Zhen Shi 石真 (born in Shandong September 9th 1989, in Northeast of China) is a Franco-Chinese visual artist whose work brings together storytelling and artistic aesthetic. She has focused on several themes including the intricate relationship between realities and memories, self-identity questions, sociological documentations and also the changing landscape of her homeland.
Her series Kwei Yih is a project deeply rooted in her own personal experience. She explains: “After many years of roaming away from home, I found myself falling into a state of anxiety and helplessness, eagerly looking to regain a sense of belonging. However, it is such a complicated emotion. I can still call it a feeling of happiness when the nostalgia and homesickness come to me. I will never be like a floating weed or a falling leaf, as home always lies silently within somewhere deep in heart.
I started this project in 2012, with the first chapter ‘North by Northwest’, while I had to choose a future. But I couldn’t understand why we need to choose such a lot of things in such a young age. I escaped to the northwestern border of China, where nobody knows me. And then I may choose to choose nothing. One year later, I came down along the border until southwest, when I tried to redefine something – about where I am and where I’m going – during the second chapter ‘South by Southwest’.
I was troubled with some self-identity questions that moment, and was always alone in Blue Moon Valley, watching the crowd coming across and passing by. Sometime not even any people around, there are just empty stills coming one next to another, gently telling some emotions which cannot be named. To me, this is the greatest freedom, and the deepest loneliness.
Finally, I realized that all things I was looking for during these years, in fact it is about how to accept ‘oneself’ as a part of ‘exist’ when the identities questions and all kinds of nostalgias come to embrace me. I have no choice but to fight alone with the helplessness as well as the weakness in human’s nature, perhaps that’s why people say life makes us strong. Therefore, the third chapter ‘Southern Land’ was created. The whole project of Kwei Yih divides into 5 chapters. The other two upcoming chapters are not yet finished. ‘Eastern Home’ is in progress; it presents the changing landscape of my homeland, an industrial town that is disappearing. For last chapter ‘Beyond The North’, my journey will end by following the railway Trans-Siberian from my homeland to Paris, where I currently live and work.
In this sense, Kwei Yih is not only a journalistic record of the long way that I have come, but also a work about remembrance, imagination and self-comfort.”
More information: www.shi-zhen.com