Fei Wang is a Chinese visual artist based in London and Shenzhen. Her work is mostly focused on the impact of trauma on individuals, with a focus on power and the violence of human nature on a spiritual level. Inspired by literature and cinema, her work is a constant practice of expressing herself through controlling the distance between image and reality. She uses photography, installation, video, and writing as her main media.
I have been thinking the intertwined nature of "mirrors" and "windows". The forest at dusk transports me to a time and place where Lars von Trier's Antichrist meets the history of the witch hunt. The dark red curtains of the street propel me into the demon's room in David Lynch's Twin Peaks. The twisted body traps me in Yorgos Lanthimos' Dogtooth, where a family is under the extreme control of their parents. If reality is a street and the individual psyche is a house, then I am always pushed into the house where I belong at random moments. The unresolved images on the street are the keys to my house: a floating tree shadow, a door to the unknown, an obscured window, a puddle of frozen water. What elements are added to or subtracted from these images will move me closer or further away from reality. I am constantly picking up a stone and putting down another one in the image through practice. In the process, I am constantly figuring out the scale that exists between reality and the mental space in the images.
One night, as I lay in bed, the moon appeared in the uppermost pane of the window, discreetly emitting a firm light. At that moment, my body turned into a liquid and flowed into the walls of a room filled with objects. The external space was no longer a hard solid, but a sponge that could absorb water. I thought of Fernando Pessoa's description in The Book of Disquiet, "My heart draped in a child's velvet shirt, going to a church it did not know, smiling in the open white collar, flushed with the first excited impressions, without any hint of sadness in its eyes."
This project focuses on the dissociative state that individuals experience after a traumatic event, and it considers the evolving relationship between traumatic memories and the transformative passage of time. The dissociative state is a mechanism that people use to cope with trauma. In this state, individuals become detached from their real environment, creating a feeling of being in a dream or observing from afar. Time perception can slow down, speed up, or become disrupted and confusing. I use photography as a medium to explore the space-time between reality and the psyche, demonstrating how this space-time can capture and suspend memories indefinitely.
This work focuses on children, who are seen as representatives of vulnerability, leading to a discussion of broader power relations. To challenge power dynamics between adults and children, a fictional crime was staged in which a group of children killed their parents.
There are three reasons for choosing child crime as a research subject. The first reason is Neil Bozeman's argument in communication studies that changes in the media environment can expose children to the secrets of the adult world prematurely. This idea states that children's behavior acts like a mirror, reflecting the family and social environment in which the child lives. The second reason is that adults feel more fearful of children committing crimes than adults themselves do. This heightened level of fear stems firstly from adults' anxiety about their own lives and uncertainty about the future, and secondly from the fact that child crime shatters the notion of the child as a product of adult society, making adults feel that they have lost control over their children. The third reason is that in the case of children killing their parents, crime becomes a way for children to escape control and abuse, with cruelty being their only path to freedom.
The work extends the experience of domestic abuse from the individuality to a group, showing the psychological trauma caused by parents’ wrong upbringing through performance and literary metaphor, and discusses how to deal with such shadows. In the creation, displaying the physical and mental trauma by inviting peers to reproduce their experience of being abused. The intervention of the flashlight, on the one hand, highlights the moment of violence, on the other hand, the process of light eliminating shadows symbols the act of educating children. The metaphorical scenes and items causing punishment in the reality are created the turbulent atmosphere to express the brooding oppressive family atmosphere hidden in the seemingly calm daily life. Images constructed in various ways interact and interweave together to create a chaotic state between reality and nightmare.