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69 Capel Street, West Melbourne VIC 3003

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About

Kings Artist-Run provides a location for contemporary art practice, supporting distinctive experimental projects by artists at all stages of their careers.
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KINGS Artist-Run acknowledges the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate.

We offer our respect to Elders both past and present and extend this offer to all Australian First Nations people.

Death is in Her Sunday Nights’ Dreams

Cristea Zhao


03 February 2022–26 February 2022

Seven years on, my mother is still dreaming about her deceased father, but only on Sunday nights. This reoccurring echo approaches as an embodied melancholic solution to coping with loss through repetitive and prolonged fixation on it. Moreover, it transmutes her body into a vessel that perennially reclaims an internalised object that is long gone.

Burning paper money is the major death ritual among Chinese communities, and it’s also an intimate personal memory between my mother and me. Through presenting and articulating such ritual in a non-linear, layered and looping manner, I intend to investigate the repetition and transformation embedded in it, and its correlation to melancholia as a failed attempt at settling accounts with the past. Considering the traditional role of women folding the paper money, this work further invites the viewer to imagine an interconnection between a symbolic vessel and a reproductive and melancholic body.

This is about her and her melancholia – she devotes herself in her Sunday nights’ dreams; she objectifies herself into a paper vessel; she is destined to consume herself.

Death is in Her Sunday Nights’ Dreams is presented as part of STRAY VOLTAGE, KINGS Artist Run’s iterative video program, collaboratively facilitated by Rebecca McCauley and Aaron Claringbold. Looking to the potential that exists between seemingly incompatible ideas, STRAY VOLTAGE premises an experimental program of critically engaged moving image works, fundamentally grounded by the earth.

STRAY VOLTAGE is supported by the City of Melbourne 2022 Annual Arts Grants Program.

To view the room sheet click here.

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  • Cristea Nian Zhao comes from a background in film. She has written and directed several narrative short films and documentaries. Since immigrating to Australia in 2018, her practice has expanded into performance, video installation and text-based work. Language, spoken narrative and shared listening are crucial to her practice. Her interest is in unearthing various forms of loss from personal history and collective memory. The possibility/impossibility of mourning and reconciliation frequently lies beneath her works. Zhao recently graduated from RMIT with a Masters in Fine Arts.