© 2018 - 2019 by Qianhui Qian 

This is a series of photographs featuring an artistic performance. In the Foreign Matter universe, there are two eternal worlds, which are opposite and unified. Under the theme of this context, there are four sets of scenes in this group of photographic works: ancient Chinese princess and supermarket; Halloween corpse bride and city library; Pinup girl and slums; Spacegirl and ancient gardens. All the scenes come from reality -- it is just that the characters are not supposed to be there, that is when two different realities intersect at some point.

 

This series explores the ideological contest between China and the West, past, and future, tradition and vanguard. In this context, which element represents the present reality and which comes from other universes? In these photos, there is always the other, the object, to be seen, to be adapted.

 

a. The artist in old-fashioned, elaborate ancient princess costumes lounging around cheap supermarkets. Hanfu, a traditional and complex costume, has enjoyed countless revives in the past decade. Even if they have no utility and represent a very extravagant time in history. The supermarket is the commercialization, the symbol of rapid consumption, and these two seemingly unrelated things have been overlapping under the concept of consumerism. There is no denying that we live in a consumer society that advocates cultivating personal characteristics and displaying personal tastes. Consumers see themselves as buyers of some sort of power in the global marketplace, and their preferences are interpreted in a variety of ways. Therefore, the consumption behavior of the public (supermarket shopping) and the representative of superstructure: ancient luxurious clothes can form an interesting contrast.

 

b. The Corpse Bride is a classic screen horror image, refined into a cheap Halloween costume. Subcultures are weak in the face of many cultural superpowers, and libraries represent "real" knowledge, temples to academia and serious publications. The logic behind the Corpse Bride: the animated character -- Tim burton -- goth culture -- subculture -- "second class," born from the ruins of the b-movie, but forever separated from the mainstream, is a reality that co-exists but does not integrate.

 

c. Pinup and cultural invasion: inspired by American poster girls in the 1950s, this was a time when everyone was consuming, when television was booming, when globalization was being promoted and froth entertainment spread. In 2019, Shanghai, China, there is a long history of slums, bottom consumption, prostitution, backwater, and the elderly who still are living their life today since the political disaster in China in the 1960s. They come from two different eras, connected by the artist’s performance.

 

d. Science fiction has always been the spiritual utopia of human beings. In this series, the artist tries to position herself as a sci-fi figure. In this ancient garden, a complete collection of Ming dynasty buildings, this is 18th century China, and it is visited by tourists and old people wandering around. It has the visual effect of time travel, except that one is from the past and the other is from the future. The artist has a strained relationship with the audience around her -- a kind of anachronistic, like a lump in one's throat.

Foreign Matter

Digtal Prints Series

Dimension Variable

2017