Interview: Zhuo Yu
Luca Curci talks with Zhuo Yu during Venice International Art Fair 2020 at The Room Contemporary Art Gallery
Yu Zhuo was born in 1990. He was interested in photography under his father’s influence. The teenage racing experience influenced later artistic creation. In 2008, he officially entered the arts, studying visual arts at the Macau Polytechnic Institute, and experimenting with photography-related creations. After graduating, Yu zhuo chose to study photography in France. The expansion of his horizons and the renewal of his ideas have transformed his work. As a young photographer, he injected enormous energy, which comes from his fear and stress, into seemingly quiet and dark images. The seemingly distant sceneries in the works of Yu Zhuo radiate an air of serenity and powerfulness, which have the strong effect to skip the routine encounter and comprehension between the oeuvres and the audience, and bring directly to people a wave of thoughts and sentiments. Those far-reaching, solemn and mysterious sceneries have a calming effect, yet are somewhat unsettling at the same time. There seems to be a tacit understanding, a mutual awareness between Yu Zhuo and the night. The gaze at the night derives from Yu’s deep attachment to it. For him, the night is like an abyss, mysterious and distant, and Yu appreciates these features of the night just as those who prefer the daytime are in love with its brightness. Hegel once said, “The human being is this night, this empty nothing, that contains everything in its simplicity.” In this discourse, he compares the human being to the night, to this nothingness which can be either strongly- resistant or fragile. By staring at the night, we find that these two characteristics coexist. For the artist, this strong resistance has always been there. He was once walking back and forth at the edge of the critical point, trapped in the dilemma, yet he gradually found his own way out. At this moment, the human being has become the recipient of the night and begin to be immersed in it. However, this feeling of finding the shelter is addictive. When people have found their spiritual sustenance, what often happens is that they indulge in it and forget what its nature. If one day, the night is not willing to shelter, where are we going to place our spiritual sustenance? Imagine that one day, all of a sudden, we stop at where we are and wander around, the objects to which that we have given meaning become nothing. This is the resolution of meaning. It is not cutting off the road ahead of us, but stopping us from falling in the mud, which helps us to clearly understand the night.
Because the shelter is far away from the central theme of survival.
Luca Curci: What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Zhuo Yu: I come from Guangdong, China, and the city I grew up is a coastal special economic zone. The most influential experience in my work comes from pressure. This emotion is mostly negative, such as restlessness, tension, and imbalance. When this emotion reaches a certain level, it will inspire a powerful and invisible force to fight against it and dissipate into the invisible in a moment. As Schrödinger said, “Life feeds on negative entropy”. We are constantly fighting against increasing entropy, just as we face new challenges in life, no matter what it is. I use photography as a medium to convey and share this state. I hope that through my work, the viewer can capture this potential emotion.
LC: Which subject are you working on?
ZY: Recent works focus on expressing some emotions like pressure. And the night series.
LC: Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
ZY: Modernization forgets people’s rational spirit and ability to reflect. However, even in a modern society with a sophisticated division of labor and a seemingly all-encompassing knowledge structure, people still feel that there is still something that cannot be included in any existing field. The artist is a lone person who has a strong desire to explore this kind of thing and put it into action.
This is especially true in the context of contemporary art. In all political, economic, scientific, and technological activities, creation is abnormal and distorted due to various restrictions, regulations, and profit calculations in the real world. Create without interruption in a state of no interest and no purpose and produce originality, so that the new spirit of mankind can obtain an experimental base that can be supported.
LC: What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
ZY: Dealing with the relationship between creation and survival.
LC: Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
ZY: Conceptual photography.
LC: What do you think about the concept of this festival? In which way did it inspire you?
ZY: I think borders are a very interesting concept. It made me rethink the relationship between people and cities. It was created by people, and at the same time under their influence, in a state of being constantly broken and redefined. It reminds me that you can’t really define the boundary of the sea, because the tide will make the waves constantly undulate.
LC: Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
ZY: Sure, I do agree with your vision of art. I think the festival theme itself further enhances the possibility of bringing this vision to the light.
LC: Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
ZY: Yes, I would certainly recommend it. As far as I know, ITSLIQUID GROUP provides artists with a full range of services such as marketing, academic paper writing, work evaluation and so on.
LC: Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
LC: What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
ZY: I think that as a communication platform, it can provide artists with good services and many opportunities giving artists from different countries the opportunity to exhibit their works.