Exploring loneliness through a lens

Updated: 2014-05-21 09:29

By Mariella Radaelli (China Daily)

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Asked what she thinks about the current trend of taking and sharing "selfies" online, she says with a laugh: "Well, this is the hyper-visual century, isn't it? With the advent of digital technology, pictures have become truly instantaneous. Everything has moved so fast. It seems that everyone wants to show off and share their looks online, even with strangers."

Huawei even makes a smartphone with "instant facial beauty support", software that reduces wrinkles and blemishes.

"Taking 'selfies' as an exercise in recording private moments has become the simplest thing in the world now, but creating art images implies a profound thinking process," Xing says. "Here lies the difference between good artwork and mass-media photography."

Exploring loneliness through a lens

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The basic questions Xing asks herself before beginning a project, are: "Why am I doing this? What are my purposes and intentions? Where do I draw the line? Photography is a vehicle to do art, not a destination."

How does Xing's lens describe this world? "I don't limit my work to the use of a lens. I talk about reality through fiction, which can be a sum of your imagination, fantasy, emotions or dreams."

When she goes out with a camera does she have a plan? "Actually, I don't carry my camera with me anymore. I changed my way of working in the '90s. I begin the creative process in my mind first. Spending time in my thoughts is fundamental. An idea sits inside me for a while, and then emerges. Only after acquiring a clear idea of what I want to express, I seek images that serve my mind best. Taking pictures is just the final step."

Xing is working on several new works.

"I am currently working on various projects, especially on a topic that is hugely important for me personally," she says. "It is all about how we can survive this hyper-developed urban life, with all these cars running around, all the traffic fumes, which give our present day a sort of Armageddon-ish feel.

"Since I am getting older, I have become more motivated in investigating the basic things in life, such as love, suffering, value-based happiness. I am trying to nurture my own vision of the essential values in life. Life is a list of complicated issues that affect us both emotionally and physically."

Her new work called I Can't Feel What I Feel clearly expresses this point of view.

It is a provocative video installation that generates a reaction, a metaphor, a critical point on the profound vulnerability of human beings. "Sometimes we cause our own problems, often through not taking enough care of ourselves," she says. "The problem with human beings is endless desire."


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