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. 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 cycles.
Zhu’s sculptures and paintings read like a map of his body’s passage through space. One can imagine the artist’s chaotic constructions made as though he were an adhesive, tumbling through an inexhaustible landscape of detritus. These densely textured pieces draw on the accumulation of disjointed histories and timelines. Through contemplating shifting grounds, Zhu’s pieces take on concrete shapes that highlight the fluidity of language and matter. Zhu's art insists on bridging the material and spiritual; his proposition is that matter, in its manipulation, has an alchemical relation to moods or states of mind, and vise versa. Zhu’s work is a meditation on how ideas influence material, how beliefs travel, become embodied and projected, through internalizing and externalizing, from one body to another—the exchange of mood and matter, matter and mood, and mood and matter.
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.