Transcript: Hu Xiaoyuan interview

Hu Xiaoyuan: Is Seeing Believing?

(Original language: Mandarin)

HU XIAOYUAN: Everything is in the process of fading away, but due to the brevity of our life there are some things that we don't notice. I'm currently thinking a lot about the issue of authenticity. It's an important aspect of how I perceive and think about this world and existence.

As an artist or as an individual, it's a fundamental part of my existence. In this exhibition, I depicted a pomegranate through my usual method. I found a very plump pomegranate in great shape at the supermarket and then I brought it back to the studio and applied xiao, which I often use in my creations.

Xiao is a pure and natural raw silk woven in a traditional way. I used it to tightly wrap the pomegranate and sew it up so it fit closely to its surface. I'm using xiao and I find the material itself intensely… biological.

It is a type of purely animal-derived material. It is woven with the simplest plain weave method and it's very, very clean, meaning only silk is used. Probably because of the interconnectedness of different organisms I am able to perceive certain qualities in this fabric.

For example, I can feel the breath of life in the material. After wrapping it, and as I often do, I use ink to paint all of the visible details on the pomegranate. We all know that the fruit will dry out and shrink as time passes. As it gets drier and drier, the xiao layer covering the surface also changes over time. That's when it becomes interesting

We all have the initial assumption that seeing is believing and that what we see is real. In this case, the initial layer I painted was what is believed to be the most authentic state of the pomegranate, but after a few months, it changed to this. So, which one of these two pomegranates is real?

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