oil on canvas
300 x 200 cm
Against a background of dusty distant hills and piles of building rubble a tilted old sink, rusted and dirty, is half filled with brackish water. Tiny human figures in swimming costumes, caps and sunglasses float as if they are in an upmarket resort pool rather than an abandoned wash basin. Children play near the drain at one end and women chat, holding onto the side, in deeper water. This scene is utterly familiar, yet utterly strange. The overwhelming atmosphere is of humans oblivious to catastrophe, perhaps to looming environmental disaster. Zhou Jinhua’s characteristic technique – miniature figures with long, cast shadows are observed from an aerial perspective – suggests their powerlessness, for example in his series representing the forced demolition of people’s neighbourhoods. Zhou paints ordinary everyday objects and people, but his dramatic perspective, exaggerated light and shadow, and strange juxtapositions create surreal miniature worlds that make us see familiar things in a new way.