Exploring how one artist uses digital and new media art to play with our sense of reality and immersion, more than any other art forms can…

Elspeth Walker  |  Ed YoungMi Lamine  |  10 August 2020

Snow Yunxue Fu, “Conjoin Two” (2020) © Courtesy of the artist and Codame

Snow Yunxue Fu, an artist and professor based in New York, works primarily in 3D software, creating art that plays with the viewer’s sense of reality through creating abstracted scenes and translating the experience of liminality from the physical to the digital world. 

The liminal is a reoccurring theme in Snow’s work. Liminal, as Snow describes it, is: the sublime within digital space and the VR experience, conjuring up notions of time, space, and perception, and echoing the experience of the sublime in nature.’ Like many other digital artists, the work plays with a sense of reality. Yet the unique feature of Snow’s is how the viewer is brought in. The feeling of immersion is taken a step further with the aid of new media and digital mediums. Unlike the liminal which is often a state out of our control, here the digital forms create what Snow references as the ‘liminoid’; describing a state close to the liminal but is an active choice. Through virtual reality (VR) technology and 3D animation, Snow allows her viewers the choice to step in and submerge themselves in this new ‘techno sublime’ state.

via GIPHY

© Snow Yunxue Fu, Pool (2016). Courtesy of the artist.

The immersion that comes from both her installation works such as ‘Pool’, and digital video artworks make it hard for the viewer not to be pulled in. By drawing parallels between the physical, virtual and multi-dimensional, a new but familiar state is created. Through her work, Snow brings the human experience into situations it would often not be able to experience. Immersing the participant into not only a new virtual reality, but a new emotive state. Her art such as Trench explores more moral and philosophical issues, whilst her body of work exhibited in her latest exhibition ‘Liminality Liminoid’ in NYC captures the sense of stepping into new realities – no longer an observer.     

© Snow Yuxue Fu, Trench 2 (VR walkthrough recording excerpt) (2020). Courtesy of the artist.
© Snow Yuxue Fu, Pool, Installation Shot (2017). Courtesy of the artist.

Trench is one of Snow’s latest piece, created during the lockdown. Within this experimental 3D animation, you are pulled down through a digital space that resembles an abstracted ocean environment. The movement is not always fluid, and throughout you encounter CGI marine-like objects, distorting the sense of flow whilst resembling the imagined space. This contrast between the beauty of what is around and the sense of terror from nature, induced by the sharp movements and music, envelopes the watcher. The piece intends to document the disparity between the perceptions of environmental damage by humans, the scientific data, and the desire to preserve and enjoy nature. Taken from the idea that during this time of the global pandemic, less interference has resulted in a regrowth of coral. 

© Courtesy of the artist and Codame “Liminality, Liminoid” (2020) Installation view

Being placed in a position to explore a new sense of feeling is also captured in her installation work at ‘Liminality, Liminoid’. Again, the work explores the technological sublime, meaning an overwhelming sensation brought about from technology. This can be an occasional or lasting state of awe or terror, as a way to react to the intense and the infinite sense of realities. Here the digital medium helps extend the potential of this exploration. Not only can VR place one in physical reality, explore themes ‘traditional’ art forms, such as painting, have of the sublime, but also the digital realities such as the internet, we find ourselves surrounded in nowadays. 

Having started as a painter, and moving into digital art, Snow’s work shows how the new medium allows greater depth of introspection and questioning of our interaction with the world around. Resulting in her use of 3D technology putting the viewer back into experiences, and asking us to reflect on our humanity. 

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Snow Yunxue Fu Selected Artwork and Installation Documentation Excerpts:

-Gorges
-Side
-Pool
-Trench 2 (VR)
-Trench 1 (VR)
-Karst 1 (VR)
-Karst 2 (VR)
-Karst 3 (VR)
-Conjoin (Chapter 1)
-Conjoin (Chapter 3)
-Fire Line Studies
-Ground Fires
-Figment
-Slant
-Bask
-NYU Solo Show Installation Documentations

@ Snow Yunxue Fu (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

About the Artist

© Courtesy of the artist.

Snow Yunxue Fu is an international new media artist and curator.  Currently, she is an Assistant Arts Professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Key Achievement

With a background in painting and having moved into new media art, she remains the youngest artist collected by the National Art Museum of China.

Past Shows and Fair Booths

Solo Shows

  • 2020 Bask, Solo Window Display, Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  • 2020 Conjoin (Chapter 3), Solo Online Showing with …by artists project on the Arebyte on Screen (AOS)
  • 2020 Liminality Liminoid, Solo show, Multispace NYC, New York, NY
  • 2019 Karst, Snow Yunxue Fu Solo Show, Chazan Family Gallery, Rhode Island College, Providence RI.
  • 2016 Tunnel, solo show, DINCA Space and Double Frame Gallery, Mana Contemporary Chicago, Chicago IL.

Group shows

  • 2021 Two Person Shows, Gordon Parks Gallery at Metro State University in Saint Paul, MN
  • 2020 Conjoin (Chapter 2), File Festival, Cultural Centre of SESI in São Paulo City, Brazil
  • 2020 Bask, Third Chinese Women Video Art Festival, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 2020 Fire Line Studies, wwwunderkamme, Project by Carla Gannis, The Archive to Come, an – on-line AND in the gallery – exhibition of moving image work at Telematic Media Arts, Los Angeles, CA
  • 2020 Karst 1, Conjoin (Chapter 3), Karst 3, Electric Artefacts, New York, NY and London, UK

Fair booths

  • 2020 Snow Yunxue Fu Artist Solo Booth, Contemporary and Digital Art Fair (CADAF), online
  • 2019 Karst, Ptuj City Gallery, as part of the European Capital of Culture project Maribor in the 17th Art Stays Festival, in Ptuj, Slovenia.
  • 2019 The Galaxy Series and Earth Studies, Too Beautiful to be Real, Off-Site Project, The Wrong Biennial, the Internet
  • 2019 Karst, SUPERNOVA Digital Animation Festival 2019, Denver CO
  • 2019 Side, Tehran International Animation 11th Festival, Tehran, Iran
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