The Diary of Destroying a Map. Ran Zhou
Z GALLERY ARTS @ PARIS CONTEMPORARY ART SHOW.
by YIA_Young International Art Fair
OCT 18-21, 2018
The Diary of Destroying a Map | Ran Zhou
Hold your gaze on your own time, firmly.
If you see the time, what do you actually see?
Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben writes that “The contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light but rather its darkness. All eras, for those who experience contemporariness, are obscure.” Ran Zhou’s exhibition The Diary of Destroying a Map pries into her attempt to see this obscurity of the present through the gap between two incomplete cultures, histories and self-resistance.
Beginning from the neurophysiology of vision, we find ourselves in a place deprived of light or when we close our eyes, we see “darkness.” Neurophysiologists tell us that the absence of light activates a series of peripheral cells in the retina called “off-cells.” When activated, these cells produce the particular kind of vision that we call darkness. Darkness is not, therefore, the simple absence of light, or nonvision, but instead, the result of our own retina. In this way, for the darkness of contemporariness, that to perceive this darkness is not a form of inertia or of passivity. Rather, it implies an activity and a singular ability. This ability amounts to a neutralization of the lights that come from the epoch in order to discover its obscurity, its special darkness, which is actually not separable from the lights.
As one of those who do not allow themselves to be blinded by the lights of the mainstream, Ran Zhou integrates her thoughts of darkness into her art to get a glimpse of the shadows in the lights, of the intimate obscurity. A diary is an unfathomable book of a life never lived, the temporal order of events. It feeds off time and yet it also withdraws from it, opening it up to a life never lived. The exhibition title, The Diary of Destroying a Map, which is the same title of a featured installation in the exhibition, highlights the position of the artist and her artwork, which blurs the boundary between past and present, individual and collective. Starting from narrating the existence of culture shock, rethinking the darkness of mainstream recognition, Ran’s art points to many Chinese social topics and city memories, which comes from her strong awareness struggling between Eastern and Western culture. Getting rid of the country-specific restriction and traditional concept, Ran’s art creates a subtle space located at crevices between the concept of contemporariness of culture and individual awareness within the vortex of globalization.
Ran Zhou is a visual artist based in Vancouver British Columbia, originally from China. For her who went through the Chinese education system, art is the way to avoid being swallowed in the apparatus of state and have her own voice being heard. Through recent years, her practice has shifted from drawing and painting to more experimental pieces of installation, videos, and performance. Ran is pursuing her double honours BFA degree of Visual Arts and Art History at the University of British Columbia.
作为一个不让自己被主流的灯光所蒙蔽的人，周然将自己对黑暗的思考融入作品之中，以此窥探光背后的影，以及隐秘的晦暗。日记是一本深不可测的书，它记录着一处从未有过的生活，以及不同事件的时间顺序。它滋养着时间，却又从时间中抽离出来，开启了一个从未存在过的生命。展览名称《一则破坏地图的日记》（A Diary of Destroying a Map），同时也是其中一展出的装置作品名称，它点明了艺术家与其创作所处的位置，模糊了过去与现在、个人与集体之间的界限。从记述文化冲击的存在，反思主流认同的暗面开始，周然的作品指向了许多具有中国特色的社会话题与其所独有的城市记忆，而此番表达也源于她身处东西方文化之间所具有的强烈的自我意识挣扎。摆脱了国界的特定限制和传统观念，周然的作品创造了一个在全球化的漩涡中、介于文化当代性与个体意识之间的微妙空间。周然是一位来自中国的视觉艺术家，现于加拿大英属哥伦比亚大学(UBC)攻读视觉艺术和艺术史双荣誉学位。近年来，她的实践已从平面绘画转向更多元化的装置、电子与行为艺术的实验性作品。