GALLERY

Robert Zhao Renhui

“Watching A Tree Disappear”

2021Excellence Award

ARTIST STATEMENT

Watching A Tree Disappear

In 2018, a giant albizia tree fell after a storm. I wanted to document how the tree will decay and eventually disappear. I installed a camera to monitor the tree for 24 hours, 7 days a week. The camera is capable of recording ‘movement’ as video clips. Everytime a video is recorded, it will be sent to me via a mobile network. I have programmed the camera to send the video to a live streaming website.

Some days, nothing will happen. Some days there may be 2 or 3 telecasted videos. If I am lucky and happen to be beside the screen, I would be able to witness some animals as they use the tree to move through the forest.

As an artwork, this is a live video.

This project will go on until the tree decays completely into the ground.

Video (13:35)

Selecting judge: Gwen Lee

The 3 elements of photograph – time, space, and light are addressed with nature as focus.
Observing live video derived from webcam installed at the forest, the fallen tree is a shared space for other nature and wildlife. The changing light and shadow are captured on webcam which shows passing of time. The fallen tree became time, not the time as we known as human, but the nature time to recovers, replenish, and rejoin back to the earth which will in turn nourish the forest. It takes time is the perhaps the underlying statement from the artist to the world.

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PROFILE

Robert Zhao Renhui

Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1983, Singapore) is a multi-disciplinary artist and the founder of the Institute of Critical Zoologists. His artistic practice addresses the human relationship with nature.
Zhao received his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Photography from Camberwell College of Arts and London College of Communication respectively. His work has been exhibited in international group shows such as Busan Biennale 2020; Singapore Biennale 2019; Asia Pacific Triennial, Queensland, Australia, 2018; Jiwa: Jakarta Biennale, Indonesia, 2017; 7th Moscow Biennale, Russia, 2017; 20th Sydney Biennale, Australia 2016; Les Recontres d'Arles, France, 2015.
Amongst his more recent solo exhibitions in Singapore are The Nature Museum, commissioned by Singapore International Festival of Art (SIFA) and The Bizarre Honour, realized for OH! Open House, both in 2017.
Zhao has undertaken residencies at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France, and Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, United States, and the Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan. He was awarded the Young Artist Award by the National Arts Council in 2010 and was a finalist of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award 2017 and the 12th Benesse Art Prize in 2019.
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2021Excellence Award

Robert Zhao Renhui

Watching A Tree Disappear

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