“I make art so that I can tolerate my own existence.” —Yan Baishen
Born Lanzhou City, Gansu, 1977; Harbin, Heilongjiang, 1978
Yan Baishen’s father worked in a top-secret military factory on the Loess Plateau, in northwestern China. Sequestered from the rest of the nation, his family were untouched by the changes that swept through it in the 1980s and ’90s. Ketchup, made with his wife Guo Chunning (who wrote the script and co-directed), is based on his childhood experiences. Using red ketchup as a metaphor for blood, it conveys how small, personal events in memory become inseparably intertwined with larger, historical ones.