The Diary of Destroying a Map | Ran Zhou
Hold your gaze on your own time, firmly.
If you see the time, what do you actually see?
Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben writes that“The contemporary is the who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light but rather its darkness. All eras, for those who experience contemporariness, are obscure.” Ran Zhou’s exhibition The Diary ofDestroying a Map pries into her attempt to see this obscurity of the present through the gap between two incomplete cultures, histories and self-resistance.Beginning from the neurophysiology of vision, we find ourselves in a place deprived of light orwhen we close our eyes, we see “darkness.” Neurophysiologists tell us that the absence of lightactivates a series of peripheral cells in the retina called “off-cells.” When activated, these cellsproduce the particular kind of vision thatwecall darkness. Darkness isnot, therefore, the simple-absence of light, or non-vision, but instead,the result of our own retina. In this way,for the darknessof contemporariness, that to perceive this darkness is not a form of inertiaor ofpassivity. Rather, it implies an activity and a singular ability. This ability amounts toa neutralization of the lights that come from the epoch in order to discover its obscurity, its special darkness, which is actually not separable from the lights.As one of those who do not allow themselves to be blinded by the lights of the mainstream, Ran Zhou integrates her thoughts of darkness into her art to get a glimpse of the shadows in the lights, of the intimate obscurity. A diary is an unfathomable book of a life never lived, the temporal order of events. It feeds off time and yet it also withdraws from it, opening it up to a life never lived. The exhibition title, The Diary of Destroying a Map, which is the same title of a featured installation in the exhibition, highlights the position of the artist and her artwork, whichblurstheboundarybetweenpastandpresent,indicidualandcollective.Startingfrom 102 - 1688 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6J 1G1www.zgalleryarts.com
narrating the existence of culture shock, rethinking the darkness of mainstream recognition, Ran’s art points to many Chinese social topics and city memories, which comes from her strong awarenessstruggling betweenEastern and Western culture. Getting rid of the country specific restrictionandtraditionalconcept,Ran’sartcreatesasubtlespacelocatedatcrevicesbetween the concept of contemporariness of culture and individual awareness within the vortex of globalization.Ran Zhou is a visual artist based in Vancouver British Columbia, originally from China. For herwho went through Chinese education system, art is the way to avoid being swallowed in theapparatus of state and have her own voice being heard. Through recent years, her practice has shifted from drawing and painting to more experimental pieces of installation, videos, andperformance. Ran is pursuing her double honors BFA degree of Visual Arts and Art History at the University of BritishColumbia.Ran Zhou