Asia

Zhu Jia
Colorful Balloons

In this four-channel 10 min video installation different episodes play simultaneously on the four screens. The artist has arranged several different scenarios and symbolic props which make it easy for viewers to feel the pervasive ambiguity which cannot be put into words. On the one hand, our imagination is tempted by the delicate details, but on the other hand, our imagination is limited through a very rigorous structure. The gradual increasing sound of the violin – musicians pulling repeatedly with A in C major tortures the audience’s visual and hearing senses. A man with a hand full of colorful balloons, moves his arm rhythmically up and down. A young girl sits, smiling, on the mattress covered by flowers. The shadows of a flying flag reflect on the wall. Through a language full of hints, the artist wants to express critical attitude towards control.

Pioneer of video art in China, Zhu Jia’s works have often dealt with ‘realness’ and everyday life, though often in unconventional ways. One of his most famous pieces, 1994’s Forever, saw him fix a camera onto the wheel of a Forever tricycle and pedal it around the streets of Beijing. The resulting video is a disorientating, constantly spinning and almost nausea-inducing tour of the city. Both Forever and 2002’s Never Take Off, which features a plane infinitely taxiing along a runway, have established Zhu as a pioneer of video art in China, together with Zhang Peili. Despite their leading roles in China’s video art scene, both were classically trained at two of the country’s most prominent art academies, Zhang in Hangzhou and Zhu in Beijing.