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New Artist Member: Wenhua Shi

Posted September 27th, 2021 in Announcements, New Acquisitions, New Digital Files, New Films, News / Events

Canyon Cinema is pleased to welcome Boston-based “new & old media artist” Wenhua Shi to the collection!

Wenhua Shi pursues a poetic approach to moving image making, and investigates conceptual depth in film, video, interactive installations, and sound sculptures. His work has been presented at museums, galleries, and film festivals, including International Film Festival Rotterdam, European Media Art Festival, Athens Film and Video Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Pacific Film Archive, West Bund 2013: a Biennale of Architecture and Contemporary art, Shanghai, Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism, and the Arsenale of Venice in Italy. He has received awards including the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and Juror’s Awards from the Black Maria Film and Video Festival.

Nine of Wenhua’s films are now available for rent from Canyon Cinema, including:

Concrete: Boston City Hall (2021, 24 minutes, color, sound, digital file)

I return to the idea of “ma” empty or open spaces (interval or pause in time). Traditionally, Chinese and Japanese aesthetic principles, reflecting Buddhist spatial ideas, focus on the use of empty or open spaces (“ma” in Japanese). During the pandemic, drones flying over the empty city became an over-saturated media coverage fixed our imagination into one way of reading a city/ space. The newest piece, titled Concrete: Boston City Hall, was created with this additional perspective and creates a contrast to legendary documentary filmmaker, Frederick Wiseman’s four-hour-long film, City Hall. Here I try to present the meditational quality of the empty city hall, The project was presented by local art organization Non-Event with support from MCC (the Massachusetts Cultural Council).

Because the Sky is Blue (2020, 4 minutes, color, sound, digital file)

Muybridge captured the galloping horse one hundred forty years ago in a brief 12 frames. The duration of today’s social media video clips is similar to Muybridge’s brevity. Wenhua tries to reimagine what subject Muybridge would capture today. All source footage is from Wenhua’s social media feed. He used the cyanotype method to reprint the individual frames to create the final short videos.

Gutai (2019, 8 minutes, color, sound, 16mm or digital file)

The film then takes an interesting tact by a change in perspective. Static spaces are activated with human motion moving through them, as opposed to the camera moving through the space to create the dynamism. In an exciting development, the filmmaker multiplies dynamism by introducing temporal displacement of the figure through editing (or most likely in-camera editing). The human figure flutters through the windows unbound by the constraints of time.

Senses of Time (2019, 5 minutes, color, sound, 16mm or digital file)

Senses of Time depicts the lyrical and poetic passage of time. The work reflects on time and focuses on defining subjective and perceptual time with close attention to stillness, decay, disappearance, and ruins.

the Rose (2019, 4 minutes, color, sound, digital file)

The Rose, Shi’s most recent experimental piece, alters the space, where a newly planted rose is overgrown through iron fence. The film explores the perception of the relationship between foreground and background. The process of editing pays tribute to the optical toy, a bird in a cage, from the pre-cinema period.

Die Nacht (Dedicated to Phil Solomon) (2018, 4 minutes, color, sound, digital file)

Prelude to Senses of time: The work reflects on time and focuses on defining subjective and perceptual time with close attention to stillness, decay, disappearance, and ruins.

Walking Cycle (2016, 8 minutes, color, sound, digital file)

The film opens with the abstracted image of a solitary dancer circling in a void. The purpose of the ritualized movement threaded throughout the film is obscured, but it functions as a reminder that performance and evolution are consistent elements in our lives.

Descending a staircase (2012-2013, 7 minutes, color, sound, digital file)

This work is a homage to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Created 100 years after the original piece, it is a meditation on the mechanical nature of cinema/ Moving Images, through its dynamic movement and fragmentation. The footage was captured at an apartment building in Beijing, China.

Endless (2006/2020, 12 minutes, color, sound, 16mm or digital file)

Endless is a meditation on the inevitable deterioration of certain traditional values that have been established (or destroyed) throughout civilization. This elegiac account uses symbolic representation from natural elements in order to convey the inevitability of remembering the social and cultural erosion, and places a layer of texture in front of the elliptical glimpses of imagery, separating the viewer from the past. The re-occurring image of flames remains untouched by the erosion aspects of reticulation, ultimately alluding to nature’s powerful quality.