Born 1983 – China
“What Did the Masters Come to the East for? Duchamp Fountain”
Weaving Realities will present “Xiao Fang,” a project of Hu’s that has been ongoing since 2015 and the debut of “Qiao Xiaohuan,” the hidden figure behind the character “Xiao Fang.” “Xiao Fang” emerged from a discovery Hu made on a trip back to her hometown in rural Sichuan. The elderly women in town, including her mother, hand-wove traditional woolen hats, which they sold in bulk at a low price at the time. The artist then hired a friend to play a character named “Xiao Fang” and introduced her to her mother, Yin Sanjie. Xiao Fang was a conscientious and generous acquirer and bought Yin’s woven hat for a high price. The act built and nourished Yin’s confidence and the story began spreading through the network of weavers in town, and more and more elderly women started selling their hats to Xiao Fang over time. The white lie of “Xiao Fang” rolled on like a ball of wool, weaving together an entire community. The elderly women designed collections of woven objects based on their own living conditions and imaginations of the outside world: bikinis (the “Snow White Dove” stage), imaginary enemies and arms (the “Sense of Security” stage), urban household essentials, such as cars (the “Standard Configuration” stage), and so on. The social ecology of this rural town and the women’s private lives transformed drastically as a result.
“Xiao Fang” recalls women’s life as factory workers in the twentieth century and Hu’s upbringing among them. Hu Yinping plays the role of a mediator to liberate marginalized women from their traditional roles in repetitive rural and domestic labor and bestow upon them tools for imagination and aesthetic pursuit. At the same time, “Xiao Fang” further deepens and complicates “events fabrication” as a throughline in the artist’s practice. The figure behind this long-running scheme is Qiao Xiaohuan, a highly accomplished commercial artist and Hu’s alternate persona. The success of “Qiao Xiaohuan” in the art market patronizes Hu’s practice and the operation of “Xiao Fang.”