Abject waste or nature’s jewels, each are treated to the same forensic reckoning at the hands of Beijing based photographer Huang Xu. His lavish, closely cropped imagery transforms arbitrary objects into sensual chiaroscuro studies by a process of 3-D scanning, photography and digital manipulation.
The cool press of camellia petals evokes the world of dynastic China with its sumptuous antiquities and early innovations: gunpowder, paper, silk and the wheel to name a few. But China also represents a paradox within the contemporary world, as the East falls under the spell of capitalist consumerism, likely to beat the West at its own game.
It is the tensions within these past/present dualities in Chinese culture that Huang is concerned with. Speaking about his Fragments series, which presents the seemingly innocuous plastic shopping bag in a calligraphic frieze, Huang is quietly emphatic: “In recalling the traditional fabrics of my country’s imperial past, my aesthetic program is unquestionably Chinese in character.”
A regular exhibitor in Beijing, Europe and Australia and a graduate of the Beijing Academy of Fine Arts, Huang suggests by his discreet aesthetic choices that if our greatest leap forward is boundless consumption, then our collective shards – our present markers for the future – may be more ephemeral than we think.
Huang Xu is represented in collaboration with China Art Projects.Download CV - pdf