Miao XiaochunBy Susanne Neubauer
The works of Chinese photographer Miao Xiaochun deal with the temporal, visual and conceptual dimension of photography. He resists those universal features of medium that generally involve the search for and the capturing of moments, and the tension between observer and observed. In his Photographic works is a figure looking like a sage, or an official from Ancient China, who processes the artist's facial features.
Miao sees it as a symbol of classical Chinese culture, which he describes as a brilliant and powerful period lasting from the Han (206 BC - 9 AD) to the Song Dynasty (960 - 1276). Various features of the figure's clothing and hair-style stem from this long stretch of time. In Miao Xiaochun's works from his student life in Kassel Art College is sits, stands or lies in recognizably Central European surroundings such as an airport, a factory, a phone booth, in the Wilhelmsh he park above Kassel, or "As a guest of German friends" (1999).
The silent, motionless witness from a bygone age assumes his matter-of-fact place in surroundings the artist defines, his external appearance underlining his differentness. Miao Xiaochun's alter ego thus doubles vision, becoming an ally or a "second eye" to the artist and observer from China, who is behind the camera and thus distanced from what is being photographed. With the artistic device of the sage Miao gives visual expression to the outer/inner dichotomy that all travellers or dwellers abroad inevitably see themselves facing. At the visual level, by negating the classical Western paradigm of central perspective, the artist effects a dissolution of the observer viewpoint that is so crucial to photography.
The concept is stressed in the works of Miao Xiaochun produced after returning to his homeland. They express the "historic shock" (Miao Xiaochun to the author) he experienced as a homecomer and bring out the discrepancy between past and present in a China changing at breakneck speed: old food stores with modern motor scooters parked outside, a family watching television, or a crossroads with a bus advertising a Website address going by.
Placed often almost unnoticeably among all this: Miao's alter ego. This strange, conceptually created space between yesterday and today, in which the artist-sage appears almost as a memorial or warning, inaugurates a second, artificially-formed reality within the reality the photograph depicts. Read the entire article hereSource: