Singaporean visual artist Robert Zhao Renhui is well known for his works that pair fiction and fact together in a provocative manner, which often leave the viewer unable to decipher where one ends and the other begins. His multi-disciplinary approach is centred on his observations of the natural world, but instead of documenting it, he constructs layered narratives provoking doubt in viewers as to the status of the works as documentary or fiction.
Zhao presents his art investigations through the Institute of Critical Zoologists, an online organisation that he set up in 2008 with the stated aim of advancing unconventional, even radical, means of understanding human and animal relations.
With real animal traps, invented insect species, a guidebook on the flora and fauna of the world, fallen trees, Zhao’s works runs a wide spectrum. What is consistent though is his yen for urging the viewer to look at things beyond what they seem to be.