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The 25th “1_WALL” Graphics Competition Grand Prize Winner

Zhao Wenxin Exhibition: “ Did you see the cat ? ”

  • DATES : Tue. April 4 - Sat. May 13, 2023
  • HOURS : 11:00a.m.-7:00p.m.
  • Closed Sundays, and April 29 (Sat) through May 7 (Sun). Admission free.

    On April 19, Wednesday, the gallery will close at 6:00 p.m. in order to prepare for that evening’s Talk Event.

Zhao Wenxin won the Grand Prize in the 25th “1_WALL” Graphics Competition for “Void Space,” five video presentations incorporating illustrations that capture humans in their most natural and realistic way, as recorded by security camera. The judges gave high marks to Zhao’s creative zeal, exemplified by her continual updating of her work throughout the three months from the first round of judging to the last; to her expressive strength, the way she infused her works with noise on the assumption that they would be shown on old-fashioned TV screens; and to her skill in directing how her works would be displayed.

For her solo exhibition, Zhao chose the theme of “space just large enough for one person.” Using 3D computer graphics, she designed small rooms just 10 centimeters square. On display will be works she edited into videos, as well as three-dimensional works made by 3D printer. Inside her small rooms, the imagined and the real mix together. In one, her subject keeps searching for a cat that never shows up; in another, she sleeps on a volcano that is about to erupt. Today, amid the pandemic people have become increasingly aware of space occupied by one person, and Zhao uses 10 types of room to express the solitude, sense of security and other emotions experienced in confined spaces by everyone.

Visitors are sure to enjoy seeing the works Zhao Wenxin has created in the roughly 9 months since she received her Grand Prize. On April 19 (Wed), an online talk event will bring Zhao together with art director and graphic designer Yuri Uenishi.















Zhao Wenxin

Born in 1996. Currently studying Design in the Graduate School of Art and Design of Tama Art Univers...

Message from the Artist
Every day, I wake up in my box and walk into another, a box that moves.
Then I arrive at my next destination – someone else’s box.
Each box has a mood, sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Sometimes the box is big, and sometimes small.
Sometimes I like being in there, sometimes not.
That’s why, from time to time, I fill the box up, and then empty it again.
Or I go out for some fresh air, or think about getting a new box.
In my box, sometimes I feel secure, like jumping into a black hole.
If I close my eyes, I can feel the space in the box expanding.
A day feels like an hour, and measuring time loses its meaning.
At times, I have searched for a cat that doesn’t exist.
Have you perhaps seen it?

Zhao Wenxin

Message from One of the Judges
All of Zhao Wenxin’s works share a strong awareness of “perspective.” She seems to place importance on the angle and distance between herself and her subject, to allow her to observe reality without disturbance. Her Grand Prize-winning work was created from videos recorded by security camera, and “perspective” itself appeared to be the focus of her works. But her videos weren’t shots of reality, but actually illustrations drawn by Zhao herself and given motion. So, in every detail they are fiction that she consciously created. This incongruous combination of emotionless views captured by security camera and the gentle warmth of her illustrations gives Zhao’s work an altogether unique touch. To what extent this was done by intent is unknown, however.

The people who appear in Zhao’s visuals are always alone in various urban settings. By depicting solitude like an asteroid floating within the expansive universe, paradoxically she creates a relationship between her work and the viewer. What gives her works their persuasive power, rather than being simplistic, is Zhao’s fortitude and acute judgment in selecting her scene. This expressive strength that comes from her power of judgment would likely not change whether her works are still or moving images, flat or 3-dimensional, analogue or digital. Her clever skill in capturing vignettes of time or space is seamless to the point of being cold and callous. Before we know it, Zhao’s works are completed. It’s only later that we find ourselves surprised at their tremendous scale.

Kazunari Hattori (graphic designer)

Organizer: Guardian Garden