“Midtown Flutter” Captivates ArtPrize Viewers

"Midtown Flutter" by Yuge Zhou

Yuge Zhou came to upstate New York from Beijing, China with the intention of studying computer science. Once settled into New York, Zhou said she became fascinated by the American landscape and urban landscape.

“I started to take photographs of the people, cities and landscapes, and I decided I wanted to be an artist,” Zhou said.

She took a series of art classes before applying and being accepted to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “That was about five years ago,” Zhou said. “I moved to Chicago and started my Master of Fine Art degree and I graduated two years ago.”

Zhou is gaining attention for her large video installations, composed of projection on relief sculptures and sculptural maps and described as “visual poetry.”

Zhou is currently promoting her ArtPrize Nine entry “Midtown Flutter,” which is located on the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s second floor. The work is a projection map captured in Midtown Manhattan and exploring interactions of humans and their environment.

“Midtown Flutter,” is Zhou’s take on the phenomenon of social synchronization in which individuals within a group influence one another’s behavioral patterns.

Besides landing among the ArtPrize public vote Top 20, “Midtown Flutter” was shortlisted for the international 2017 Lumen Prize.

Zhou said she was drawn to video art because video is everywhere. “We are saturated with video images,” she said.

Video provides Zhou with an “interesting way to express human experience.”

Her work is also unique because of the dimension Zhou adds. “I’m really interested in exploring how video image can be experienced and how we can break the two-dimensional,” she said.

“I used a technique called projection mapping. I had the video first and I project the video on the wall and figure out the size of the video itself and use a laser cutting machine to cut the panels,” Zhou said. The finished panels are attached to the gallery wall via brackets and give the panels the appearance of floating.

Zhou describes the experience of viewing her work best, “When you walk into the gallery, it’s kind of an uncanny appearance and seduces you to look closer and see what is going on.”

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