Window - Man

Huang Xiaoliang


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Object Detail

video (black and white, silent)
31 min 39 sec
Huang Xiaoliang’s video projection, Window – Man, depicts the shadowy silhouette of a male figure as he moves in a window frame. As an artist, Huang is interested in the fundamentals of photography, the communicative possibilities of light and shadow, and how the photographic image may be ‘read’. Interested in the literal meaning of the word, ‘writing with light’, Huang describes the camera as a piece of ‘light and shadow imaging equipment.’ When he began to use projected shadows as key images in his work, he thought about the potential for photographs to powerfully evoke memories. Can a photograph bridge past and present, creating a timeless image?

Huang Xiaoliang remembers playing shadow games in the park when he was a university student. His video projections also recall the traditional Chinese folk art of shadow puppetry. This practice is said to have originated from an attempt to revive the spirits and health of an ailing widower Emperor during the Han Dynasty: his advisor found children playing with parasols in the sun, casting elaborate shadows, and realised he could create a likeness of the late Empress using shadows cast on a screen. Whether these imperial origins are fact or fiction, shadow puppetry has had a long history in China. Huang says he was not consciously thinking of this puppet tradition when he planned his shadow photographs, but rather of the layered meanings of the word ‘shadow’ in Chinese: ‘yingzi’ suggests an implication, a subtle shift of possibility, a hint or a trace.
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