Man (Jane) Zhu

1994 & 1999: Hold My Hand, 2021

Archival pigment print

13 x 13 inches, framed to 16.75 x 16.75 inches

Edition 1 of 1 (special edition for PCNW)

Retail value $500

© and courtesy Man Zhu

The series, “UnFrame: Relationship,” explores my own subconscious mind and intimacies using an abstract visual language based on the principles of semiotics, the analysis and interpretation of signs and symbols. Its portraits of family, friends, colleagues, and myself are made with expired films that correspond to the dates of their subjects’ birth. This concept introduces elements of distortion and chance to the images, which are then further deconstructed in a collage fashion. The often surprising, sometimes unrecognizable end result corresponds to the disconnect between expectation and reality often found in human relationships. The superimposed films are from 1994 and 1999 respectively, which are the year my boyfriend and I were born. Age differences may lead to cognitive differences. We love each other, but we are still two independent individuals.

A fine-art photographer based in New York, Man (Jane) Zhu has received wide recognition for her work, including a book prize from the International Photography Awards, the Critical Mass 2022 Top 50 of Photolucida, and the finalist from LensCulture’s Art Photography Awards. Her photographs have been exhibited throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as in her native China, and have been published in a number of art magazines. Zhu received her MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and completed her Master’s in Digital Photography at New York’s prestigious School of Visual Arts. Her most recent body of work, Unframe: Relationship, applies the principles of semiotics to explore her own subconscious mind, using outdated films to make statements about memory.

Man Zhu was one of Photolucida’s 2022 Critical Mass Top 50 artists. This image was selected to be included in PCNW’s 2023 exhibition, Imminent Existence, which showcased one piece of each of the Top 50 artists.

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