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artists' books, Baker & Whitehill
Book and Paper
Year of Graduation
BRDD, Printmaking, Literary Arts
Faculty / Course
Not associated with a course, personal project.
Materials + Techniques
mirrored acrylic, encaustic process with Japanese papers (kozo & gampi), velvet cloth, vellum, photo intaglio, photo-polymer
This book is a [relic] of an ephemeral performance-installation with the same title: . The installation consists of 15 pieces of ice sculptures with “shadow drawings” printed onto them, poetry & sound composition and a video projection of a footage of night sea; in the performance, the ice would [decease]—i.e. melt—into water gradually and at the same time, the shadows contained in the ice would be liberated, along with intermittent words of poetry that also emerge from the ambient music (also composed by Xu.) Both the book and the performance are contemplation of the idea of in relation to Zen & Buddhist concept of life & death, and how one could embody rather than opposing the other. When the ice melt into water, it does not disappear but enters a new life—believing this ephemeral performance defies a traditional way of documentation (that strives to replicate the process/or “to make a mummy” out of the documented work so as to prevent the decease from taking place—such as filming,) Xu decided to make a “resting place“ instead, for theses “deceased performers”—this book is not a reproduction of the poems/chants, the shadow prints nor the ices forms, but a “shadow” of all of them—a small tomb, a relic they reside, a soft bed to sleep and dream its next life into.
Hannah Nigro, PH 2023
Zhu, Susie; Collections, Special; and Library, Fleet, "funeral: shadows walking into a thin slumber of sea" (2021). 8th Baker & Whitehill Student Artists' Books Contest 2022. 42.