ZHU YU - was born on March 8, 1981, in Liushi Town, Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province. In 2008, she graduated from the Video Art Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts of China, and now mainly works and lives in Beijing, Wenzhou, and Europe. The artist's chief mediums are video, installation and photography. Moveable maps are her current artistic orientation.

She says that her works are like looking for markers and relabeling them in a misty forest. Her social upbringing, interpreted as a meridian, while ceaseless in wiping off her immediate past, acts as a coordinate. And where is her latitude of cognition? Liushi is a small Chinese town, where 90% of the inhabitants are engaged in manufacturing electrical appliances. The electrical products are sold all over China and all over the world. The region is somewhat alienated from the social and political system but in its drive towards modern civilization has continuously been hindered by political constraints and economical ideology. The ideological mindset of the community has undergone tremendous change, but the special geographical environment often triggers some sensitive emotions.

Zhu Yu's artistic motifs often portray industrialization, the masses, and children's misplaced memory of factory production lines. Zhu remove from reality the void and the passive and analyze their historical roots and current mechanical and networked/digitalized shadows or the reversal thereof. The questioning of human beings as either individuals or collectives clearly appears in her voice-based work Nobody is Somebody... Through the substitution, repetition, and iteration of the subject and object in this sentence, "Nobody" and "Somebody" constitute an endless inquiry of identity and power, or even a more ontological questioning on existence. More often than not, the artist avoids resorting to language or texts in her works. Instead, she places her body in external environment, in a way of "radical juxtaposition" to extend the meaning of the works.

In Wave, the artist infuses repetitive shaking head gestures in different contexts, and the meaning of the behavior naturally varies from time to time; in the new work UTC-5, the artist who appears invisible travels around the world (Tibet, Beijing, New York), and her identity disappears in the juxtaposition of different time and space, with her body turning into a joint that connects the three places, which forms a metaphor for the collective existence of the contemporary world by condensing the elements of religion, industry, and transnational relations. What cannot be ignored is the use of music in her works. These tailor-made background sounds correspond to the visual elements in the moving images: from religion to nature, from cities to the world… When cooperating with other artists, Zhu Yu's radical juxtaposition is mixed with more layers. For example, in the collaborative work Male Body Machine, questions of the individual are extended to the proposition of a new era: those of human-machine relationship. In Game of Kings: Contemporary War, the violent game between Zhu Yu and her co-artist reflects a state of revolution in breaking the rules, but the work itself is made via a cooperative approach, not a violent one. Behind the production mode based on negotiation, there seems to lurk an imagination of an alternative social possibility…











18-1S  ELEMENTS - Zhu Yu  1ª SESSÃO | 1st SESSION

IMAGE PLAY ► International Video Art Festival - V Edition 2023 (Funchal, Madeira - Portugal)


Zhu Yu   Direted and Visuals

The dynamic track of a needle = my blood vessels+ my child+
​the floating bloodthe simulating trackthe fixed metal. 


THE DYNAMIC TRACK OF A NEEDLE: My works in recent two years, It comes from the materials in reality. I dug the dark, humor, and pain from life of reality, analyzing their roots and the sense of the mysterious of reality, and find my own position in them. The way of my working is like how the juice extractor does. Finding the fruit which is not so nice to look, then cut, squeeze, flavour,until a cup of juice is ready. It is just the object is not fruit, so the outcome is not juice.

The city where I was born

My river

My blood flows, runs off


My children are in my blood

Swing, flat, quiet, life continuation and communication