This is 5 Questions. Each week, we send five questions to an artist featured in Under the Radar, our weekly email highlighting the best art on the ArtSlant network. This week we seek answers from FeiFan Zhang.
What are you trying to communicate with your work?
My ideas come from my interests in the urban, built environment. As I lived and traveled in different cities in China and the United States, I witnessed the continuous reshaping and renovation of these globalized urban landscapes. The elements of these constructed areas sometimes appear misplaced—ambiguous functions or anachronistic intentions emerge. As a result, the qualities of uncertainty, deficiency, inaccessibility, and brutality in between these spaces flooded my experience as an inhabitant.
The series No Man’s Land is an exploration of irresolvable and un-relatable spaces—the dark cavities that populate the city. The phrase no man’s land is often understood as undetermined territory that stays unoccupied and suffused with fear and uncertainty. I am interested in representing how structured intentions coincide with perplexing functions that exist in the urban landscape, as well as how those uncertain functions impact the human experience. Ultimately, the work speaks to the tenuous relationship we have with the built environment and our attempts to reconcile the often-dysfunctional elements within the urban landscape.
Printing in large scale is the way I often present my work. I use it to create enough physical scale and space for the viewers observe, “enter,” and interact with the photograph.
No.1284 from series No Man's Land, 2017, Archival inkjet print
What is an artist’s responsibility?
Get control of what we convey in our work and how we present it. And keep making good work. It’s easy to say, but the hard part is to keep the flow.
No.1281 from series No Man's Land, 2017, Archival inkjet print
Show us the greatest thing you ever made (art or not)?
“Not enough.” This is what I often tell myself when I think about my own art-making. So I guess, art or not, there isn’t something “greatest” enough for me to choose. (Maybe I will think about this before I pass to the world of eternity… haha.) Although, if “made friends” counts, then each friend that I made was the greatest thing that happened to me. The artist doesn’t stand alone.
Tell us about a work you want to make but never will:
To dream of something too big to make? Hmmm… Maybe building a city of my own perception in larger scale could be something that might cross my mind but I will or can never do. But one thought may mutate into something else—who knows?
No.1278 from series No Man's Land, 2017, Archival inkjet print
Who are three artists we should know but probably don’t?
These artists’ works address the environment/spaces around us. You should check them out:
—The ArtSlant Team
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(Image at top: No.1272 from series No Man's Land, 2017, Archival inkjet print)