by Ariadna Zierold
Blocky skylines made from stacked books dominate one side of the gallery in Chinese artist Ji Zhou‘s new show at Klein Sun Gallery and first U.S. solo show, Civilized Landscape, while crinkled maps become mountain ranges on the other.
“My concerns lie in why more and more cities are becoming visually identical and boring in their cityscapes.”
Ji Zhou specializes in capturing ephemeral ideas and moments in beautifully composed photographs. For example, after a fire in his Beijing studio coated it in ash, he responded with Dust (2010), a photo series in which every surface is colored with monochrome, ashy grey. In Civilized Landscape, he responds to the construct of civilization as a whole.
The “Maps” portion was improvised and sculpted straight from Zhou’s imagination, while the “Maquette” cityscapes are the result of meticulous planning. Zhou sees books as “channels to receive and accumulate knowledge,” while maps are two dimensional repositories of information: “My opinions on cities and civilization mainly comes from books I’ve read,” he says, “Associating maps with landscapes is almost an innate relationship to me, a theory probably be caused by my teenage dreams about the world.”