Xiang Jing - Contemporary Art Part II New York Friday, May 16, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Beijing

  • Exhibited

    Shanghai, Creek Art, Deep Breath: Chinese Contemporary Female Art Exhibition, March 2008

  • Literature

    N. Ford, Naked Beyond Skin, Hong Kong, 2008, pp. 105-112 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    As a stark contrast to the media-driven mainstream stereotypes of women, Xiang Jing’s hyper-realistic, psychologically expressive sculptures portray individual female bodies and their psychological states with disturbing candor. Her work is more personal, but in a way that recalls the slogan that the personal is political, the rallying cry of American feminists of the 1960s and 1970s. Her subjects are most often, but not always, women from preadolescence onward although the emphasis seems to be on the youthful and newly urbanized who have adapted to a modernized, globalized China, who have little memory of any other way of life. Her figures, also conceived as a version of pop realism that is somewhere between the reportorial trompel’oeil of Duane Hansen, say, and the extreme perversity of Paul McCarthy, are often presented in elaborate, mixed-media installations with a narrative.
    L.Wei, Xiang Jing and Qu Guangci, Hong Kong, 2007, p. 9
    The present lot, I am twenty-two years old but have no period, is one of the most provocative works in the artist’s oeuvre. A young woman in a state of arrested physical development lies on her back; her contorted pose and vacant gaze convey a subdued, enduring tolerance. Entirely shorn of hair, it is unclear if the source of her affliction is genetic or if she is a symbol for an external calamity such as nuclear fallout. An alternative interpretation is the artist’s indictment of youth-obsessed nature of contemporary social norms that causes twelve-year-olds to try to pass for eighteen, and women of fifty to strive to appear half their age. Xiang turns the tyranny of youth culture on its head by creating the specter of a young woman robbed of her physical maturation, entirely alienated from the social and gender constructions that are so essential to personal identity.
    Through the very materiality of her figures-the hard, shiny plasticity of the fiberglass and the elaborate care with which they are painted-the figures can embody a diverse set of tensions at play in, perhaps, all women’s bodies. The fact that they look ‘real’ is, to some degree, only a strategy. The fact that they may not be conventionally beautiful, even ugly, is a direct challenge, not to conventions, but to our consensual misunderstanding of the complexities of the every-woman Xiang is presenting to us. They may very well be ‘uncomfortable in their own skin,’ but it is precisely through this implicit discomfort that their power can be unleashed.
    N. Ford, Naked Beyond Skin: Xiang Jing’s Troubled Bodies, Hong Kong, March 2008


I am twenty-two years old but have no period

Painted fiberglass.
63 x 23 5/8 x 11 7/8 in. (160 x 59.9 x 30 cm).

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $385,000

Contemporary Art Part II

16 May 2008, 10am & 2pm
New York