“Art should be romantic and full of imagination.”
Born 1983, Baishan, Jilin. Lives and works in Beijing
Geng Xue is not content with making realistic sculptures; she wants them to live. In Mr Sea (2014), exquisite porcelain puppets and scenery revitalise a 17th-century Chinese ghost story in which a scholar seeking peace on a remote island meets a beautiful woman who turns out to be a sea monster. In Poetry of Michelangelo (2015), the sober steps of an instructional video (“Shape the arms”; “Adjust the details of the face”) introduce scenes of Geng Xue shaping a male figure with strokes as lingering as a lover’s caresses. When she kisses its mouth, it starts to move and breathe. When she cuts off its limbs “in preparation for moulding”, she seems to be murdering her beloved. Geng Xue treasures traditional Chinese culture but believes it too needs reviving. She uses the language of film to infuse it with new possibilities and “contemporary sensibility”.