-- Artist statement
As a child, when I was beaten and scolded severely by my family at home, a place I could not escape from, I would instinctively dissociate myself from that combat situation. I would imagine myself in another shadowy space far away, where I could float or sink without gravity. My body would become numb instantaneously and I could not feel any pain. Whenever I was overwhelmed with emotions of helplessness or alienation, I would fantasize about escaping to an unknown place, a forest or an island, where no one knows me, and I do not exist for any purpose. That process would bring me calm and peace temporarily.
Growing up, the language people used around me had always been negative and violent. However, my experiences with photography felt completely different. Just like how it was in my childhood, photography would take me to other worlds, which could not be reached in reality. Since children are too young to fight back, or change their terrible situation directly, I am curious about how they would create an imaginary “safe haven” for their own “self-redemption”, and to internalize the trauma that they had been through. In this work The Secret Place With Nowhere To Hide, follows the fragmented feelings of my childhood, I am trying to internalize my inescapable traumatic memories, the broken relationships, and the feelings of being alienated. This project explores the relationships between self and other, intimacy and isolation, as well as the body memories and internal emotions, and attempts to show how photography can conceptually reconstruct the inter-relationships among them.
Jiatong Lu 吕近⽉ is a mixed media artist and photographer based in New York. Born in 1988, she grew up in Northwest China and graduated with an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from the School of Visual Arts. Rooted in her own growth experiences, her work focuses on family, childhood trauma, self-identity, and gender issues, questioning the legitimacy of the disciplinarian culture that is deeply rooted in patriarchy and the traditional Chinese social structure. Jiatong is a 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Photography from The New York Foundation for the Arts.
More works & information: jiatongzoelu.com