World Chambers

A Forum for the Arts of Contemporary Chinese Women

Cui Xiuwen’s “Angel” (2006) and “One Day in 2004” (2004) Series

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Cui Xiuwen‘s series “Angel” (2006) and “One Day in 2004” (2004) are my favorite of her autobiographical works. These series build on earlier themes surrounding the relationship between society, sexuality, and the female body by incorporating elements of Cui’s childhood memories. The artist employed a model who resembled her as a youth, dressed her in crisp, and in the case of “One Day in 2004,” cultural revolution-inspired clothing, and captures her dwarfed by the architecture of the Forbidden City, or multiplied into a self-constructed landscape. In both instances, the impression is at once familiar and innocent, and forbidding. “Angel No. 3” is my favorite for exactly this sense of disturbed tranquility that it inspires. It is as if Cui’s youth marches forward one-hundred times over, disastrously breaking the illusion of social perfection desired in young women, a dream-like realization of fear and hopelessness.

Top: "One day in 2004 No. 2," 2004, C-print, 93 x 304 cm. Bottom: "One day in 2004 No. 6," 2004, C-print, 132 x 176 cm. Both: Grosenick and Schubbe, 2007, 72.

Top: "One day in 2004 No. 2," 2004, C-print, 93 x 304 cm. Bottom: "One day in 2004 No. 6," 2004, C-print, 132 x 176 cm. Both: Grosenick and Schubbe, 2007, 72.

"Angel No. 3," 2006, C-print, 138 x 290 cm. Grosenick & Schubbe, 2007, 79.

"Angel No. 3," 2006, C-print, 138 x 290 cm. Grosenick & Schubbe, 2007, 79.

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Written by Andrea Descoteaux Hugg

May 12, 2009 at 4:59 AM

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