Xing Danwen- Urban Fictions (2004)
Drawing upon themes of ‘urban monotony’, artist Xing Danwen has produced a series of large scale photographs to question the seemingly idilyic urban landscape.
Looking at her work I instantly want to draw comparisons to the technical processes of Thomas Demand, and artists working with image databases such as google maps, seen in the work of Mishka Henner and Jon Rafman. Danwen has reconstructed model landscapes from digital prints of her suroundings. This contradiction and juxtaposition of scale from down-sizing in photograph and model, to up-scaleing in the final photographic print- heightens a sense of unease and surreality to the body of work.
Amongst the huge architecture, we see small scenes of ‘everyday life.’ Ranging from the mundane, like smoking a cigarette, riding a bike, to the not so everyday knife murder; these images prompt us to question our surroundings and our position within them.
The figures, modelesque in aesthetic, invite us to relate to them in their activities in some sense or another. (Although perhaps acting the murderer is a less empathic role for us to relate to.)
As a result, the work acts to represent the stifiling, constructed nature of the urban landscape. Placing us as figurines in a ‘concrete maze’ where ‘everyday life’ is part of a game we enact.
To see more of Xing Danwens work, please see the following link: