About the artist


Chen Xiaoyi was born in Chengdu, China in 1992. She received her MA in photography from the London College of Communications in 2014 and was awarded the LCC/Photofusion Prize. Chen’s practice is tied to a natural, oriental aesthetic, influenced by Western abstract art and oriental philosophy. Photography is a personal tool for Chen, used to question broad concepts that migrate from the personal to the philosophical realm. Her recent work focuses on the combination of photography and printmaking, a combination of techniques used to explore beneath the surface of things by simplifying and abstracting; an approach aimed at reviving spiritual awareness and intuition before entering the symbolic nature of what we view.





About the work




Vision as a product of the non-material is closer to a concept of purity. The inspiration for this project comes from ancient wisdom, the artist tries to explore this during the process, and choose the abstract way to express her photography. 

As Eastern philosophies, Tao and Zen always advise people to stay absolutely quiet and purify thought processes. In order to achieve this goal, our attention should focus on the most basic form of the universe’s existence. In Zen Buddhism, Koan is a story or riddle used to help in the attainment of a state of spontaneous reflection, free from planning and analytical thought. In contradiction to Western philosophy, Koan’s emphasize the inadequacy of language and words, and the importance of intuition over reason and logic, to transform the self. The work explores beneath the surface of things by simplification and abstraction to awaken spiritual awareness and intuition before the symbolic.

The artist named the series as “Koan”, and selected abstract landscape photographs to do photo-etching process; the results of this craft are poetic and full of imaginations. She only uses black ink and print on different Japanese papers, the color is deriving from the atmosphere of desolation and melancholy and the expression of minimalism in ancient Chinese poetry and monochromatic ink painting.