2018 Triennial Archive

Zhou Tao

Transformer Station
1460 W. 29th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
Wed–Sun: 11–5, Thurs: 11–8


FRONT Film Program

The Worldly Cave, 2017

Showtimes: Sundays August 5, August 26, & September 16 at 3:00 pm

Total run time: 47 min., 53 sec.

From Minhougeqi Village in Fuzhou, to Menorca in Spain, from Fán Dòng in Shoguan, to the sea of Inchon, from the foot of Dafu Hill, to the Sonoran Desert. Images and reality are constructing a topologic booklet. No scripts, no stories, the light became the protagonist, the landscape became the protagonist.

Here in Fán Dòng, the Hakka people have all moved away from the place where generations of their families lived. Before the execution of the new development, all the villages on this land will soon be buried into continuous muck dunes. On the open grounds, there stocked huge piles of second-hand machines which would be resold in the southeastern countries. Estate investigation teams gathered in different groups, were talking about the potential prices of the land. After passing some huge muck dunes, between two higher muck dunes, the hunters built their sheltered pits and bird traps in the air. They tied a bee to a transparent string as it would lead them to the beehives hidden in the cracks. Fishermen even found a source of fish in the swamp that connects the groundwater. The men and women in the giant ferroconcrete caves on the clouds were still chattering about the bullfrogs from lunch.


Blue & Red, 2014

Showtimes: Thursdays August 2, August 23, & September 13 at 2:00 pm, Fridays July 20, August 10, August 31, & September 21 at 1:00 pm

Total run time: 25 min. 14 sec.

From the old man’s complexion lit by natural light, to the crowd bathed in the color of night; from the square stained blue by LED billboards, and the anti-government protestors reveling all night, to the rust and oxidized-green surface of a rural metal mine; movements of these different characters, even a violent squall colliding with a mountainside—these all create a refraction from the skin to the earth’s crust.


South Stone, 2011

Show times: Fridays July 20, August 10, August 31, & September 21 at 1:00 pm, Fridays August 3, August 24, & September 14 at 3:00 pm

Total run time: 24 min. 51 sec.

Ju and I have resided for nearly a whole year in the area of South Stone, of which appeared to be a distant village completely abandoned by the city, yet maintaining its very own independent system of living. Our perceptive consciousnesses were re-ignited (by the situation of South Stone area), our activities here made hap-pening of improvised scripts, of images, and of body exercises, on the new time path, we are to be the man who plants scenarios.

-Zhou Tao

Artist Biography

Born in 1976 in Changsha, China, Zhou Tao received a BFA in oil painting at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (2001) and an MFA in mixed-media studies (2006). Zhou finds visual and narrative materials for his arresting video works in the places and communities he encounters. He has documented Guangzhou, where he lives and works, as well as New York, Paris, Bangkok, and Barcelona, cities where he has participated in residencies. Moving beyond simply recording, Zhou’s lens seems to gaze at these scenes, often capturing living organisms, natural scenery, and inorganic matter, generating a sense of poetic intimacy through the prolonged act of looking. When exhibited, the videos are often presented together with his drawings and photographs.

In his work, Zhou connects seemingly disparate milieus, turning his attention to oft-ignored sites that exist on the threshold between the natural and the artificial. The visual narratives merge different spatial constructs such as landscapes, the metropolis, constructions sites, parks, public squares, and wastelands. In After Reality (2013), images hurtle from the semi-wild and semi-urbanized zones of Guangzhou’s rural-urban fringe to the highly manicured cityscapes of Paris, while in Blue and Red (2014), the narrative travels between documenting the heavy-metal waste contaminating industrial zones in Shaoguan, China, to a military coup during a smoke-filled riot in Bangkok. Zhou’s seamless montage of scenes from various locations serves as a metaphor for modernity’s spatial multiplicity, an experience and a process that occurs spontaneously and simultaneously in different regions.

Zhou’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2009); Guangdong Times Museum, Guangzhou, China (2012); Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art (2012); Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (2013); and Museu d’art contemporani, Barcelona (2015). He has also participated in numerous group shows and biennials including Octomania (On drawing the number eight), Para Site, Hong Kong (2006); Guangzhou Station, Guangdong Museum of Art (2008); On/Off, China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2012); Auckland Triennial (2013); Landscape: The Virtual, The Actual, The Possible?, Guangdong Times Museum (2014), and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2014–15); Shanghai Biennial (2014); Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane (2015–16); and Tales of Our Time, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016–17). Zhou lives and works in Guangzhou.