“In traditional Chinese culture, the moon is a carrier of human emotions,” writes artist Yuge Zhou. “The full moon symbolizes family reunion.” This belief grounds Zhou’s meditative series of landscape drawings that etch wide, circular patterns in the beach along Lake Michigan and in snowy parking lots near her apartment.
The Chicago-based artist postponed a visit with her family in Beijing back in 2020 and has since channeled her longing to return into her ritualistic performances. Filming aerially at dawn, Zhou traces the patterns left by the moon with her suitcase and allows the glow of nearby light poles to illuminate the concentric markings. Stills from the videos appear more like dreamy renderings than footage, an aesthetic choice that corresponds with their allegorical roots in the Han dynasty legend, “The lake reflecting the divine moon,” about the universality of longing.
Having created five works in summer and winter, Zhou likens the pieces to “mantras suspended in a time of waiting.” Until she’s able to return to China, she plans to add more drawings to her collection and continue “bringing the moon down to me on the earth.” For more of the artist’s multi-media works, visit her site and Vimeo.
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