For the launch of Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group in The Lab, Robert Zhao Renhui, founder of The Institute of Critical Zoologists, discusses the scope of his two-year long investigation as well as the research process and methodological approach developed as he ventured into the fractured ecosystem of Christmas Island. Merging scientific observation and artistic speculation, Zhao frames the absurdity of the real and weaves multiple narratives that address the uneasy relationship between humans and the natural environment.
Robert Zhao Renhui (Singapore) is a multidisciplinary artist persistently twisting reality and fiction, with an artistic practice that addresses the relationship between humans and nature challenging accepted parameters of objectivity and scientific modes of classifications. Over the years, Zhao has appropriated codes and conventions of documentary photography and museum display to compose compelling narratives that problematise the notion of truth. His work has been exhibited in numerous international exhibitions including: Jakarta Biennale (2017); 7th Moscow Biennale (2017); and 20th Sydney Biennale (2016). He received the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 2010 and was a finalist for the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists 2017. He is Artist-in-Residence at NTU CCA Singapore until March 2018.
Image credit: Robert Zhao Renhui, Fig 105. A frigate bird using an abandoned pool in a deserted casino to drink freshwater, 2013, photograph. Courtesy the artist.