MIRROR AND ILLUSION
Xiaoyou Fu is a contemporary artist. By exploring photography and mixed media, I looked at other ways to communicate emotion and depict ambience. I also exhibited certain ethereal aspects of Eastern culture in an abstract form. Through my works, I hope to inspire the audience to experience a bizarre beauty and fable-like setting. I applied acrylic paint to the mirror in a variety of ways, and then used the mirror’s reflection to make the mundane items in reality more interesting. I used paper towels, flowers, and my own body parts in the study of mirrors, simple and vital materials in mixed-media research.
I couldn’t go to the school studio since it was in the midst of a severe outbreak of Covid-19. Because I could only find inspiration at home, I discovered by mistake that the mirror in the bathroom is a great source of inspiration. Because the mirror in the bathroom has a make-up lamp, everything reflected on it is more likely to display the original colour condition. This prompted me to colourise the mirror. Simultaneously, because there is a cabinet behind the mirror, the mirror may be opened to various angles. This allowed me to alter the tilt of the mirror and keep other distracting variables out of the shooting image. On the other hand, the audience may feel more sympathetic since the impression of space created by the mirror is difficult to replicate with other materials.
In this project, I grouped the images into two distinct sets of works. The first series is a collection entitled ‘Flower in the mirror and mood in water’ that depicts a dreamy and lovely ambience and reflects a desire for fairy tales. I did a lot of research on relics because many cultural relics from the East contain my idea. I like reading oriental poetry as well. There is a word in Chinese poetry which call ‘镜花水月’（jing hua shui yue), translated into English as ‘Flower in mirror and moon in water’, it means an illusion.
Xiaoyou’s work is generally red. Red is my favourite colour because it exudes vitality. And red is the most significant colour in the East. I believe that red will be a good bridge to connect the two series of works. In one of the pieces, a whirlpool was encircled by red fish, with a hand in the centre. This piece was inspired by a narrative from the East. Westerners like to relate a deceased person’s soul to a star, but Easterners like to compare a deceased person’s soul to a fish. The hand that longs to touch expresses a hesitant feeling. Even when the world’s proportions differ, we still need personal interaction.
The second series is a collection entitled ‘Wilting Roses’. This series of works is deeply influenced by Pat Brassington. Her creations are full of a terrifying beauty that gives me a sense of danger and charm. I am addicted to this dangerous beauty. Working with photography and mixed media, every picture I made comes from a bad feeling I had, but I don’t want to show it too strongly. I try to show how I feel by painting a big area of colours. At the same time, I think the best way for me to say what I want to say is through flowers. I like drawing petals because I can move the animation pen around. Drawing petals feels very intuitive to me. Flowers live and die but when I draw them I can believe that representation lives on. After using the mirror to complete a large number of materials, I consider how to present it for the audience to immerse themselves in my work. According to her tutor’s prompt, she chose to use a projector in a dark room to project the photos onto the wall.
I continue to investigate the flexibility of these materials in the hopes of making advances in other areas. I printed and pasted images of mirror experiments on the wall, then experimented with different arrangements to bring these strange elements together. I believe the big red will bring shock and romantic effects. As a result, I was motivated to create a red illusion on the wall. I used a brush to draw lots of petals on the wall, and used glue to stick some red paper towels on the wall to create a natural shadows, so that the image looks more interesting.
Finally, I discovered that reintroducing the mirror aspect would make the overall composition more fascinating.