what someone else wants to be.

Living as someone else wants to be.

Pretending to be.

Photos are the carrier of memory and imagination. When we look at photos, the re-experienced emotions and memories emerge in our minds. Thanks to photography, our memories and emotions are settled and orderly. It's like seeing the photos in my childhood, which evokes the memory deep in my heart, and even produces emotions beyond the memory itself. Familiar residences, familiar people, and familiar moments make people feel very safe, or maybe like Roland Barthes' "punctum" is suddenly touched. We can't be sure whether the memory really existed, but when we are touched, when the memory becomes concrete pictures or words, it seems to have existed, because we are always living under the influence of the memory.

Two large hollow spheres of white wool with colored film in the Spaces
Two large hollow spheres of white wool with colored film in the Spaces

We soothe ourselves by re-experiencing protected memories - "The Poetics of Space"

I tried to describe how I feel about home. For me, home seems to be wrapped and soft, but since I left home, it seems that I can't go back, as if there is a barrier. Maybe like a silkworm cocoons, wrapping itself in soft silk and tearing it apart, and then allowing itself to be reborn. It can't go back, it's soft, but you can't say it's useless. Whenever I look through the photos of my childhood, I always have mixed emotions. I think the photos are cute, but also feel a little sad. I tried making an empty ball of yarn that seemed to have a hard yet soft shell. I combined the photos from my childhood with the ball of yarn, it looks like my feeling about the house, I grow wantonly in this space full of memories.


sculpture, cotton rope, oce Clear Film 110 mic



As time went on and I grew older I had long since outgrown the need for the things my grandmother made for me by hand. The more time I spent away from home the more I began to miss that pure love. During this time I went back to my grandmother to learn to knit from her and we worked together on this blue blanket, trying to feel the love she had given me as a child as we knitted. The skin lines on her hands are the marks of age, and her repetitive movements touch my heart. I made a short video of this knitting process and the action of knitting the jumper was magnified, as was the texture of my grandmother's skin, which seemed to make me feel a little sadness in her love. This made me understand more and more the meaning of home.


video film, 02'27''


size variable
There is a video of dragging the blanket on the blue woolen blanket


wool blanket, video film, 02'19''


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It's like finding a pivot in the real world.

"Ceramics" can sometimes retain a moment like photography,

Maybe like documentary photography,

Searching and capturing like a camera lens,

Find a place to connect with yourself,

Eliminate inner loneliness by finding a pivot.

The process of the clay from soft to hard

in the hands records the process of my emotions,

It transforms invisible emotions into form,

It became a combination of my emotions.

Three ceramic transfer photos and eight small ceramic exhibition renderings
Small ceramics on the display shelf
Three ceramic detail photos




The film is covered with clear wax

Even the most vivid memories are sealed away with time, and when we look back again at the memories ignited in our hearts, it always seems to be separated by something, and eventually only a blank space remains.


film, gel wax