Trans-Figuration by Xue Song is on view at the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou from March 26 to April 20, 2022.
The exhibition title is inspired by the term “transfiguration” in Buddhist art, which can be applied to understand Xue Song’s appropriation of ready-made images. In his symbolic burning of images and reconstruction into collage, the artist transforms one medium into another, thereby giving it a new existence. However, just as in Buddhist thought, where current existence is an accumulation of experiences from past lives, the burned and reconstructed images in Xue Song’s art all carry traces of their original meaning, hidden behind layers of ashes and paint for the viewer to decipher.
In this video, we take an in-depth look into Xue Song’s career as a Chinese contemporary artist, covering his journey from his hometown of Dangshan, Anhui to the metropolitan city of Shanghai, his interest in Chinese history and contemporary culture, his wide range of subject matter, and the initial fire that sparked his inspiration for the iconic style of burnt collage that he is known for today.
Video Still from Trans-Figuration. Video: Courtesy of Li Youyou
The confrontation of one’s identity in terms of history, society, and culture has been an integral theme in the art of Xue Song, and was explored in the artist’s TED Talk on Oct 21, 2021 organized by TEDxHangzhouED.
Video Still from The Zeitgeist © TEDx Talks
In contemporary art magazine ArtReview’s coverage of the upcoming Art Taipei 2021 art fair, Xue Song’s mixed-media collage New Heights was prominently featured as both the article’s cover and content image.
Xue Song, New Heights, 2020 © Xue Song