In my photobook Fantasie Impromptu, I have designed many folded pages, with sketches of my artwork in between them. Similar to music composition, the paintings are the products of my imagination
Heavily inspired by the Surrealist artists' interest in exploring psychology, Zheng Fang uses her camera to express her subconscious, instincts and dreams with symbols and objects found in real life. With her background in dancing, Fang uses body language to create a series of abstract self-portraits that represent what's on her mind. Shortlisted in the 2020 Exposure Award, her work is available to purchase via our digital exhibition PHOTOFAIRS PRESENTS: Exposure Award until 11 October, 2020. In this special ARTIST TAKEOVER Fang reflects on her photographic practice.
I have sketchbooks on my workbench and on my nightstand so that I can write notes at any time. Ideas for images normally come to me when I’m physically tired but mentally active – usually before I sleep or when I experience insomnia.
Some images seem to come from nowhere, a flash in my mind, for no reason, while others are re-engineered images that I’ve seen before. The reengineering process seems to be under the influence of a feeling, like in a dream, which is unpredictable and unprogrammable and without a particular reason, but it’s a feeling, a strong perception that makes me feel at ease and excited.
The moment the idea flashes in my mind, it is already there, in the sketchbook, on the wall, on my desk, in the mirror, or in some corner of the room. I allow it to stay, glancing at it from time to time, until we become acquainted and I capture it in my work. Some of the images will fade out of my memory and stay only in my sketchbook, while the images that always come back to haunt me until I shoot them leave me in awe and on edge.
In my photobook Fantasie Impromptu, I have designed many folded pages, with sketches of my artwork in between them. Similar to music composition, the paintings are the products of my imagination and reengineering, which came into being the moment they were presented, like illusions and dreams. It was as if I was playing the music as I was writing it. I was painting as I was imagining, intuitively and subconsciously bringing them into reality. The work was stimulated by many elements from the surroundings, emotions and images. There was a main thread created in between these multiple moments, which in turn gave birth to various branches. This is the source of the melodic change in this artwork.
I am not going after any specific real image. Rather, I am more intrigued by representing the re-arranged spatial and temporal order of life and images in a series of abstract and poetized body postures, because they depict the inner side of life and people from a unique and in-depth perspective. As artistic images, they are not real, but their strong expression of authentic feelings and meanings plucks the heartstrings of people. Art that features body language is amazingly expressive, creating for people a limitless space for imagination, a fully artistically transformed world of reality. I am hoping that such art will usher us into this boundless world of imagination, where people find and validate themselves.
Bodies are the main thread of the series as well as the language symbol. As a means of artistic expression, human posture on one hand conveys and expresses the subtle human thoughts and authentic human feelings that cannot be captured in words. On the other hand, this form of expression, which is fluid and rhythmic as well as abstract, virtual and symbolic, is creating a language through imagery.
View Zheng Fang's artworks in PHOTOFAIRS PRESENTS: Exposure Award