Organizer: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre
Duration: Aug 1, 2020– Aug 30, 2020
Venue: No. 301, Building 2, Xinglinwan Business Center, Jimei District, Xiamen
Text/ Xiao Ruiyun
From Outside the Door to Once Upon a Land, Luo Shuhang ventured into a narrative journey concerning body and space.
In his work, Once Upon a Land, there is intertextuality between the painting and the image, and even a dialogue that transcends space and time. Such kind of intertextuality is similar to the "colophons" in traditional paintings. The appearance of colophons demonstrates an important transformation of the painting: it no longer purely consists of pictorial images but integrates visual and textual portions in a single scroll. 1 If a single scroll is considered as a whole, the colophons on the paintings added by the collectors in the past include texts that traverse time.
To some extent, Luo’s work can be regarded as another form of the colophon, which is also a commentary made by the later generations on the paintings of their ancestors. The difference, however, is that the content of the colophons is not literature or calligraphy, but image; also, the colophons are not outside of the original work but embedded within.
Therefore, the original context is resolved. In the traditional landscape paintings, nature and figures are very well integrated, and usually those figures represent the literati. Nevertheless, what appears in Luo’s work are ordinary people: women buying groceries, masters working, men in pajamas, female students standing on the top of the hill, etc. These realistic figures blend into the original paintings, reconstruct the context, and form a tension between the traditional and the contemporary.
Luo’s other series of work all demonstrate the illusion that derives from things in reality: Sink shows the appearance of objects after stripping away from daily experience, and Moss shows the overlap of things we see. The overall presentation of the exhibition is immersed in a tranquil atmosphere, which is a subtle texture brought by the elements in traditional paintings and materials like Xuan paper. The ethereal moon demonstrated in the video on a vertical axis also contributes to the tranquility of this exhibition. However, when viewing these works carefully, there is always a frame that could turn to be the “punctum”2 for the viewers, and it could even transform into some kind of uncertain emotion. In his video work, Dust, the viewer seems to be transformed into dust in the universe, and this sense of uneasiness is accompanied and augmented by the sound on the scene.
The art of photography records the slices of time, and Luo’s work spreads out the folds of time. People Outside the Door, welcome in, and please enjoy.
1 Wu Hung, The Double Screen: Medium and Representation in Chinese Painting
2 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography
Luo Shuhang was born in Changsha, Hunan Province in 1997. He was selected for Ruan Yizhong Photography Workshop in 2015. Luo obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Film Production at Jinan University. Luo's works focus on image and video creation. A short film he directed was shortlisted for the Jury Recommendation, the 25th ifva award, 2020 Hong Kong Arts Center.