She stood nude before a mirror and liked what she saw. She wanted to see more and went closer and closer but the dimensions were not enough and she could not see too well. So, she took a camera and started clicking pictures. . . of her face, her hands, her legs, her body, her genitals. . . everything. . .including close ups from different angles.
That's Wang Guiquan, a 22-year old sophomore at the Chengdu Art Academy. Some of those pictures were exhibited at an art exhibition, ‘Experimental Space’ in Nanjing, China, organized by her instructor at the art academy.
Some viewers appreciated her expression but there were those that tore into her, accusing her of seeking fame and using too much eroticism.
Wang Guiquan smiled and cried alternately. It was bold of her to do what she did and perhaps, some of the accusations were, in fact, true. But what stops an artist from seeking fame. Why must an artist ignore the erotic?
Art is an expression and sometimes the expression comes from the artist's perspective. And, the expression is connected to an artist's impression. The perspective may or may not be entirely new but then, art is an expression and it needs a viewer to tune into the artist's being to feel what the artist feels/felt, to experience what the artist wishes to express. Though Wang Guiquan did not paint what she saw, perhaps, she saw something that she felt needed to be expressed and she used a camera to do that. So, what is wrong with that and why must that be seen as condemnable?
She has been widely condemned but she has done something few others have done. She has broken new ground and though she is not well-known, one day she will be.
Cheers, Wang Guiquan! You are not alone! Wipe those tears away and do your thing!
Author's note: To view pictures of Wang Guiquan and one of her exhibits, please visit my writingup.com blog.
Rajesh Kanoi (Jack) is a published writer, now living and working in China. Many of his short-stories, poems and articles have been published, including a book of short-stories, ‘From China With Love’ (Lipstick Publishing).