HONG KONG.- Ooi Botos
will present In a perfect world . . . featuring the works of pioneering and highly influential Beijing‐based artist Xing Danwen in her first Hong Kong solo exhibition. Starting from November 27, 2009 to February 27, 2010, In a perfect world . . ., comprising two of Xing Danwens seminal series Duplication and Urban Fiction, will be on view. Both bodies of work comment on and raise questions about modernization, the concept of the ideal in contemporary culture and the clash between idealized modernity and reality.
Xing Danwens Duplication, a series of six photographic works, raises issues of identity and aesthetic choices in the era of genetic cloning. The works, composed and photographed in toy factories, comprise assorted groupings of toy dolls' body parts. These dolls represent theoretical prototypes of modern societys ideal. "Urban Fiction" continues the thread of social commentary, which runs through "Duplication", utilizing the architectural maquettes used to pre‐sell real estate developments in China as both visual motif and mode of exploring the anomie and atomization of human life in rapidly modernizing China.
Xing Danwens unsettling compositions expose the effects that oppressive urban standardization imposes on human creativity and individualism. Conformity to aesthetic and social standards leads to monotonous individuals distinctiveness is neither encouraged nor valued.
Xing Danwen, a graduate of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and School of Visual Arts in New York, was born during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She is one of a small group of pioneering artists who explored the boundaries of photography as an art form in the late 1980s and 1990s, emerging post‐2000 with a mature and influential oeuvre. At a time of great societal change, Xing Danwen, through her photographs and installations, reflects and comments on the predicament of contemporary urban societies particularly Chinese identity and the psychological toll on humanity that globalization exacts.
Xing Danwens works have been exhibited internationally by renowned museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Centre George Pompidou. Her works are also part of important contemporary art collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, International Center of Photography and Fonds National d'Art Contemporain (FNAC). She was a nominated finalist for the prestigious ING REAL photography award.
As a teenager in the 1980s, Xing Danwen completed a four‐year professional study in painting at the Xian Academy of Fine Arts affiliated primary art school. In 1989, Xing Danwen continued her postgraduate study at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing where she completed her BFA in Painting in 1992.
During her early Beijing days, Xing Danwen was serendipitously introduced to photography and was immediately drawn to the medium. As one of few artists in China who explored and challenged the boundaries of photography in the late 1980s, Xing Danwen exigently probed photography as an art form. Through her camera, she observed and questioned Chinese society, humanity, female identity and the generation born in the 1960s.
In 1998, Xing Danwen went to New York on an Asian Cultural Council grant and fellowship. From 1998‐2001, she completed her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York where she received the prestigious Chairman Grant. For Xing Danwen, the New York period challenged and enriched her artistic experience. In addition to photography, the scope of Xing Danwens current artistic practice includes mixed media, video and multi‐media installations.
Xing Danwen regularly exhibits both internationally and in China. In addition, her works are also widely collected and included in major museum and private collections. The Whitney Museum of American Art, Centre George Pompidou and the International Center of Photography have all exhibited and collected works. Xing Danwen has also exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1st Yokohama Triennale and the Sydney Biennale 2004 and is represented in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fonds National dArt Contemporian, Progressive Corporation and Groupe Lhoist.
Xing Danwens rich and varied artistic practice touch upon issues such as socio cultural dislocation, tensions between globalization and traditional forces, environmental disasters created by uncontrolled development and the disconnect between desire and reality which typically suffuses urban life. Fiction, truth and illusion play an important role in her works.
Xing Danwen currently lives and works in Beijing.