Why 23-Year-Old Artist Ran Zhou Began Buying Thousands of Plastic Dolls Online to Make a Disquieting New Series
Though it may be hard to imagine an artist needing a change in direction at just 23 years old, Chinese-born multimedia artist Ran Zhou says this was very much the case when she came to Brooklyn earlier this fall to take part the Carroll Gardens-based artist residency Residency Unlimited.
Until recently, the peripatetic young artist—who was born in China and recently graduated from the University of British Columbia—had been meticulously exploring urban development, migration flow, and education systems through a rigorous and complex mapping system. These works were shown last year in her exhibition “The Diary of Destroying a Map” at Vancouver’s Z Gallery Arts, her representing gallery.
Now, in what appears to be a 180-degree turn, Zhou is building installations with thousands of plastic dolls she’s purchased from wholesale factories in China.
We recently visited Zhou at her current Brooklyn studio to talk about her recent change in trajectory, why she’s using plastic dolls, and what we can expect to see in “Reclamation,” her upcoming group show at Brooklyn’s Compère Collective.