The Nearest Distance: Huanxuan Jiang Solo Exhibition

18 August - 17 September 2019 Xiamen

Organizer: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre

Artist: Hanxuan Jiang

Curator: Yingying Gan


Opening: August 18, 2019  15:00

Artist Talk: August 18, 2019  16:00

Duration: August 18 to September 17, 2019 (Mondays closed)

Venue: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre 

(301, Building No. 2, Xinlinwan Business Center, Jimei District, Xiamen)


There is a barrier between the world around us and distant reality. Before we became immersed in virtual media such as digital images and the internet, our understanding of far and near were decided by distance. Here is close and familiar where as there is far away and strange. Since the digital revolution, allfar-nessand near-nesshave started decoding, then coding, and now reach us instantaneously. When observing the outside world in front of countless windows, it feels as though “the border between home and world becomes confused ” (Bhabha, H, (1992) The World and the Home. ). The lenses of others have compressed the strange nature of the world and made it flat. The concepts of far-nessand near-nessare no longer decided by distance, but rather decided by whether they have been exposed in front of us.  


Along with the accumulation of time, images construct our memory by repeatedly adding familiarity to the distant unknown places. To quote Susan Sontag, “Reminiscences of self are reminiscences of a place, and how he positions himself in it, navigates around it,” When submerging with images, we seem to form memories of traveling elsewhere. Our means of conveniently traveling to these places within a short-time frame skews our perceptions of near-nessand far-ness. When we arrive, our memories are activated thus bringing forward a sense of deja vu.


Hanxuan Jiang exhibits her work from four series which were created during her travels. They gradually discuss the following subjects: 


-    How to sense the far-nessin your conscious mind when approaching a space

-    How we explore the border between far-nessand near-nesswhen replacing the collective experience brought by images with personal experience, thus thinking about the essential questions of the nature of being.


The Presenceseries is a combination of a set of pictures and a video installation. Here and there, the potential similarities between reality and memory blend, that is, Here in reality and here in consciousness overlaps in time and space dimensions. Through this constant overlap, Jiang promotes the opening and obscuration of things to people, thus confirming the presence of the present.


Jiang’s A Silent Place is a photography project focused on wandering through ancient woodlands. In these forests, you seldom see the remains of modern civilization. The long-term gaze links to more primal human memories.


If in the aforementioned works the artist is still experiencing the space through observation, gaze and imagination, in the uncut film Nearness, the artist's intervention and experience of this space is visually reproduced. She is sometimes a bystander and sometimes a participant. With a poetic feeling of uncertain distance, the short black space that switches between shots opens the way in which she constantly returns from the space.


Jiang’s film Talk in the Kitchenexplores links between the characters’ chance to express their opinions and the space. Through their dialogue, the kitchen is changed from a living area to a political space; it transcends the private space and becomes a public space. This grants people freedom from their original restraints, the kitchen, referred to by Hannah Arendt as "The violent and authoritarian family field“ (Arendt, H, (1958) The Human Condition).


When we gaze at the space, we draw closer to distant things throughout time. When we imagine, we draw closer to the distance of the spatial dimension. When we intervene or live in a space, we narrow the distance between space and self. When we express and communicate in the space, we truly open up the boundaries of our minds -  boundless and unlimited.