Author Archives: maeshelle west-davies

Yingtong Zhou: vanishing bodies

Whether we don goggles and a hat to become invisible like Madonna on a ski holiday, are ignored at a gathering or suffer from systematic social invisibility, we have all experienced feeling invisible. Yingtong Zhou creates a narrative from personal experiences to create artworks that everyone can relate to. With the body as the protagonist, she reveals the unseen and the traces it leaves behind.

According to the Max Planck Institute, “The body is our primary interface with the world: it allows us to gather inputs from the outside, to build a representation of the world, to act and directly manipulate the environment.”

As an English Lit major, it was clear that Chinese artist Yingtong would some day want to see the  European settings she had read about. This materialised when she went to the Netherlands to study art. It was there she had an other body experience. Navigating the different approach on relationship to self and the community was something she hadn’t prepared for. This left her feeling very alone and unsure at times. 

In China, she had never thought about who she was. She was just another face in the crowd. Now identity was something everyone was talking about and serious about defining. Both models led to feeling invisable. She began working with transparent materials to express how a body can be there and not there at the same time. They disappear unless viewed at a specific angle or in a certain light. 

Yingtong and visibility

For her Body in Silence Series which she showed at Circle Becoming Body, she used plaster casts of movements in time. She connected them with plastic cable that gave them a feeling of being in perpetual motion. The result felt alive. Yingtong took these personal moments from her life and animated them in a way that was universal. We have all taken a step, held someone’s hand, turned the knob on a door. Our bodies are what we share in common.

images by PILOTENKUECHE or supplied by artist

Yingtong feels ready to go next level. She is currently working on how bodies affect the space they are no longer in. Her goal is to use various mediums to express traces bodies leave behind. The concept is a series of exhibitions that build upon the last to create a narrative. Not only are our bodies in motion, they are on a path. Each route is unique, but start and finish the same. Along the way there are similarities. After all, based on DNA, any two human beings are 99.9 percent identical.

Our body is not only our interface with the outside world, but also a life-long presence of our conscious experience. –Max Planck Institute

written by maeshelle west-davies

Follow Yingtong on her Instagram.

Circle Becoming Body

Vernissage 19 Aug 7-10 PM

Alte Handelsschule
Giesserstr 75
04229 Leipzig

Open Sun 20, Sat 26, Sun 27 Aug 4-8PM

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