Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Xueni Zhang (EMU)

Long Life, 2007
Paper and thread
Seven Ropes, 2007
Brown Paper
(Both Suspended nearby)

My name is Xueni Zhang, and I’m from China. My creation process is like the goddess Nüwa of ancient China, who created people with her hands. I use my hands to mold and build pieces out of my life story – always what I see, I feel, I think, and I experience with the people that I love the best, and the events that make my life splendid and full of joy. I use paper as the main material for all my work, because it is organic, it comes originally from a living thing, and it shares qualities with human beings. In my work I explore the potential of paper, using paper art techniques to give life to my personal experience.

My early work was focused on traditional graphic design. I did a lot of work on books, posters, and so on. Since I came to EMU, little by little, I changed my concentration to paper art. I have been fascinated by Chinese paper art since I was a little girl, so naturally I like using paper art techniques with my work. My advisors introduced Hollander’s (in Ann Arbor) to me, it’s a great store and also a school with a lot of beautiful paper and paper art workshop. They also showed me a lot of work made by paper artists. I think one of my biggest achievements I made since I came here, there was a way, a new language, to communicate with people through my work. I’m from China, and there are quite some elements in my work that can be identified of Chinese origin. I want to share my culture with people who are not from China.

My study as a graduate student at EMU helps me find a new language to better communicate.

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