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Sining Zhu, (b.1999 Beijing, China) is an interdisciplinary artist who works with installation, video, performance, sound, and multimedia. She lives in Los Angeles and studies for an MFA in Fine Arts at the California Institute of Arts. Her practice focuses on the complicated relationship and cognition of identity between the self and others and the interaction and separation of the individual and the group. Her enthusiastic roots in research and collective behavior, which she uses to explore contemporary art practice and reveal indisputable facts and hidden delicate sorrow in the social environment. By overlaying everyday, personal, reminiscent objects and accumulating new contexts and meanings to awaken collective resonance.

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Sining Zhu 朱思凝


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朱思凝在4C Gallery的个展 “波动抉择—不确定的未来”,包含了她在不同时期的五个作品。从主题的跨度来看,其作品的内核含量无疑是广大的,在某种意义上囊括和指涉了后现代社会反复讨论的一切话题。究其观看过程,人被无所不包地囊括在由装置、影像、行为、声音等多媒介构成的场域中。与其说观看者成为跨媒介艺术奇观的一部分,不如说他们更像是同她一起践行一种关于人类学的艺术表达。

Sining Zhu's solo show "Fluctuating Selection- Uncertain Future" at 4C Gallery features five pieces from various times. In terms of theme range, the main content of her works is undeniably vast, embracing and alluding to the problems frequently discussed in contemporary society in different contexts. During the visiting experience, people are immersed in installations, movies, performances, sounds, and other multimedia. However, rather than the audience becoming a part of a cross-media artistic show, it is more like an anthropological art expression as she practices.


Anthropology usually studies human civilizations and investigates the essence of human existence by examining the development of various social, political, economic, and religious systems, among other things, in multiple situations. To depict an authentic and dynamic relationship in the dual sociological context of postmodernity and fluid modernity construction, we must actively and repeatedly ponder and explore the ripples of each subtle aspect of life and the infinite possibilities and polysemy of connections beyond the ripples. Sining translates this basic logic into a study and collection-based creative process. "Repetition" becomes the process of deciding meaning and repeating history in the slow and repeated collection process, as if linking together the delicate "paths" like fine spider silk. As a result, the subtle existence is constantly detected.



Sining's work transcends anthropological research and is rich in artistry because reproduction and authenticity are no longer the only components of her work. Her work is neither about interpretation nor anti-interpretation. It is alive at their core, and she prefers to focus on the numerous connections that underpin the meaning of events rather than on "textual readings" of specific cultural slices. They are only renewed (or flow) when they are linked to the fresh, subtle threads of each person's life experience.



Regarding Sining's solo exhibition, the concept of biology, specifically "fluctuating selection" of natural selection, which refers to the evolution and change of animals and plants within a relatively short evolutionary time based on the most suitable survival principles, was introduced. The concept means that the world mixes and generates in ways that defy human comprehension, with each link nestled with limitless connections, possibilities, polysemy, and ambiguity waiting to be discovered. Thus, the exhibition theme is consistent with her works' philosophical concepts and creative logic.


在作品《我们正在蜕去什么?》(What Are We Shedding,2021)中,朱思凝通过收集不同人使用过的面膜,并将其制成透明宛如人类皮肤的衣服,营造出人类蜕皮的假象。而作品《另一种死亡》(The Another Death 2022)被作为它的延伸。艺术家身着其中一件“皮肤”,静静躺在透明亚克力容器中,等待被悬挂起的皮肤衣服中稀释出来的水分打湿,继而以水的形态全部融化消失在容器中,等待最后的汽化。面膜作为一种消费主义的表征,衣服作为一种外延,建立起一个等级森严的审美霸权体系。有关个体的身份认同和意识塑造被无可奈何地淹没在集体的潜移默化中。

"What Are We Shedding?" (2021) by Sining Zhu collects used face masks from different people and transforms them into transparent clothes resembling human skin, creating an illusion of human skin shedding. "The Another Death" (2022) serves as an extension of this work, where the artist wears one of the "skins" and lies quietly in a transparent acrylic container, waiting to be moistened by the water diluted from the soaked skin clothes suspended above, then gradually melting and disappearing in the container, waiting for the final evaporation. Masks as symbols of consumerism and dresses as an extension establish a hierarchical and aesthetic hegemony. The identification of individuals and the shaping of consciousness are helplessly submerged in the collective's subliminal influence.

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从《从清洗我,覆盖我》(Wash My Body,2023)开始,朱思凝似乎开始找到如何将作品与更大、更广袤的接入口相连方式。当艺术家身披“人体雕塑”伴随海滩日落,她以一种“实在”的方式,紧紧连接着自身与整个自然(宇宙)的关系。她把自己融入全景之中,并且真正感受着每一份震颤的“归属感”,以此朱思凝开启了一种摆脱了人类中心的意识关涉,摆脱以记忆为中心的回溯,以及以目的为考量的终点。

Starting with "Wash My Body" (2023), Sining seems to have found a way to connect her works to more extensive and broader contexts. When the artist wears a "human body sculpture" accompanied by a beach sunset, she tightly binds her relationship with the entire nature (universe) in a "real" way. In this immersive and genuine feeling of the "sense of belonging" of every tremor, Sining has opened up a consciousness of moving away from anthropocentrism, moving away from retrospectives centered on memory, and ending based on purpose.


作品《寻找腮盖骨》(scientific rationality,2023)所呈现的是:在淘金的挖掘手段和搜证式的“科学理性”话语体系下,探讨人类工业发展,生物群的离散与迁移,以及后人类主义式语境下的全球化带来的一系列问题。在这种动态适应中,伴随着复杂环境,多因素影响,其表现出可能的疑惑和结果,实际上与“日常生活中每一个细微事件”有极强的相似性。我们很难否定,自然选择的这种“波动选择”指向的是一种排除人类干涉之外的选择。怎样的视角?或宏观,或微观。什么是适当的时间尺度?循环或结束的节点是什么?这些疑问统统是多重宇宙图景上的一根蛛丝,联系交织是唯一确认无疑的因素。

Under the mining techniques and evidential "scientific rationality" discourse system, "Searching for Preopercular Bone" (2023) examines the issues of human industry, the dispersion and migration of biological groups, and some problems brought on by globalization in a posthumanist context. Its manifestations, possible doubts, and outcomes are strikingly comparable to "every subtle event in daily life" in this dynamic, adaptive, and complex environment with numerous influencing elements. It is difficult to contest that this "fluctuating selection" of natural selection indicates a decision that does not include human interference. The global or micro perspective, the proper temporal scale, the change's cycles or endpoints—all of these questions are threads in the many universe panoramas. Revealing and interwoven their relationships are intricate.


Although Sining and her works continue the narrative and reflection typical of post-war capitalism, they demonstrate a conflict beyond two-dimensional space and linear history. Unrelated participation or a far-off stare creates space. This vibrant sensibility and participation go beyond the "new sensibility" Sontag described, abandoning the aesthetic experience of the "gaze" with the intention of appreciation and moving beyond concerns with the seriousness and elegance of art or whether it is well-liked by the general public. Instead, it immerses itself in the ever-expanding anthropological panorama, "connecting similar questions in different contexts" and creating a larger intellectual space in the face of uncertainty.

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The artist hollows out cotton jackets gathered from San Francisco's renowned Chinatown, fills them with common Chinese spices, and lays them in a corner coated in ash in the piece "Corner" (2023), like a small forgotten space in this solo exhibition. There are connections between geography, history, immigration, memory, consumption, multiculturalism, individual identity, storytelling, and other factors. In this ways, viewers connect to Sining's "ethnographic map" by making the space apparent.


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