The Man who Plants Scenarios

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© Courtesy of the Artist and Queen's Nails Projects
© Courtesy of the Artist and Queen's Nails Projects
The Man who Plants Scenarios
Curated by: Xiaoyu Weng

3191 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
March 18th, 2011 - April 8th, 2011
Opening: March 18th, 2011 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM

video installation


Opening Reception March 18th, 8-11pm//Free and open to the public

Queens Nails Projects is pleased to announce The Man Who Plants Scenarios, the first West Coast solo exhibition of Zhou Tao, guest curated by Xiaoyu Weng, on view March 18 - April 8, 2011. This project is part of Queens Nails: (QNX) an exchange program with local, national and international art spaces and independent curators and artists. Zhou Tao's project will be on part of the exhibition, SUPPORT>SYSTEM at Luckman Art Gallery in Los Angeles from April 9-May 21st.

For his first solo show in San Francisco, Zhou will present three single channel videos: South Stone (2010-2011), Time in New York (2009), One Day (2010), and a multiple channel video installation Power Here(2008), along with a series of screenplay photographs based on South Stone. In his work, Zhou brings forward what he calls the “folding scenario” or “zone with folds,” where different spaces collapse into each other. Through often subtle and humorous interactions with people, things, actions and situations, Zhou invites us to experience the multiple trajectories of reality. For him, the use of video is not a deliberate choice of artistic language or medium; instead, the operation of the camera is a way of being that blends itself with everyday life.

For over five months, Zhou situated himself in an underdeveloped village surrounded by the high skyscrapers in the city of Guangzhou to produce his most recent work South Stone (2010-2011). Interweaving footage of the landscape of the village, the residents, the animals and his seemly illogical interventions in each place, South Stone indicates the equally incoherent and absurd nature of social reality. Fluctuating between a documentary and fiction, the film functions as a catalyst to facilitate the construction of alternative connections between time and the emergence of imaginative space.

The relationship between the representations of time and space is explored in the video entitled Time in New York (2009). In this work, Zhou attached himself to a roll of thread to trace his everyday activities in the apartment he stayed in while visiting the city. Throughout time, the thread materialized his every movement between bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. Through repetitions and rhythms, a social time is produced and reproduced within the physically limited space.

Zhou does not treat space as a means of classification or taxonomy. In other words, they are not a set of locations that can be easily identified. In the multi-channel video Power Here (2008), the artist placed electrical appliances in public areas and powered them with public electricity. As a household lamp lights up simultaneously with a street lamp, the line between the different spaces is poetically blurred. Similarly, in One Day (2010), the artist staged a day of domestic life in a home improvement store. The sequence of the dislocated actions embodied the contradictions in the nature of space.

Zhou’s practice alchemizes ordinary surroundings into a theatre where he superimposes and interchanges the background and the stage, the viewer and the actor, the fact and the story line, and the documentation and the representation. His camera is not simply a recording apparatus but an extension of existence that requires active participations. The images his camera produces are not just detached spectacles, they are the agents that reveal the theatrical details suffused in mundane life.

Zhou Tao is an artist based in Guangzhou, China. His work has been shown at numerous venues, including the MIT List Visual Art Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Location One in New York, the International Center of Photography in New York, Hong Kong Museum of Art, the 7th Shanghai Biennale at Shanghai Art Museum, Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg, Museum of Modern Art, Oslo , the Second Triennial of Chinese Art at Nanjing Museum of Art, among others.


Xiaoyu Weng is an independent curator and writer based in San Francisco. She is the inaugural 101 Curatorial Fellow at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College for The Arts and currently directs the Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium in San Francisco.

Click here for an interview between curator Xiaoyu Weng and artist Zhou Tao