Blue and Red (蓝与红) – Zhou Tao

Han Nefkens Foundation — BACC Award for Contemporary Art 2013

MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), Barcelona
25.11.2015 — 30.11.2015

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
05.12.2015 — 10.01.2016

Text : Hilde Teerlinck (Curator)


Hilde Teerlinck ZHOU



The Chinese artist Zhou Tao is the winner of the first Han Nefkens Foundation – BACC Bangkok Asian Contemporary Art Award in 2013. As part of the Award he was invited for a residency in Bangkok and an individual exhibition in the Bangkok Contemporary Art and Culture Centre the next year.

During his stay in Thailand, he realized a new video-film, entitled ‘Blue and Red’ (2014). The film was shot during a turbulent period in the political life of the country: a time with violent confrontations between anti-government demonstrators and the police, a situation that could be compared with a civil war.

But Zhou Tao’s final movie is not a political or social documentary, but rather a more poetical reflection about our everyday reality in general. He combines in ‘Blue and Red’ in fact two completely opposite situations: the crowded chaos he experienced in Bangkok and contemplative, quiet images of the cities, the life and the nature recorded in China. Thus, by editing his film he creates a flux, a kind of third, new reality. The artist mixed up during his stay with the anti-government protestors rebelling all night in Bangkok’s main squares, risking his life and even getting shot by the police. These politically charged images are mixed by the artist in its final edition with poetical shots of nature’s calm beauty.

This way the artist tries to express the strong emotional fluctuations he experiences in the filmmaking process and how it pushes him to create a kind of ‘dual reality’. The stories he creates exist simultaneously in reality, as do the landscapes and characters that are his protagonists.

The artist himself defines his film and his working method and thinking as follows: “I think of image not as a way to document the cruelness of life, or for example the psychedelic vertigo of the blue LED lights on a square, but more as a means of connecting the surface and skin or even what is hidden under it, from double to rebirth. At a time when everyone can take out his or her phone to film, we have actually all developed a new human reflex, discovering new lines of ‘thinking’, ‘seeing’ and ‘feeling’. This act has become so ordinary that we almost neglect it: a new basic poetics is born, that allows us to function using and exploring the possibilities of a new sensory antenna.


MACBA (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), Barcelona
25.11.2015 — 30.11.2015

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