BFA Cooper Union, 2010
MFA Yale University, 2020
Ye Qin Zhu was born in Taishan, China (1986), to farmers who met in the factories of Shenzhen city. Swept by the promises of modernity, his family immigrated to NYC in 1990. He grew up in a house with a village-style vegetable garden in the cosmopolitan neighborhood of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. These histories propel him. Their currents—manufacture and gardening, modernity and displacement, anarchy and citizenry, spirit and material—are split modes that fold over, burrowing and resurfacing. Through art-making, Zhu is in conversation with their movements.
Healing is at the core of Zhu’s work. Drawing from his personal experiences of home-seeking, Zhu finds common ground for solace through image-making and storytelling. His depictions of the spirit shattering and then mending (Continuations, 2020) are meditations on how ideas can press onto the body and mind. Zhu insists on bridging the material and the spiritual; his proposition is that matter, in its manipulation, has an alchemical relation to moods or states-of-mind, and vice versa. Zhu's art depicts how beliefs can travel, become embodied or projected, through internalizing and externalizing, from one body to another—the exchange of mood and matter, and matter and mood. Wounds and remedies may travel these routes. From this root relation, Zhu seeks pathways towards personal, ancestral, and social healing.
From 2014 to 2016, Zhu and his brother ran an art school called Redwood Art Studio. With an emphasis on exploration and personal growth, the school taught drawing and painting to the kids in the community they grew up in, Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In 2012, Zhu co-created Socotra Studio, a collaborative project exploring material property, ritual, craft, and function. From 2008 to 2012 and 2016 to 2017, Zhu was the Program Coordinator at Art Palestine International, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to exhibiting contemporary Palestinian art. From 2020 to present, Zhu is the Innovation Fellow at Yale Tsai CITY, working with the newly renovated Yale Schwarzman Center to reopen early 2021 with engaging arts programming.