Zou Zhao

Chinese is Not a Language! John Hansen intervenes

Chinese is Not a Language! John Hansen intervenes © Zou Zhao, Photo by Alex Ha
Chinese is Not a Language! John Hansen intervenes Courtesy of the artist. © Zou Zhao, Photo by Alex Ha


Though Zou Zhao’s parents are of Hu Bei origins, she migrated with her family to Singapore when she was six years old. Thus her recent interest in language can be said to be a direct result of her lived experience as a member of the Chinese diaspora in various cities. Taking her departure from a specific interest in the gap between English and Mandarin, her various works examine the role of the English language in the neo-colonial distribution of knowledge today. Under the globalized regime of signs, Zou Zhao recognises that an indeterminate diasporic identity suffices to testify against any claim to a language’s transparency, given that a contemporary subjectivity must be understood as produced by “translation”. Her works up to now have taken the form of video, performance and writing, and have examined the colonial legacy through the materiality of the voice. In her performances and video works, Zou Zhao takes the voice as a metonymy for the body, so as to raise questions surrounding identities and the perceived notion of “autonomy” within language.


Zou Zhao was born in 1989 in Fujian, China. She graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London ,with a BA in Fine Art, and completed her Masters degree in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2014. Her work has been shown in London at various venues, including the Camden Art Centre(2013), the UCL Art Museum (2013), no.w.here art space(2014), the Chinese Visual Festival (2014) and at Double Vision: Overseases Chinese Women Invitation Exhibition 2014, He Xiang Ning Art Museum, China. She has also co-curated The strange impression of seeing things for the first time at the Art Pavilion in 2013 in London, and was the recipient of the Berenice Goodwin Award for Performance from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2013.