I am Zhu Yu and I’m originally from Wenzhou, China. Wenzhou is a highly commercialized city. There isn’t a big art scene where I grow up. I think my city is a piece of blank paper, faraway from Chinese culture and politics. I like Wenzhou, but it isn’t for me.
I left Wenzhou and came to Beijing during 2004. Like many other young artists in China, I graduated from an art school. I think the most efficient way for me to grow is by exploring the unexplored fields with a mature and established artist. I like to see changes in my works and throughout myself.
My works are mostly conveyed through videos and paintings. I was very engaged making videos between 2005-2008. During 2009, I work on a film called “BIRDMAN, TREEMAN and the HOUSE” in Bejijing’s Songzhuang. By shooting on film, I could feel the timeliness; film as a material is also very smooth and romantic. I immediately fall in love with this material. Later, I decided to install a darkroom in my studio. I spent so much time in the dark room, and it never fails to amaze me each time I am working there. Between 2009-2010, I was shooting on buses in Beijing. I would hop off the bus at whichever station attracted me. One day, I spent a month at a dog market. Many dogs there were sick and some were even pregnant. My heart rate fastened, and mouth turned numb when I witnessed the seller forced the spiky collar on a big beautiful Husky. All the pictures I took that day were blurred. Later I realized all the pictures I had couldn’t quite tell how I felt. So I started working on an installation named “suicide”. I had no idea where this was going to lead me, although I was secretly hoping to get an unexpected result during the process.
During 2012, I was working at Aiweiwei’s studio. Ai once told me that I am too impatient and could see that throughout my work. So I wanted to slow down a bit. One day, I meet this silkworm breeder, he taught me how to raise silkworms. I fed almost 3000 silkworms. In order to concentrate on this project, I had to leave Aiweiwei’s studio. I wanted to learn from silkworms’ habits, they weave, I weave. I try to create a similar rhythm, attitude, and movement between myself and my silkworms. Each silkworm has about 40 days to live, and they need to keep eating mulberry, molting and making silk. The net I weaved is nothing comparing with what they did. It took me 2 months to finish a net of less density. But I can feel myself changing during the process.
I am the kind of person who have to first do it in order to decide what to do next. So I am always on the move. I like to draw inspirations from my own experiences.