Existential Emptiness No.11
Paper, 200 x 44 cm
About the artwork
In "Existential Emptiness No. 11", artist Cui Xiuwen depicts a boat standing out in the composition, floating on a snow river. With a striking symmetry, the emphasis is on the two protagonists - two black-haired girls in an almost reflective effect as they sit on opposite ends of the boat. It is only by looking closer that the differences come into view: subtle nuances reveal two different features. One is a young girl while the other is a doll: the artist reflects here on the woman's condition as an individual in modern China, as represented by the girl and her alter ego, the doll, lost in the middle of a hostile empty landscape. Existential Emptiness No.11 merges life and lifelessness, yin and yang, body and soul facing each other, cruising down a silent river.
About the artist
Cui Xiuwen ( 1967 - 2018 ) was one of the most influential independent female artists in China. Her artistic vision combined precision and incisive thought, allowing her to penetrate and explore the deep contradictions within human nature. Her images and pictures were inspired by the elements of concept, ethos, and visual performance, with an emphasis on simplicity and bold imagination.
She was the first Chinese artist to have her works exhibited at the Tate Britain, and her video masterpiece Ladies Room was in the collection of the Centre Pompidou in France and the Ullens Foundation Collection in Belgium. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious Shu-Fang Hsiao Art Foundation Outstanding Female Artist Award by the Wu Zuoren International Fine Arts Foundation. In 2010, she was named as one of the AAC Art China Annual Influential Artists, and was the first woman to receive the honour. The same year, she won the Youth Artist Award, an accolade given by the Chinese Art Critics Annual.