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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Beijing

  • 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
     
    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
     The present lot, the standing young woman’s vacant gaze conveys a subdued, enduring tolerance. The artist never chooses the moments of explosion, rather, the stagnant period of emotions: silent, puzzled, dull, lost, exposed body along with the subject’s exposed soul, showing the pain you cannot see; the cry you cannot hear. “Naked virgins are a subject that I am interested in, I want to express something very important: beauty, is not what has been generally considered prettiness, but rather, it is power and fragile dignity, this power can resist everything else.”  (Xiang Jing, Interview with Wang Yin, Southern Weekly, Mar 10, 2006)

102

Face

2007
Painted fibreglass.
179 x 42 x 36 cm. (70 1/2 x 16 1/2 x 14 1/8 in).

Estimate
£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £91,250

Contemporary Art Day Sale

18 Oct 2008 2pm
London