Sep 26, 2011

PROFILE | Fan Xiaoyan | Women of Steal

Fan Xiaoyan, Physical Attachment No. 4, Stainless Steal, 2008

Fan Xiaoyan is a female artist working in the field of sculpture to make her impact on the world. She was born in Gaomi China and now resides in Beijing. Her work centers around the female form giving new thought into feminism. She also tends to address some contemporary issues with her later work. Her sculptures seem to have contradictions about their meaning giving strength to the female form while objectifying it at the same time. This leaves a broad range of emotions to pull from. These emotions allow her to engage all audiences that view her artwork.
Some of her exhibitions and work may be view here.
Fan Xiaoyan, Cyborg No. 1, Stainless Steal, 2008
Fan Xiaoyan earlier work uses nude female forms combined with stainless steel attachments to provide her emotional catalyst. These pieces are visually aggressive throwing many viewers minds back to Terminator or Grindhouse films. She achieves this aggressiveness using items like chainsaws, crossbows, and metal piping to convey strength. While the strength of the female form is greatly amplified in these sculptures the figure is less of a woman and more of an object or collection of objects. That clash between soft flesh tones and the cold jaggedness of steal brings the message home that there is a division of worlds. Just as a strong female character and a female form to be objectified by its viewers are clashing ideas.
Fan Xiaoyan, She who reads blindly shouldn't have read, Stainless Steal and Brass, 2010
 In her newer artwork Fan Xiaoyan has simplified her forms. The female character is an object itself instead of having objects grafted onto it. While the form remains more traditional the connection is less intense with the loss of skin tone. Her sculptures now come across as more appealing and the message of her artwork is no longer the abrasiveness of the form but the context of which it is in. Several of these sculptures can be viewed at the Yang Gallery’s website. Now that her sculptures are more conventionally appealing her message of feminism comes across stronger. There is still something to be considered when viewing her forms such as if the female figure should be considered a female or more of an object. Whichever it is the work still conveys a strong female figure forged from contemporary issues. Solidifying the strength of a woman is and should be as strong as these sculptures. 

All in all Fan Xiaoyan’s work provides a solid basis for debate regarding feminine issues. Her Style and execution should keep her popular in today's world with throw backs to science fiction and fantasy media. While her artwork is very engaging it would quite impressive to stand in the presence of it. Her work almost forces you to take notice which considering the issues she addresses it is exactly what she probably wants.

I love these pieces they are masterfully done and beautiful to look at. While I am bias considering my love of the cultural references that these seem to point to. The issues they address hit home for everyone including me. It will be interesting to see where Fan Xiaoyan’s artwork will be in another few years and what new ideas she will bring to the old argument. 

-Nathaniel Record


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