Zhao Renhui's work is based on the concept of doubt and uncertainty and in his creation, The Institute of Critical Zoologists (ICZ), he tests to the limit the principles behind the dissemination of knowledge and acceptance of truths. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions including at The Singapore Art Museum, Jendela, Singapore; Fukouka Art Museum, Japan; Photo Levallois, Paris; Seoul Arts Center, Korea and The Arts Gallery, London. His work was also shown in The Singapore International Photography Festival where he won the Emerging Artist Award (2008). He has also won the Sony World Photography Awards Fine Art Categories (2010 and 2011). He received the Deutsche Bank Award in Photography in London (2011) and was awarded the Singapore National Arts Council Young Artist Awards (2010), the highest national accolade for young artists in Singapore. In 2009, he won the most distinguished art prize in Singapore, The
United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award. Renhui's work, the ICZ, was also selected by Pauline J Yao (Curator, Beijing) for her 'Best of 2010' in Art Forum magazine.
For more information, visit Zhao Renhui's website here
In January 2008, Renhui collaborated with the Centre for Ornithology in an attempt to document the phenomenon of birds migrating to the poles. The Institute banded a few thousand migratory birds over two months. Besides tagging the birds with a metal band on their legs, the artist included a small pin-hole camera near each band. Inside each camera was a very small sheet of positive photographic paper of extremely low sensitivity. The pin-hole exposed the image directly onto the paper, and allowed for a positive image to be formed as long as there was light going through the pin-hole. In June 2010, 50 of the birds were found dead in the Arctic Circle. 30 of the birds still had their cameras intact and 12 cameras actually created an image of the birds' confused migratory journey to the Arctic.
What Renhui found intriguing when he enlarged the images was that the birds' journeys were captured in all the blurry colourful hues we see in the images. Parts of the mountainous Arctic landscape however, registered quite clearly. The only way that these landscapes could have formed on the paper was when the birds came to a final rest and laid on the ice, because that would give the pin-hole camera enough time to form a clear and still image - which is probably the last view of the birds before they died.