zzzhou.diane at gmail.com
Like a discarded shattered screen being carted off to a Chinese recycling center, my paintings reflect and fragment their surroundings. Although I shrivel away from socializing at parties and shun chatty strangers, I hoard objects and images that contain traces of the search for human connection, and my paintings combine these artifacts with ghost ladies and squirmy creatures to create jagged, chimeric accumulations. Strangers’ thirst for comfort and understanding is fossilized in plastic and pixels, manifesting as discarded toys, business cards that advertise prostitution, and amateurish Taobao* photography. This collaging of romantic junk—a heart-shaped watermelon on a frothy pink wrapper, a serene woman embracing a large plush carrot—helps me navigate my blurry cultural heritage, and formulates connections across disparate experiences in the landscape of alienating digital communication.
*Chinese online shopping giant
Diane Zhou (b 1992) also has a Chinese name. She thought she knew how to write it, but then at age 23 she saw a famous panda with the same name pronunciation having a 37th birthday party, and realized it was written differently than she'd thought, causing her to spiral into an identity crisis.
This name is also shared with a robot goddess.
She thus adopted this Chinese name for 12 months, using it for all the work-related and social connections she made in Beijing. Then she asked her parents how it was written and she realized that she had been writing it wrong again.
It is actually written in a way that means "water reeds". Also, the panda is dead.