Sun Xiaohan Solo Exhibition —— Nymphaea

26 June - 25 July 2021 Xiamen


 Text/Xiao Ruiyun


The narrative of this exhibition Nymphaea revolves around nature and life. Sun Xiaohan captures the delicate and sheer sensibility of life at the moment with his camera. His works display his way of looking, which encompasses all things in the universe, casual strolls in everyday life, and those small moments around us. As we meditate on the visual rhythm hidden in his works, the photographs transform one by one into a note of joy, weaving a tranquil and intimate silent music in this exhibition.


The exhibition begins with life in nature, starting with the appearance of flowers, insects, birds, and animals. With this perspective of life, the audience will slowly step into the world of nature on a broader scale. These unique images are captured by Sun Xiaohan, like a game of collecting gems, as he travels around the world with his wife. The act of seeing is like wandering around among all these images. When gazing at some of his photographs, we could imagine ourselves crossing from a haystack to a hill or stepping out of a hole in the wall of Purple Air to a majestic waterfall. The images of different regions are weaved together ingeniously, denoting the insignificance of life, like floating dust, in the midst of nature.


 The sudden outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 brought all travels to a halt. For this reason, Sun Xiaohan turned his attention to his surroundings and spent an hour and a half during his daily lunch break to shoot Two Kilometers Around. His street photography can be seen as a performance record, slowly expanding his geographical scope from where he is to the area within a two-kilometer radius. While the pandemic impedes many of the human actions in various ways, Sun Xiaohan attempts to freeze this unusual journey in time in his unique approach, with silence prevailing everywhere he turns.


This exhibition then gradually proceeds from the external to the internal world of life. Nature and life intersect, and the image of a pregnant woman's back with trees stretching upward indicates the connection between life and nature. His wife has been the focus of Sun Xiaohan's photography for a long time, thus the exhibition on one hand presents a personal photo diary in the past ten years, and on the other hand, depicts the conception and birth of a new life. The Fruit series is a playful record of life from the very beginning till now. It reminds us of the joke that grown-ups used to say when we were little: "Watermelon will grow in our stomachs if we eat watermelon seeds". The hand crawling towards grapes on a tabletop also delivers a sense of humor in life.


The birth of his daughter is the final presentation of life in this exhibition. The title of the exhibition, "Nymphaea", is also the name of his daughter, which carries the fondest wishes from a father to a daughter. "Nymphaea" is the elves in nature, which frequents the mountains, forests, wilderness, and lakes.  Perhaps next time when we look back at the exhibition, we might lose the perspective of the artist, and embrace nature with love like a child or an elf and revive our curiosity and delight in every piece of life flourishing in this world.


Artist Biography


Sun Xiaohan, born in 1991, majored in art design and animation, is now an image effect designer and freelance photographer living in Xiamen. He has won the Excellence Award in 2017 and 2019 Film Painting Hero Photography Competition, ILFORD x AUTHART Black and White Photography Competition. His works have been presented in many offline photography exhibitions in China. The simple way of seeing and recording is an important outlet for him to express his perception of life.