Zenglin Solo Exhibition —— Night Creeper

30 April - 29 May 2022 Xiamen


Text/Xiao Ruiyun


The title of this exhibition, Night Creeper, marks Zenglin's nighttime strolls, as well as the quiet and marginal hidden state of the sceneries in his works, where the romance of the night is mixed with antagonism.


During his study abroad, Zenglin appreciated the winter nights of London during the pandemic as a spectator and shot To Euston. There were not many people on the streets at that time. The cathedrals and the foggy city under the shadows of the trees reveal the romance of light and darkness, as unforgettable as Brassaï's misty night in Paris in the 1930s.


Those gloomy crevices are the depths of night. In The Night of Developing Zone, life stalks through the night: security guards performing their duties, white dogs in captivity, plants growing wildly under overpasses; these hidden and marginal scenes are revealed under the flash, collectively constituting the silence and closure of urban developing zones in a country under the pandemic. Most light sources are real but random without the flash, and Zenglin experiences the catalytic influence of darkness on his emotions through them. The diffusion of light everywhere in his work resembles smoke about to be lit, and Zenglin captures the light at night in limbo. In the film of the same name, The Night of Developing Zone, he superimposes the sound of lighters and other items to accentuate this type of visual sense.


The images in the exhibition lead the audience to see in a moving condition, as if they were out for a nighttime stroll, whilst the film allows them to experience a different kind of linearity of time. The film, The Night of Developing Zone, draws on the montage approach of Chris Marker's film, La Jetée. The audience may follow Zenglin's wanderings in his own narrative and auditory environment, as well as within the white space of the images, where nighttime thoughts float around.


A Piece of Red Cloth, another film in the exhibition, is an experimental documentary that includes interviews with Chinese people on the public tragedy of smuggling, as well as a group of international students and those personal and emotional conversations. The "red cloth" as a collectivism symbol walks the streets like a ghost (shipping, subway, etc. featured in the film). It starts with the physical "wandering" of overseas Chinese between two places and investigates the oscillation between identity and alienation.


Artist Biography:

Zenglin graduated from University College London, majoring in Ethnography and Documentary film, and now lives in Shenzhen. His photography works have a strong documentary style and personal perspective. He is good at focusing on capturing fleeting moments and emotions. Meanwhile he is committed to exploring experimental documentary narrative methods and constantly exploring the boundaries between private style and visual form.


Personal website: https://www.zenglin.org/