Existential Emptiness continues in a similar vein of digitally manipulated photography as her previous works, Sanjie (2003), One Day in 2004 (2004) and Angel (2006), where brilliant light and colorful palettes shine on the contradictions in cultural traditions and violence enacted against women in China. Existential Emptiness is a continuation of Cui's self-exploration and artistic expression of the female experience in todays China. In contrast to the vibrant colours in her previous works, Existential Emptiness is a set of manipulation of digital photographic images of monochromic snow scene where the artist captured in Northern China, the images are reminiscent of traditional Chinese ink painting.
Cuis girl protagonist has always been considered as the artists alter ego in her works through which Cui addresses the violation of innocence under social and cultural pressure. The use of this alter ego has been extended to her new series.
In this series, Cuis alter ego, the girl is slightly older yet still in school uniform and is accompanied by a life-size doll that looks alike her. The re-appearance of the protagonist in this series suggests a development of the artists alter ego in probing the question rooted in the deeper layers of the artists mind. The doll implicates the duality of body and soul as a burden and a shield to the girl at the same time. The relations of the girl and the doll seem to suggest the artists confrontation with her female identity and present the pain borne by women in Todays China.
In the universe of Existential Emptiness one finds both oppression and refuge, as the void offers an opening into enlightened, interior landscape. The refuge is also a meditation on the wider human condition, as silence is often the only transgression one can rage against cultural and social constraints.
presents select images from Existential Emptiness alongside an iconic piece from Cui's previous series One Day in 2004, 'One day in 2004 No. 1.
One of the most renowned artists in contemporary art in China, Cui Xiuwen graduated from The Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1996. Cui's artistic career began with painting and evolved to include video works in the early 2000's, and her works presented a pointed exploration of the new sexuality in China. Since 2004, Cui has turned to photographic assemblages in an intriguing mix of digital manipulation, traditional motifs in both Western and Chinese arts and her singular aesthetics.
The work of Cui Xiuwen has been exhibited in some of the world's most prestigious galleries and museums including Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, International Center of Photography and Pompidou Centre. She is also one of the first Chinese artists exhibited at Tate Modern.