A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World
Initiated by Zhao Renhui
Designed by H55 in Singapore
55 plates with documents and booklets contained in a hand-crafted archival box
34 x 24 x 3 cm, individually signed with a 21 x 14.8 cm issued print certificate
To what extent can we trust photography and science? Singaporean photographer Robert Zhao Renhui (born 1983) explores this question in A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, which appears to be an authentic catalog of plants and animals but is in fact entirely fictitious.
Renhui’s guide documents 55 different animals, plants and environments that have actually been manipulated by man but do not appear to be, and examines the myriad ways in which humans are altering nature. Here “are curious creatures that have evolved in often unexpected ways to cope with our changing world, including rhinoceroses with barely visible horns and monkeys dependent on food handed out by humans.” Other organisms in the series are the products of human intervention, mutations engineered to serve various purposes, such as man-made gelatin grapes, genetically modified tomatoes and “unbreakable” eggs.
edition of 500
ROBERT ZHAO RENHUI
Robert Zhao Renhui is constantly fascinated with Singaporeans’ controlled coexistence with nature, and his practice is drawn from observations and research inspired by his genuine curiosity about how man interacts with the natural world. He creates photos with a documentary approach, constructing and layering the subject with narratives that cross the boundary between the real and the fictional, creating doubt in the viewer about the image’s authenticity. Robert’s work raises questions about both our fascination with controlling nature and how our reception of a photograph can be manipulated by its presentation. Robert graduated with a Masters (with Distinction) in Photography, Graduate Scholarship Programme from the London College of Communication, London, United Kingdom in 2010 and a BA in Photography from the Camberwell College of the Arts, University of the Arts, London, United Kingdom. Some of his selected solo exhibitions include Final Report of the Christmas Island Expert Working Group, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore (2018), Christmas Island, Naturally, ShanghART M50, Shanghai, China (2017), Singapore, Very Old Tree, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore (2017), A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World, Centre of Contemporary, Photography, Melbourne, Australia (2015), and Flies Prefer Yellow, Kadist Art Foundaton, San Francisco, California, USA (2014) amongst many others. He has also participated in group exhibitions extensively both locally and internationally such as Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, France, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Poland, United States, Australia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Albania. His works are in the collection of the National Museum of Singapore, Singapore, UBS Art Collection, UBS Global, Statoil Art Collection, Stavanger, Norway, Kadist Art Foundaton, San Francisco, USA UOB Art Collecton, Singapore, and Singapore Art Museum, Singapore. Robert lives and works in Singapore.