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Zhihui Zhang (1993, CN) 

currently lives and works in London. 

Now studying MFA Fine art at University Arts London.

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2. How to depict ‘dynamics’

(1) Combining with the interactive kinetic mechanical structure

Popping up and staying down hares(2020)

Putting papers printed with images of hares inside the slots of toasters, the artist invites people to interact with the work Poping up and staying down hares(2020) by pressing the lever of the toaster down and waiting for the toasties -the hares- pop up.

Because the switch of the toaster operates through the interaction of magnetism and temperature, it is impossible to keep the operation of the switch alone without heating. After researching and asking electrical and automation professionals, Zhihui set the toaster to operate for 10 seconds and then turn off for 30 seconds by using the time delay relay, in order to ensure that the paper would not get burned.

While the audience could interact with this work, the machine itself is also driving itself due to its existing function. There is always a compromise between the actively applying and the passively accepting, which is different from Zhihui’s previous experiment with interactive devices and automatic mechanical structures.

Zhihui also designed a kinetic structure with the servo motors using the Arduino program, with which the image in the tray was slightly lifting and staying down.

4. The adaption of the same body of works in different space


Walking the dog online in actual space(2020)

Walking the dog online in actual space(2020) is a work develop from the browser-based work Walking the dog online(2020), which is the beginning point for Zhihui on learning the coding language Javascript. The code is quite basic, which generates a GIF about a dog named Luna(one of her close dog of her friend) swings her tails during they went out for a walk, to keep following the movement of the cursor. The movement of the dog following her owner matches the mouse-following effect of the images in the browser.

2. How to depict ‘dynamics’

(0.5)Matchings the movement in the image and of the image-object

Clinging to your arm Koala sports armband(2020)


The backyard on weekdays is a venue for roommates to exercise, which creates a suitable display opportunity for the work Clinging to your arm Koala sports armband(2020).  Zhihui saved the found picture of the koala clinging to the eucalyptus in the iPhone and put it in the sports armband, and then invited my roommates to wear it on.  The interconnection between the clinging movement in the image and of the image-object is completed only when the sports armband is wearing on.

1.  From everyday experience

Deeply triggered by kinetic imagery and motions from everyday experience, Zhihui brings the articles of daily use into her recent imagery experiment: hanging the towel with the pattern of the gibbon hanging on the tree on the washing line, projecting the image of a monkey crouching scrupulously on the top of the stump onto the surface of a paper cup putting on top of the baluster column, displaying the image of the koala embracing the tree on the iPhone put it in the sports arm holder and invite people to wear it on, “hacking” a CD-ROM to make it constantly ejecting and inserting a disc printed the image of the tongue on the surface, treating a piece of paper with the image of the hare as a piece of toastie popping up and staying down in the toaster, reinterpreting the movement of walking the dog through Javascript and several monitors…

As the artist encountered with more and more ‘daily wonders’, the artist began to think about what it is exactly that attracted her in those found scene, and she wanted to “concretize" the dynamic "posture" (kinetic imagery) caused by the physical movements in those everyday scenes by manipulation the material image.

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Comparing with her understanding of the actual space, Zhihui attempted to test the possibilities of the transaction between the virtual flatness and the actual third dimension.


As Zhihui's preferred way is manipulating the medium of the image rather than being a photoshopper or film-maker, she started from expanding the single browser to several monitors and extending the dimensions by placing the monitors in actual space corresponding the spatial arrangement and the border of the browser, which bring the work the physical depth. Then, she found a somatosensory mouse, which could control the cursor by moving the body (mainly the arms). 


Through the intervention of the real three-dimensional space, this browser-based work, which is squeezed into the flat monitor before, obtained an extension that suspends in the 2.5 dimensions between the actual three-dimensional space and the virtual plane.

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2. How to depict ‘dynamics’

(0.5)Matchings the movement in the image and of the image-object

Hanging the gibbon towels(2020)

The daily wash wire gradually grabs Zhihui’s attention, until she had a light bulb moment on combining her imagery practices with it.


Found images        about the gibbons hanging on the tree were ink-jet printed on different sizes towels, the work Hanging the gibbon towels(2020) coheres the familiar hanging gesture of the gibbons with the habit about hanging the clothes on the washing line during the laundry. In the Backyard, Zhihui showcased three slightly different gestures of hanging, which bring the resonance between the movement in the image and of the image into a more detailed observation.

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Crouching curled-up Monkey paper cup (2020)

In Crouching curled-up Monkey paper cup(2020), a static image of a monkey crouching scrupulously on the top of the stump was casting on the surface of a paper cup be putting on top of the fence through the projection mapping during the BBQ of Zhihui’s Backyard showcase. A still image was activated temporarily and was constantly reshaping by video technology, which makes energetic electromagnetic waves visible, even it is much harder to tell than in the moving image. Sometimes the image was shaking and flickering due to the 15m-length HDMI cable, which reminds again of the constantly "alive" appearance of the digital image. This experiment gives Zhihui an opportunity to start to re-understand the nature of video technology in the area of still displays. The most important is that it gives Zhihui a new perspective on the still image to further develop her practice.

  2. How to depict ‘dynamics’

​(2)Bringing a still image back to dynamic through video technology


“Video technology establishes a relationship between a-significant flows(the electromagnetic waves) and significant flows(the images).”

 -Videophilosophy: The Perception of Time in Post-Fordism, Maurizio Lazzarato 2001

My ways of manipulating images through different information transmission modes lead me to re-considerate the nature of the image corresponding to different technologies.

Thus I have been interested to read Videophilosophy: The Perception of Time in Post-Fordism by Maurizio Lazzarato(2001). In the third chapter Video, Flows, and Real-Time, the author compared the traditional photography and cinema with video technology: While the film generates the movement with successive photographic impressions crystallized by groups of the stationary photogram, the video technology not only capture the movement through space but the very nature of the digital image:  a contraction of the endless oscillations of light.


Having experience with combining the projection mapping with the moving image, Zhihui decided to experiment with the dynamic, living energy embodied in the still image in the field of digital technology.

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4. The adaption of the same body of works in different space

(2)Sticking out tongue Karaoke Player (2020)


Zhihui remained the connection between the movement of sticking out the tongue in the image and the motion of the tray of DVD-ROM of her new works Sticking out tongue DVD-ROM(2020). In order to allow the new work to be included in the showcase, so as to transform from an isolated individual piece to one with an adaptive background, the artist included the Karaoke event in the Private view of this solo showcase rather than designing a place to display the artwork as in the gallery space. The artist then burned the roommate's favorite songs into the disc with the tongue picture printed on the surface and put it in the Karaoke DVD player.


It is worth mentioning that the artist also made the most of the equipment available in her house. She customized the speakers from the existing surround sound speaker system into the microphone and built a functioning karaoke system.

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Brief Description:

The backyard showcases an assemblage of Zhihui’s recent experiment about operating the kinetic imagery between two-and three-dimensional space, which respond to the specific site, the backyard of her house shared with her roommates. This showcase also including BBQ and Karaoke as the after-party events.


The entire assemblage lands a part of her collection of the found image on different platforms: fabric, paper, falt monitors, iPhone and tablet, ready-made objects, customized home appliances, through various mediums, such as inkjet print, visual programming(Javascript), digital display, projection mapping, robot programming(Arduino).

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5. The physicality of the image


“ I started making photographs mostly interested in what they are not.”

                                                                                           -Elad Lassry

Zhihui uses various mediums to fight against the “seduction” of the image: While viewers were often looking to discuss the beauty of the subject in the image, her chosen images can’t only display for being viewed or merely represent the subject on their own, the images are matched with different mediums through her ways of manipulation.


In Zhihui's experiment, the function of the image cannot only be locked in presenting the subject content and being viewed. The complete content is the inseparable relationship between the image and the display medium through Zhihui’s ways of manipulation, rather than just related to the content of the image.



Israeli-American artist Elad Lassry rediscovers images from a vast array of sources by redeploying them in a variety of media, including photography, film, drawing, and sculpture, which investigates the nature of people’s perception and the meaning of the contemporary image.


Elad Lassry also has his own approach to fight this “seduction” of the image: treating the frame as the extension of the image, which emphasizes the actual space that the work occupies. His hybrid entity of the image-object keeps question people’s understanding of the objecthood of the image and the “subject first” inertial thinking.

 In French artist Claude Closky’s work The hair (2015), the image of the hair was printed on a flag, which is fluttering in the wind.

The work connected the movement of the flag in the wind and the hair from everyday experience.

Which attracts Zhihui a lot is that the movement of the human-made object(no matter her towel or Claude Closky’s flag) in use is inseparably attached to the movement in the image. People couldn’t grab the connection if the flag is motionless or the towels are not be hung, the movement of the object and the image must be perceived together.

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3. The unusual backdrop of the artwork-alternative exhibition spaces


Zhihui used the entire backyard space as her installations' primary physical platform, where visitors can experience her recent experiments dispersed in various locations around the backyard as well as the outdoor BBQ and Karaoke as the opening section. The project embraces how artworks can be nuanced and emboldened by location.


The backyard space is used strategically as means of contextualizing the project: it offered opportunities on experimenting with the site-sensitivity, while it also maintained its ordinary functions(outdoors event, afternoon tea time, exercise), which were embedded in this showcase.

Zhihui always puts her pieces into a specific location and try out different possibilities between the object and space. From her understanding, It is nearly impossible to isolate an artwork from a backdrop, which also means there is no separate background, as either the material work(the physical object) or the virtual one is always come with and embedded in a space, which is part of the work rather than an assorted background, no matter the artwork is highly site-specific or not.


While the white-walled backdrop of many commercial galleries makes the installation view more and more indistinguishable from one another, she came across artworks installed in imaginable places outside the gallery context. For example, Paintings Roughly Reflecting On Humans And Human Habits, But Mostly Viewed By Cows puts a selection of international, contemporary, figurative paintings in front of a mostly animalistic audience in a working cowshed in the remote valley Safiental of the Swiss Alps. 

Installing and documenting physical exhibitions staged in non-gallery ­locations, and then later presenting the documentation in a gallery, uses publicly accessible venues like hotel rooms, Airbnbs, spas, and department stores to produce extremely temporary and site-specific exhibitions which last only for taking documentation—photographs or videos. They keep trying to explore alternative aesthetics and questioning the dominance of the white cube’s backdrop.

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Keywords in this section with contexts:


1.  From everyday experience

2. How to depict ‘dynamics’

(0.5)Matchings the movement in the image and of the image-object

The Hair (2015),Claude Closky

(1) Combining with the interactive kinetic mechanical structure

​(2)Bringing a still image back to dynamic through video technology

Videophilosophy: The Perception of Time in Post-Fordism by Maurizio Lazzarato(2001)

3.The unusual backdrop of the artwork-alternative exhibition spaces

Paintings Roughly Reflecting On Humans And Human Habits, But Mostly Viewed By Cows

The Exhibition at non-gallery ­locations by 

4. The adaption of the same body of works in different space

(1)Walking the dog online in actual space(2020)

(2)Sticking out tongue DVD-ROM

5.The physicality of the image

Elad Lassry‘s image-objects

6.Site-sensitivity and the mobile spectators 

7.Timeline, budget, and mock-ups for the Copeland Gallery

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 6. Site-sensitivity and the mobile spectators 


The scattered overall arrangement partially echoes the layout of the backyard.

Each work occupy different locations in different ways: Poping up and staying down hares(2020) is hidden in the deep corner of the grass, the dog walking across the whole space composed of five display devices, because of the size of the towel, Hanging the gibbon towels(2020) sometimes blocks the local horizontal line of sight and Crouching curled-up Monkey paper cup(2020) occupies space by dotting. What is more special is that Clinging to your arm Koala sports armband needs to be worn by the participants or the audience, so the work keeps moving the location in the backyard.


These different styles of layout force the audience to constantly adjust their position and switch their sights at all times to interact with the work, which puts the viewer in the position of active discovery.

👉Go to Critical Analysis: The Itinerary of Eyes

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