Chinese artist Shi Zhen will participate in the “Artist-in-Residence in the Verzasca Valley 2021”. She will work at the Valley from August 3-September 6, 2021. This program is supported by Pro Helvetia Shanghai, Swiss Arts Council, upon whose invitation Lianzhou Foto Festival has nominated the residency candidates. This shall be the first time that the two institutions jointly facilitate this residency.
Shi Zhen employs various mediums and a process that combined photography, book object and fiction-documentary story to construct a maze of narratology. Through her artificial manipulation on individuals’ lived experiences and intervention in intellectual legacies such as literature, archival material, theatre and film, Shi’s practice attempts to explore the complex relationship between reality and memory under the general proposition “Archive and Fiction” / “Private and Public”. In the self-referential environments that she constructs, Sisyphean, but poetic as well as cottony aspects of the concept of inner world are exposed. Shi’s practice also seeks to develop a discourse on how time exists and disappears in a soundless way from its historical context that continues to adapt to changing existence.
SHI Zhen (b. 1989, Shandong, China) currently lives and works in Paris. Shi has recently shown at Zhejiang art Museum, Hangzhou (2019), OCAT Institute, Beijing (2019); Lianzhou Foto Festival, Canton, China (2018); national museum OCAT Shanghai and Shenzhen, China (2017&2018); Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing (2018); Festival La Gacilly, France (2017); Festival Circulation(s), Paris (2017), Espace Emergency, Vevey, Switzerland (2017), and Art book in China, Shanghai (2016) etc. Shi Zhen was also the Prizewinner of Emerging Gallery in Festival Photo La Gacilly (France, 2017), nominated for Foam Paul Huf Award (Netherlands, 2019) and for Mack First Book Award (UK, 2016).
The developing of a residency platform for photographers in the Verzasca Valley has begun in early 2015. Photographers from Switzerland and abroad are invited to stay for a period of time by creating their own projects, exchange experiences, have creative meetings and establish interaction between artists.
The residency takes place in an outlying and rural context where rhythms and dynamics may be different than the ones the artists are normally faced to in their daily life. Being fully immersed in pristine nature, the artists stand in a place where time is also given to inner reflexion, study and personal developing. The residency program is fully integrated with the Verzasca Foto Festival.
The Verzasca Foto Festival aims to promote emerging international photographers and to support visual arts in rural and peripheral areas, by giving free space through connection and dialogues with nature, offering access to different forms of expression and ways of visual storytelling. Local and international photographers have the opportunity to get together and share their visions and ideas in an informal environment.
(Banner image: Kwei-Yih #02, Shi Zhen)