May 25 - June 29, 2005
galerie jerome de noirmont

exhibition release

MAY 25 – JUNE 29, 2005

As much as a dream is the game of man as an individual with reality, the art of an artist is a game with a dream.
Friedrich Nietzsche

For her second exhibition at the gallery, Yi Zhou transports us to a oniric, futuristic universe composed of imaginary architectures, of shapes designed in 3D and of three-dimensional drawings… This exhibition constitutes a new step in the avant-garde work of the young Chinese-Italian artist, that currently combines video, photography, drawing, painting, sculpture and installation art in order to approach new themes.

The myth of transformation, the fragmentation of the world that surrounds us, childhood, loss, solitude, the alter-ego… By playing with her dreams, its within these many diverse subjects that Yi Zhou transfers into an idealized world, as many concepts that she joins in creating an environment specific to this exhibition, contrasting black and white. Once he has crossed the threshold of the gallery, the visitor will be submerged in a universe decomposed in four spaces: The Daphne Room, The Red Thin Line Room, The Latex Room and The Drawing Room.


As much a reference to the legend of Apollo and Daphne in Greek mythology, this space particularly evokes the myth of transformation, manifested through 5 sculptures fabricated in aluminium, rigid but light metal, and 2 videos presented on two white plasma screens.

Turning the first time towards sculpture, Yi Zhou stays faithful to her virtual creative process that remains the basis of her work. In this manner, she first shapes in 3D the drawings and forms that she created, before giving them form through sculpture, her imaginary world becoming thus reality… Made of aluminium leaves painted white, these sculptures have a very flat aspect, with polygonal facets that give the illusion of volume in relief, and explicitly illustrate the metamorphosis of Daphne in laurel, like cut-up paper.

Structured within these same sculptures, the artist presents us with two 3D videos, face to face, Oneofthesedays and Aboutseana, only a few minutes long each and looped. Their creation is technically very complex and was made in collaboration with the company Artefactory, a specialist in 3D modelling for the most celebrated international architects.

Oneofthesedays plunges us into an urban space replete with futuristic architecture, within which spout electric sparkles coming from large power cables that traverse the city. All at once, the buildings decompose and bits of facades rain down in shards throughout the streets. The only human in this surreal environment is a character totally dressed in black and trying to escape… This video is a direct allusion to the decomposition and to the fragmentation of our world that is continually evolving, that makes us lose our orientation. It illustrates as much the idea of abandon, like a child who panics at the idea of finding itself alone, believing it has lost its parents, with the impression that the world is crashing all around it.

Like an echo to Oneofthesedays, the video Aboutseana shows a little nine-year old girl, whose 3D silhouette created from a three-dimensional scan provokes us as if it were a sculpture. Symbolizing the alter ego of the artist, the little girl decomposes slowly into petals before dissolving into emptiness… Remembering in a confused manner her childhood passage from China to Italy, Yi Zhou reminds us how much childhood memories condition our adult life, even if these childhood emotions are often subconscious. Every childhood loss leaves a scar and can resurface a feeling of loss throughout adulthood; this is what the artist shows us in attributing to the child an emotional charge as intense as that of an adult.

Unreality, timelessness, loneliness… Yi Zhou emphasizes these essential notions in conceiving these two videos and all of the Daphne Room like a universe where white dominates.


A white atmosphere prevails as well in this other space, where the artist chooses to present a single large work, combining video, sculpture and installation: the Red Thin Line Sculpture. A large red thread traverses the white room, goes up and down along the walls, winding along the ceiling, following its random movement into a video projection mural… The sculpture appears as though suspended in space, like a three-dimensional drawing.

A fragile work, the Red Thin Line Sculpture is a direct allusion to childhood, to a game children sometimes play to pass their time with a woollen string they undo with their fingers. This string that Yi Zhou draws, red here, black or white elsewhere, is the link that reconnects childhood to each individual identity. Like an oscillogram of a voice or a spider’s web, it is also the link between the diverse themes and formats the artist approaches in her work.


As the traveller needs to rest after an immersion in a strange land to regain consciousness after this new experience, after having been impregnated with the onirism of Yi Zhou through her videos and her sculptures-installations, the visitor returns to the concrete in the second part of the exhibition, where he is confronted with different works in different “classical” formats (photography, drawing and painting), far darker than those proceeding and only slightly colored.

Pasted on aluminium, the color prints exhibited are those created in parallel (and not as video stills) of the videos Oneofthesedays and Blackfruits, another new creation of Yi Zhou, that evolves a young woman in a black 3D universe, a sort of gigantic still life, a network full of threads and giant fruits, themselves black as well.

The contemporaneousness and the shock of cultures, mixed to arrive at a unified final culture/vision, are two constants in the work of Yi Zhou. Having lived in both China and Europe, having a very strong interest in new technologies and in all forms of creation (art, fashion, movie, music…), and at the same time concerned with respecting the archetypes of Western culture, the young woman has created new drawings and paintings that are the perfect representation of the melting-pop of which she is the result.

As we see in the Latex Room, she creates drawings with a mix of acrylic and liquid latex, that drips down the surface, a canvas or the wall.

In the Drawing Room, the artist concentrates herself on the traditional art form of portraiture, while referencing the American painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) famous for his Boston and London high-society turn-of-the-century paintings of women. With a slight distortion, Yi Zhou has chosen to paint, in these poses simultaneously obsolete and contemporary, portraits of young women in her entourage whom she would like to identify with. Other drawings, in white pencil on black paper, will complete this series of alter-ego portraits.

With Dreamscape, Yi Zhou throws us into a mix of worlds, real and virtual, old and contemporary… She proposes us thoughts already very advanced on the future of our society, with the distance that imposes the transposition of her art as a game with reality, mirroring Nietszche’s proposition.