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Photography (MA)

Tianyu Mu

Tianyu Mu(b.1997, China) is currently living and working in London and Nanjing. Her works are mostly inspired by her daily experiences and are mainly based on moving images, with some photographic installations. She focuses on the position and status of the self in society and the development of personal destiny, her work often revolves around the relationship between society, groups, and individuals.

“Art, or visual art for me, is more a manifestation of self-awareness, the work is more about facing myself and then the whole world.”

Show Location: Battersea campus: Dyson & Woo Buildings, First floor

My work responds to my understanding of destiny and my exploration of good fortune through the Koi carp.

In the age of the internet, many people put their wishes on koi and post pictures of them on social media platforms to pray for good luck. The same is true for me, I often put my wishes on koi through social media platforms. Over time, I began to think about why I had developed this behavior, and what the meaning of koi, good luck, the future, and other symbols meant to me. What is destiny? How do I get good luck? Can koi bring me good luck? I began to experiment with visual language to find answers to my questions.

For different people, with different backgrounds and experiences, everyone is an individual and speaks his or her own language, and we communicate and connect with others through an event or a vehicle, a "multilingual drama" is played out in our lives every day.

In my practice, the girl put her wishes on the Koi, often posting pictures of them and writing down her wishes on social media in hopes that the Koi would bring her luck. Over time, she connects and communicates with the koi through this behavior, creating a language that sustains their relationship. Gradually, the koi is transformed from a single image of a fish to a materialization of the girl's inner world, a mirror image of her search for good luck in life.

In her dream, she meets a koi that can speak. They talk to each other, ask each other questions about each other's world, they talk about destiny, rituals, life, kites, the unknown... 

The Field of Wishes





According to Saussure's sign theory, Roland Barthes divides symbol into two systems: the first system is the superficial meaning of the combination of signifier and signified, that is the extension of the symbol; the signifier of the second system refers to the superficial meaning of the symbol in the first system, while its signified is given a deeper meaning, mainly a ideology. This signified is linked to the culture, environment, history, etc.. The meaning of the symbol of the Koi in my work belongs to the second system. In ancient Chinese tradition language, the Koi has the meaning of good fortune. At the same time, with the influence of the environment and culture, the Koi has become more than just an image, its expression and meaning have gradually changed.


140 x 70cm