• Relative Humidity - Zhu Hao Solo Exhibition

    Artist: Zhu Hao
    2021.6.26 / 16:00 - 18:00
    Duration: 2021.6.18.20 / 10:00 - 18:00 Daily Open
    Venue: OFOTO&ANART, 2F, Bldg.13, 50 Moganshan Rd., Shanghai, China

    Relative Humidity

    by Zhu Hao


    Always on evenings from the start of the plum rains to the typhoon season, the smell of cooking with thick red sauce would waft from the window of a nearby lane, along with the voice of the weather forecast over the radio, "Relative humidity 86%......"

    Sunny days in Shanghai is not so glamorous as the rainy or torrential days which are full of texture. The brick walls of the alleys, the faded paint of the shikumen, the umbrellas hanging in the patio, the bleached out clothes forgotten, the plastic toys left outside by children - each takes on a bright but heavy color when wet.

    Once again in the lane, a few abandoned belongings lie scattered, left by an someon who seemed disappeared unexpectedly. The windows of the messy wing rooms or narrow garrets remain open, and the fresh air of a light drizzle mixes with the sour must of the space. The smell’s been accumulating for years, and is similarly wet: old baijiu, stale cooking smell, the faint odor of makeup, a yellow patch seeping through the wall, the residue of tobacco somewhere from the ceiling, bedding and old clothes left wet then heated by the summer again...

    On the western wing of a shikumen in the former Nanshi district, canisters of Lucky film, paper card meters, and light filters in red, yellow, and green are strewn about the floor, making me wonder if it had been the home of a hobbyist like myself. In an open drawer of a dresser, a pile of 5 - or 7-inch colored travel or landscape photos are left out, yanked from their album. Perhaps because the plastic photo bag had become damp, the front is sticky and peeling in patches, and the back is covered with large, tawny water stains.

    I always believe that human stories can be told despite the absence anyone in the pictures. Images are more than color and shadow. They must contain smell and humidity.

    Urban space works just like the evolution of the natural world, from changes of the landscape, to the iteration and transformation of its mechanism, nothing paricularly different. The only thing we simply can’t cross is our affection for the old days. Looking back at the changes in Shanghai over the past decade or decades, naturally the nostalgia of certain generations lingers. But as to the things a hundred years ago, they would be only a few bland pages in the history books.

    Retaining Relative Humidity is as helpless as taking pictures. It is just a little consolation to the melancholic sentiments, and there bloomes slowly the tiny flowers of mildew.