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Xiyuan Xiao

Title: Glimpse

Date: 11th - 20th December 2019

Artists: Xiyuan Xiao

Arthill Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in London by Chinese photographer Xiyuan Xiao. The images of Xiyuan Xiao remind us that the body is repeatedly defined and confined by particular architectural arrangements, the edges of which we encounter here. Intersections of wall and floor; shelf and curtain; light and frame. Each image reflects back to the viewer the space of the ‘camera,’ whose Latin origin came to refer to a habitable or private space.

What is in question here is the orientation of the body as it is mediated by the built environment. Architecture can be resistant to the body’s natural inclinations - we are moved and disciplined by its structures and rhythms. Whether in the grids of streets or the enclosures of home, the body too becomes a little box of complex hardware negotiating input and output amidst constant flow of distraction and demands for our attention.

The images come to rest, as do the eyes, in some small recess or against a limit intent upon hindering passage. Yet here, this hindrance is also an insistence upon stillness in a world that has become fluid and impermanent. Photographic paper absorbs what is left of attention when all superfluity is taken away. There is no object but the photographic print itself as a residual lament. A surface where space seems to open on to new possibility.

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