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ZHU Jia Video works Introduction


We are Perfect  (2008), 3-channel video installation, 5'30", ed. of 3
In 'We are Perfect', close-ups of expression-less, but immaculate, faces are shown continuously, starring back at the audience from three large screens. The projections directly create an immediate and unsettling impact, and one might ask 'Who is starring at who?' Being confronted by these enlarged facial features, questions regarding the title itself may also arise: Who is perfect? What is perfection? Is it a question of physicality, spirit, or imagination? Perhaps the artist is merely yearning over the 'perfect' heroism of the past. The ambiguous approach to perfectionism is a theme often found in Zhu Jia's previous work.

never Take Off  (2002), single channel video, 6', ed. of 5
Never Take Off is recorded a Boeing 747 aeroplane taxying on the runway. Both passengers and onlookers wait for it to take off. The aeroplane moves endlessly along the runway. Zhu Jia uses a metaphor by using airplane taxying and never taking off, which is that people living in the city all have one or many airplanes never taking off whilst waiting.

Double landscape  (2002), single channel video, 10', ed. of 5
The film shows a young man drinking coffee in front of a window though which the landscape of a modern city can be seen. A lady, standing motionless, seems to be serving the man. Although it is difficult to realize for the viewer, she is actually a dressed mannequin.

Repeat on purpose  (1997), 3-channel video installation, 8', ed. of 5
A state of time which seems not to be stable is being repeated continuously, and such repeat happens as unconsciously as possible. Placed inside a refrigerator and facing the refrigerator door, the camera records the deliberate repetition of opening and closing the refrigerator.In achieving a kind of psychological 'neutrality', I think it actually wanders in our inner hearts all the time. However, will you admit its existence or just keep it? Will you judge on it? What will you do with the 'neutrality'?

Shine  (1997), single channel video, 8', ed. of 1
The pursuit of experiences beyond banalities is a constant process of self-alienation. The deliberately arranged impracticability produces effects of "absurdity" and "boringness"; yet, at the same time, there is a certain "beauty"in it. This "beauty" is resulted from the dance of lights and shadows and the overlapping of images on the screen. The contradiction between "absurdity" and "beauty" exists on another dimension, but if you don't think in this way, there will be no problem at all.

Related to Environment  (1997), single channel video, 15', ed. of 5
The most radical piece in this mise-en-scene of dramatisation of banality and the mutual gazing between the viewer and the camera is no doubt the video installation "Related to Environment"(1997) in which a life size image of a gold fish was projected on the floor jumping around without water. The viewer is standing next to it and closely watching it. Gazing coolly the seemingly banal image of the fish struggling silently but helplessly between life and death, the viewer is suddenly pushed to confront with his own self-consciousness of the fragility of the perception of real life: Am I watching a real fish or its image? Is it reality or fiction? What's reality itself? Can we trust our eyes? How should we react to this? And, ultimately, a Lacanian/Zizekian question of gaze as the key of identity inquiry is raised: are we gazing at the other? Or simply ourselves?

Forever  (1994), single channel video, 30', ed. of 3
The artist set a camera on Beijing tricycle; it was set facing the side and recorded Beijing street life whilst the wheels moved forward. The setting of a subjective shoot forced the audience to see what the camera saw, because of the different speeds of the wheels, the images creates dizziness. The setting means a fast speed, with the hustle and bustle of Beijing, whilst creating an atheistic distance - a distance to reality delivered by various media techniques. Then there is the distance between consciousness and media itself.

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