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ATA: The Humors (opening reception)
March 4, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Ancient Greek philosophers wrote of four temperaments (or ‘humors’) that color all of creation: sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic. Urbanity is part of this creation, and also embodies versions of these dispositions. The Humors video series suggests urban behaviors and relationships, those of people and of the built environment itself.
Chicago artist Yuge Zhou’s first west coast solo exhibition entitled “The Humors” will open on March 4th, running until April 8th. This exhibition features four video installations that explore the four humors (sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic), inspired by ancient Greek philosophy but reinterpreted in a modern context to suggest urban behavior and relationships. The sound design for this series is by Stephen Farrell.
For over a year, Zhou documented scenes of various urban locations and then collaged them into a mélange to reveal various temperaments of how the environment and humans mold and shape each other.
“The work originates from a simple desire to make people aware of and reconsider their relationships with their surroundings—both the physical and the psychological world they live in. With the camera acting as an extension of my viewing, I document the ‘untrained performances’ of everyday moments within their confined spaces and rearrange and assemble these documentations into collaged scenes that sometimes suggests an incomplete narrative fragment, an allegorical tale or a miniature stage to gaze upon, all with an unexpected sense of mystery, anxiety, joy or fear. This process of looking and altering helps me to distill and understand these spaces and their inhabitants, not without an impulse to poeticize and transform them into my own psychological universe of introspection and isolation.”
The installation for one of the pieces, Midtown Flutter is inspired by the concept of architectural relief (a technique where the sculpted elements remain attached but raised above the background plane). Audiences experience a gradual shift in the appearance and depth of the installation from a flat image to a three-dimensional view with protruding geometric shapes. Zhou uses techniques like relief and projection mapping to enhance the framed glimpses of scenes as well as emphasize the physicality of digital video.
The Humors series (the sound designer for the series is Stephen Farrell):
Green play is a joyful orchestration of one of the great meeting places in New York City—Central Park, a utopian playground and repository shared by locals and tourists alike. The spliced footage choreographs a single summer Sunday and encapsulates an optimism that is central to American life.
Social synchronization is a phenomenon where individuals within a group influence one another’s behavioral patterns. For Midtown Flutter, I shot a variety of architecture in midtown Manhattan, allowing passersby to interrupt the scene. By selecting and then composing the video footage according to the formal qualities of the architecture within the scene, the architecture in turn dictates the patterns and flow of the pedestrians. Midtown becomes a flattened, uniform construct for this play of texture, rhythm and interruptions.
Deep Ends suggests a tension between carefree buoyancy, vulnerability, and inherent risk. Water on the edge of an urban landscape invites crowds, and shot from a long distance, the scene strangely oscillates between leisure fun and the aftermath of a disaster.
Soft Plots portrays a conception of urban living that is both group-oriented and discontinuous.
In many ways, we live big cities like we live small towns—except that our community is
scattered across a dense network of other communities and other storied lives of which we
only catch a glimpse. Soft Plots is a mental map of meaningful locations and (richly-inhabited)
voids in between.
Yuge Zhou is a Chinese born, Chicago-based artist whose video and installation works portray ‘urban dispositions’ and explore the complex interactions between humans and their environment. Zhou earned her Master of Fine Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a Master of Engineering from Syracuse University. Zhou has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including the Grand Rapids Art Museum; Elmhurst Art Museum; York Art Gallery in UK; Chicago Cultural Center; SIGGRAPH Asia in Japan; Chicago Design Museum; Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (GA); New York State Museum among many others. Zhou's work has also been featured in the New York Magazine; The Huffington Post, Grand Rapids Magazine and Aesthetica Magazine. Zhou recently received the Santo Foundation Individual Artist Award.