Kiki Xue

1. Aesthetic: The study of the mind and emotions in relation to the sense of beauty. How has aesthetic evolved over the years and how has it influenced fashion photography? What is your approach with aesthetic in your works?

The sense of beauty is one of the many emotions we can feel. So I believe that one’s sense of beauty depends on the surrounding environment and a progressive accumulation of knowledge and living experience. In the contemporary era, fashion photography is getting closer to our lives and, we can say, it is a part of our lives. We share, we spread, and we propose a way of life through the photo we shoot.

I prefer to merge different elements in my work. I come from China, now I live in Paris. My understanding of “elements of fusion” comes from Eastern and Western cultures, and I believe this blending together of cultures is the future. In terms of art, I prefer to work with the incomplete and destructive emotions. I believe we need to free up some space to relieve the feeling of oppression when people look at the perfection of the art. For this reason I said I need incomplete and destructive elements blended into my aesthetic.

2. Identity. “We contain multitudes,” wrote Walt Whitman, referring to the fact that we see ourselves in a different way depending on different contexts.  Nowadays, gender and sexuality have been explored in many ways, from art to cinema and of course fashion. Fashion photography is a means to capture reality and changes within it. How do you reflect identity in your works?

I believe photography is an artistic behaviour. But of course, it is very difficult to work on an independent research practice by fashion photography point of view. Differently to art photography, fashion photography was initially built on business with inspirations from films, architecture, paintings and lives and mainly installed in one “lock box”. Fashion photography is the fastest, and sometimes convenient way to capture the world around you. So, in these terms, inspirations are fundamental for fashion photography. I worked with different forms and medium in my artistic practice, but not one can be as direct as photography. So I took all my inspirations and embodied them in the reconstruction and design of my photography. 

3. Beauty in fashion. “The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express”, said Francis Bacon. Fashion photography once depicted a perfect kind of beauty, almost false in its perfection. Nowadays, fashion photography focuses on imperfection and peculiar traits. Which is your relationship with beauty? How has the language of photography mutated in the past years?

I don’t think the purpose of beauty is looking for perfection. We need to find space to think about it. At the moment fashion photography is working too much on the performance in order to express identity. This is particularly relevant to the youngest cultural society. When we think about the world of social network, its main purpose is often to catch people’s attention in the fastest and most instantaneous way. We lost patience to investigate the natural sense of beauty, but at the same time we are looking for difference. In the past recent years fashion photography is going to this direction, and this is absolutely connected to what is happening in the contemporary age. I hope I can keep my passion for photography and express my own thinking. The meaning of the word difference is unique in each of us.

4. Sociology: the study of human behaviour. How is photography able to portray social changes? Is fashion photography a way to portray cultural changes within society? How have social and cultural changes influenced your works?

The photography is actually very simple. I show my own feelings through photography. If we want to define photography as capable to portray social changes, I think it’s a definition we cannot afford. Rather, the social revolution we are seeing in the recent years has greatly influenced the fashion industry to change, mainly because of economic and lifestyle reasons. However, photography is the artists’ personal behaviour and in these terms, selfishly, I’m more concerned with expression of my own feelings. Society is a land of nutrition from which I am grown and fed through knowledge and inspiration and now I can express themselves through photography.

5. “This is me not being you”: an exhibition about identity, gender and change. How have your works expressed this feeling? How do you express your personal background through your works?

It is a very special exhibition as the works are all by young photographers. I went to the exhibition and my works are concentrated on my self- characters. I hope, no matter in which form art is displayed, audience can reach my thinking and my work can ignite in them the desire to re-think beauty, like an opportunity of communication and dialogue through my work. When an artist complete the creation of a work, I believe the residual vitality is in the hands of the public. I am only a very small part of my work. This is not such related to my background but to the photo itself.

by Giovanna Pisacane