Shuwen Xu


Shuwen Xu was born in Wuhan, China in 1992. Trained as an architect, she got her B.Arch. from Southeast University in 2015 and has been an architectural intern in China. While with increasing obsession with fine art, she decided to continue her education in an art school in US. She enrolled Rhode Island School of Design, exploring various art media, and received M.L.A. and History of Art and Visual Culture Certificate from RISD in 2018.

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Growing up incompatibly and being exposed in a different culture later, I deeply felt detached and the incomprehensibility between people. I’m longing for communication
and expressing myself through works, but meanwhile, instinctively, I always try to hide myself. My intuitive impulse for this project “LANDSCAPE” was to hide myself in an oversized nature-setting, thus I printed the photos of shaking plants at human scale, installed them in my room, and shot the settings with my body blending in them. I used view-camera which gave me the sense of “being-looked-at” during shooting.

Those shaking plants were chosen as subjects juxtaposed with body for several reasons: I felt being protected within their huge leaves, branches, and roots in
darkness, and on the other hand, I was fascinated by the natural phenomena at night (wind and shaking branches, twinkling light and shadow, mixture of artificial light and
moonlight), so I tried to use “still” images to capture “actions” in a certain duration; also in my photographic practice, I thought the content or “referent” in photos usually
overwhelmed the medium itself — only when I shot “nothing”, the essence, or “truth” of photography would emerge from the mess.