Connecting to the World

Xiang Jing x Wang Xiaoyu

A Talk with Xiang Jing[1]

Wang: You are well-known for the exhibition “Keep in Silence”. What were your works like before the exhibition?

Xiang: I started working on some opuscules after graduating from college in 1995. During that time, I focused mostly on growth and youth.
Young people are in a tense relationship with the unknown outer world. They grow in the continuing process of cognition. It was quite natural for me to choose to present the experience of growth in my works at that time. Take Gift for example. It is my first work in large size. Bending over, she’s passing a toy to the audience in front. The audience has to look up in order to see her face. It is a typical work featuring the visual angle. Basically, it is about seeing the adult world from the eyes of a child. Adults are beautiful but aggressive, which can lead to a psychological distance and rejection to the adult world. I had the same sort of feelings for many other things at that time. And I didn’t realize that until later.
To give you another example, the work Confinement presents a state of self-confinement. And another one is called Invasion. These are the two themes I like very much. In fact, confinement and invasion are what people need to face at the same time growing up. When I first began to conceive Bang!, I wanted to create a child in tension, who was fighting against something vague, huge, or even violent all alone. However, when I finished it, I found myself out of that psychological state. The original emotion seemed to be over-exaggerated and unreasonable. So I added another girl beside the first one. She was smiling and shooting at the first girl with her fingers. In this way, the tension within an individual was broken by the relaxed connection between the two.

Wang: Suddenly in a game mode? Resistance seems to have been dispelled.

Xiang: That’s right. Although there’s a notion of violence and anti-violence, there’s no strong sense of intensity or confinement in it. And that’s what I wanted