Original State Of Mind – Zhou Li

Zhou Li’s first solo exhibition in the UK entitled, ‘Original State Of Mind’, relates to the unique way that Zhou Li creates art. Throughout her practice, she seeks to question the relationship between herself and her surroundings.

The way people normally view the world is as through a window, from inside out or outside in, but I try to stand in the middle. I see myself from a neutral point of view, and I see the world from a neutral point of view at the same time.

Zhou Li

In her abstract paintings, Li attempts to position herself outside of the usual parameters of perception – a process that is normally seen as subjective or objective. Attempting to access and unhindered way of observing and understanding, she considers both herself and the objects around her as equally valuable to her art. The sensibility of rationality is challenged, by prioritising the phenomenal understanding of life – and her own experience of it.

Zhou says that when she paints she imagines her subject and communicates with it through her painting. This ‘subject’ could be herself, another person, an event or simply an emotion. It can derive a kind of meditation. This subject matter is then consciously re-perceived as an object, reduced to pure experience. This touched me due to my understanding of meditation and the benefits of living in the present moment, escaping the chamber of the mind and the judgement or perception that comes with it.

The artist describes this position as ‘the middle of the window’ suggesting that experience shapes consciousness, and she examines both. Through this approach, Zhou attempts to access ‘original thought’. This inclusive approach relates to the Eastern philosophy of the mind, which underpins this beautiful exhibition.

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