Shadow paradox
Watercolour, hand cut paper and site-specific installation

Shadow paradox is a site-specific installation comprised of 3 parts: a landscape painting on hand cut paper suspended from a wall; long rolls of cinema film strips draped over a wall of rocks; and moving shadow images cast by a motorised light. Shadow paradox seeks to explore the intrinsic relationship between humans and nature.

In this work, Tianli Zu uses a combination of the handmade and technology to represent the changing nature of contemporary society. The work comments on some fundamental concerns, such as climate change and environmental, ecological, cultural, social, political, economical and technological sustainability. Zu’s delicate depiction of the Australian landscape on paper is a physical representation of its fragile and impermanent existence.

Rolls of film strips with the pictures in the frames, however, every image in the rolls of cinema film that constitute the base material has been neatly removed. Such act of removal, disposal and erasure invites viewers to fill the gaps and reinvent scenes in their own mind. While these film strips tell us literally nothing, and yet suggest everything.

Shadow paradox invites viewers to contemplate and reflect on the relationships between: the individual and society; warmth and brutality; nature and science; the material and immaterial; prescence and absence; and life and death.

North Sydney Art Prize 2019
Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability