Homescapes: Chen Shaoxiong’s constructed scenes

At the V&A this week, I saw a work from Homescapes (2002) by Chinese artist Chen Shaoxiong (1962-2016).  These collages of photographic cutouts recreate scenes from Chinese life, but the cutouts have been curated to form scenes that do not appear functional; instead each element is placed within space, making each work to be like an exhibition within itself.

Photo collage from Chen Shaoxiong's Homescapes (2002) at the V&A 

Photo collage from Homescapes (2002) by Chen Shaoxiong at V&A

I have long been interested in artists who use cutouts, and have used this approach in past projects of my own.  For my proposal last module, cutouts were a part of my idea, as was the looking in to the domestic space of another, and seeing Chen Shaoxiong’s work was a reminder to me that I do not necessarily need to take a direct peephole approach to convey these ideas.  The sense of scale, the smallness of the cutouts, can have that impact too – a sense of overlooking.  I am also interested that he considered his approach to be a type of landscape:

““Homescape” is a way of taking photos without focus because as far as I am concerned, “Home” is a landscape which not only could be viewed repeatedly but could be moved, a landscape through which people could visit,examine and even pry into another’s life, a landscape which creates an exotic atmosphere. Taking “Homescape” from one place to another for people to see is a kind of “reverse journey”. If “Streetscape” is considered to be the first act of city drama in our life, then “Homescape” is the second act. …”

From Korea Times:

“Chinese artist Chen Shaoxiong makes “photo-cut collages, which capture everyday life in modern China.” In “Homescape,” he uses cut-up photographs and re-creates a Chinese home. “What is notable is that the people and things are not arranged according to their places and functions, in a replication of actual spaces but are arranged as if in an exhibition inside neutral ‘white cubes,’ thus giving viewers independent elements of a ‘landscape’ rather than a total image of a household,”.”



I find these small ‘landscapes of life’ very engaging and interesting, especially when contained into white ‘boxes’ as rooms.


Websites accessed 18 November 2018