Everything Near Becomes Distant
The story of a journey, from one twilight to another. Children are playing in a yard. From the way they move, we finally realise that they are bereft of sight. The words of the blind describe perceptions that are heightened (the volume of things) or totally absent (“no black: a bottomless crater”). A voice answers them, the voice of Yunyi Zhu, who experienced in the isolation imposed by Covid a world lacking certain dimensions: a visible and audible exterior but barred to touch; tactile fruits, but with no taste or smell. This experience changes the course of the film, from an inquiry into poetry, from testimony to scansion – the through-line being the story of another twilight: the blindness creeping up on a friend. The filmmaker assembles images where some of the information they normally contain has been amputated: a blurred globe on which words are illegible, a drum without its sound, trees filmed against the light without their colours. He accumulates paradoxes, such as a friendship that survives despite the distance separating France and China. Words, spoken, written, printed in Latin script or in braille, serve as passages between the dimensions. Their capacity to transmute creates a shared space. While the opening twilight showed an unstable, gradually disintegrating form, the film closes on the brutal disappearance of the sun. In the blink of a cut, the reddish glow gives way to the plenitude of blueness, but this still resonates with the vibration of a silent instrument.
Yunyi ZHU is a Chinese artist whose practice questions memory and perception. He graduated from Tsinghua University Academy of Fine Arts in sculpture, Esä in art and science. Since 2020, he has been updating artistic research at Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains. His works are based on the combination of a series of personal experiences relating to the uses of some of our underestimated senses in the field of art, such as touch, and the questions of memory. He transforms these experiences and memories into works by various approaches of mediums.
Le Fresnoy – Studio national des arts contemporains