Walsh Gallery

Miao Xiaochun: Phantasmagoria


Dates: Oct 1 2004 - Jan 28 2005

Opening Reception: Oct 1 2004

Curated by Wu Hung


Chicago, Illinois;

Renowned photographer Miao Xiaochun will be coming to Chicago from China for the debut of his latest works entitled "Phantasmagoria". The show opens on October 1st at Walsh Gallery with an opening reception on October 22nd from 5-9 pm. Mr. Miao will be present at the opening reception. This is just one of many events happening in Chicago celebrating Contemporary Chinese art starting in October.

Miao Xiaochun's nine mural scale photos are not readily absorbed in a glance. In fact it takes many glances to navigate Mr. Miao's detailed visual maze. Mr. Miao has created photos on an epic scale detailing daily life in China. By themselves they are beguiling but beguiling isn't enough. Mr. Miao has created a life size sculpture of an ancient Chinese scholar in his own likeness. The Chinese scholar is dressed in an official's hat and traditional gown. Mr. Miao refers to the sculpture as "He". "He" is hidden in these splices of life in China, creating a "Where's Waldo?" effect or a kind of visual weightlessness.

There is no central focal point of the works. Our eyes fluctuate between fascination at the density of details and richness of colors, roaming as we see each photo from multiple perspectives. There is the viewpoint of the artist, the sculpture or, "He", the crowd, and finally our own. Mr. Miao challenges the way we gaze at photography and references other forms of art such as installation, performance, and painting. Mr. Miao's "He" allows the artist to focus on an observation and dialogue about the rapid changes that are occurring in China. This dour scholar sets up a contradiction in realities; time place, space, perspective, and social/historical context. It is simple, really:… you can't absorb what you see in a glance, and you don't want to.

Mr. Miao's photographs have been seen in museums around the world such as; the Beijing Art Museum, Mus'ee CRAC (France), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Taiwan), the Ludwig Museum (Germany), and the International Center for Photography and Asia Society (New York), and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Smart Museum (Chicago). His works have also been included in the Shanghai Biennial 2002 as well as the Seoul New Media Biennial 2002.

In conjunction with Chicago Artists Month, Walsh Gallery's project room and studio space presents: "For Your Eyes Only", a tribute to gutsy Chicago style. This group show will feature sculpture by Indira Johnson, movie poster inspired paintings by Laura Kina, photography by Christopher Meerdo, paintings by Von Kommaninvanh, and an installation by Rodney Swanstrom. Look for another press release on these artists and Chicago Artists Month soon.