It is the largest showcase of artist Xing Danwen’s art in her entire career. Her new exhibition, Captive of Love, at Beijing’s Red Brick Art Museum not only displays many of the photographs that have made her a much talked about name in Chinese art circle, but also features a number of her installation works and videos, most of which were created during the earlier parts of the 50-year-old’s career.


According to the exhibition’s Brussels-based curator, Tarek Abou El Fetouh, Captive of Love mainly focuses on the artist’s relationship with Beijing, as well as presents a personal narrative of the experiences of her generation in China during the 1990s.


The exhibition’s name is inspired by French poet and writer Jean Genet’s last book, Prisoner of Love, which describes his experiences living among Palestinian and Black Panther activists. 


The exhibition recalls several threads from Jean Genet’s book, which provide a prism for a special interpretation of Xing’s artistic practice; in every image she creates, Xing reconstructs reality, as if driven by a compulsive desire to be at the center of the incident, approaching her characters with a marked sensuality. Through photographs, installations and videos, she positions herself inside events as a subject, a model, or a critical eye, creating a visual language that is both subversive and poetic.


The curator said that he was obsessed with Xing’s special art ap-proach after he visited her studio in 2011. Before this exhibition, Abou El Fetouh also worked with Xing for the Lest the Two Seas Meet exhibition at MoMA Warsaw in 2015. Abou El Fetouh explained that he became very interested in how Chinese artists in the 1990s made their art creations against the backdrop of the social and economic changes that were occurring in the country.


At the opening to the exhibition, Xing explained that she enjoys taking photos in many dangerous places such as deserts and remote areas. For one of her photos, she even traveled deep into a coal mine in Shanxi Province with miners who were covered in coal.


The exhibition will run until October 29.