SOFT THORN

  • Dates
    2013 - 2019
  • Author
  • Locations China, Beijing, Hangzhou

Beneath the obscure boundary of reality and illusion, what always attracts me is the self-reflection in my tentative work in which I attempt to penetrate into a deeper layer of people’s psychic world, or from aother perspective, mine.

I was born and raised in a traditional Chinese Christian family in a small town where a reputation is shared for its picturesque Fuchun River in southern China. Growing up in a Christian family put me in a kind of dilemma when I was conscious of my “different” sexual orientation. Thus, I was compelled to accept psychological treatment since fifteen when I first told my parents the “sin”. Whereas, for a photo-based queer artist, pondering the young queers’ predicaments combined with a sense of nostalgia and Oedipus complex became the main collision in my practice.

Soft Thorn (2013-2017), with the initial intention to record a journey of nostalgia after the departure from my home, contains candid, staged portraits and moments in the backdrop of my hometown. Inspired by Robbe-Grillet’s Voyeur, which described the whole fiction in another subtle view instead of the subjective view, it occurred to me that I could accomplish a description of myself and a selfie through those directed portraits. As those models are mainly my close queer friends and Christian relatives, by what I mean, I am prone to perform my sentiments and sorrows so as to capture myself in those portraits of people I share intimacy relationships. Meanwhile, taking portraits in Soft Thorn as an example, I try to reveal and rebuilt the mental world of those people photographed through posing and directing their gestures in an intimate way. I persist the similarity of those portraits while stripping off individual and specific characteristics by directing models. A Dream in Red Mansion, a traditional Chinese fiction, has also impressed me with its fabulous depiction of all sorts of dreams mixed with bittersweet stories which provide me with ideas to structure dummy reality dream world, and I try to compose a dream, or a stage of illusion, through my artworks, like the daylight given by the immense hill or a vulnerable butterfly trying to escape from the shadow of dark clouds. I anticipate that viewers can finally reach the deepest ideological layer where truth and fantasy are buried in my works.

© Bowei Yang - The spring, Hangzhou, China, 2017.
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The spring, Hangzhou, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - An untitled selfie on the first day of 2017, Chongqin, China, 2017.
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An untitled selfie on the first day of 2017, Chongqin, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - Shen and his boyfriend, Beijing, China, 2017.
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Shen and his boyfriend, Beijing, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - The light behind a mountain, Hangzhou, China, 2017.
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The light behind a mountain, Hangzhou, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - Trapped, Hangzhou, China, 2016.
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Trapped, Hangzhou, China, 2016.

© Bowei Yang - Zhu and his makeup, Beijing, China, 2016.
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Zhu and his makeup, Beijing, China, 2016.

© Bowei Yang - The wounds, Hangzhou, China, 2016.
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The wounds, Hangzhou, China, 2016.

© Bowei Yang - A butterfly escaping from the clouds, Hangzhou, China, 2014.
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A butterfly escaping from the clouds, Hangzhou, China, 2014.

© Bowei Yang - Pan sitting in the flower lawn, Beijing, China, 2017.
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Pan sitting in the flower lawn, Beijing, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - Xie under the cherry tree, Beijing, China, 2016.
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Xie under the cherry tree, Beijing, China, 2016.

© Bowei Yang - The photograph of mum, Hangzhou, China, 2017.
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The photograph of mum, Hangzhou, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - Shen sitting by the Fuchun River, Hangzhou, China, 2016.
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Shen sitting by the Fuchun River, Hangzhou, China, 2016.

© Bowei Yang - Near the Fuchun river, Hangzhou, China, 2015.
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Near the Fuchun river, Hangzhou, China, 2015.

© Bowei Yang - Lu sitting aside by the window in her room, Hangzhou, China, 2013.
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Lu sitting aside by the window in her room, Hangzhou, China, 2013.

© Bowei Yang - The old home, Hangzhou, China, 2014.
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The old home, Hangzhou, China, 2014.

© Bowei Yang - The sleeping fishes, Hangzhou, China, 2015.
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The sleeping fishes, Hangzhou, China, 2015.

© Bowei Yang - Liu and his hair by the spring, Hangzhou, China, 2017.
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Liu and his hair by the spring, Hangzhou, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - The home, Hangzhou, China, 2017.
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The home, Hangzhou, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - Father, Beijing, China, 2017.
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Father, Beijing, China, 2017.

© Bowei Yang - Yu's Poet on the stone by the Fuchun river, Hangzhou, China, 2017.
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Yu's Poet on the stone by the Fuchun river, Hangzhou, China, 2017.

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