2019 AUTUMN IN NEW YORK EXHIBITION
Artist Official Entries
Jiawei ZhaoBrooklyn NY USA
I am a Chinese-born visual artist who came to the United States to attend school. My photo-based artist practice stems from that personal experience. There are 360,000 young Chinese people currently studying at academic institutions in the U.S., and they are not staying here for immigration. Chinese students are sandwiched between Chinese culture and American culture, and they have been building up their own cultural identity. My work looks at how Chinese students have found comfort and community in certain spaces, unexpectedly fabricating a photographic space between architectures of Chinatown and academic buildings. Channeling the French aesthetic concept of the “flaneur", I stroll around virtual and real space of photographs, and make critical points concerning ‘temporality’ by intertwining fake and real spatial relationships that mix photography, architecture, and obscured realities. Confusing temporal and spatial relationships, all of my photographs are taken of photographic installations, such as Once Upon a Time at Chinatown Movie Theaters project. There were many Chinatown movie theaters in various major Chinatowns of the States and eight of them were located in NYC Chinatown. Only Chinese languages movie were shown in those theaters. Around two decades ago, those theaters were all closed down or disappeared. However, the former sites (used to hold Chinatown movie theaters) are still there, and I played the movie showing academic institutions on the studio's installations of former sites, which are seen as an old-fashioned backdrop used to apply in a photography studio. Finally, I documented and photographed all the above temporal and spatial relationships.