ALEJANDRO CASTELLOTE. ASIAN FICTIONS
Except for Japan, the arrival of photography to the asiatic contemporary art is a relatively recent phenomenon. after a period of predominance of documentary photography in the last two decades of the 20th century, countries like china, taiwan or south korea face the photographic creation from more experimental approaches, trying not to imitate the Western models but exploring grammars closer to their own culture personality or reflecting about the unstoppable racial mixture of the collective imaginary, specially visible among the new generations. Despite the many differences that divide the group of countries present in this third edition of getXophoto, it is possible to establish a common thread in fiction and experimentation. in general terms, for many photographers from these countries, documentary realism is a synonym of ancient photography and staged photography or experimentation is fully projected into the contemporary aesthetics where reality is just an individual, fragmented and unstable experience. as Baudrillard argued, the simulacrum or the parody never hides the truth, but it’s the truth that hides the fact of its inexistence.
In the last two decades, many conceptual artists have come up using mise-en-scene, installations, video and other multimedia languages to generate a work where reality is substituted by the construction of personal universes. in fact, the upraising of the self-portrait in the chinese or Japanese contemporary photography topics, just to put two examples, is not but the ascertainment of the evanescence that characterises the collective identities of the 21st century. also, the advent of new technologies has put at the disposal of the creators the chance to exceed the limits of traditional disciplines. the digital manipulation of images has become a kind of second shutter for photographers. Many of them have stopped waiting for reality to show before their cameras a scene in accordance with what they want to express, and have started to recreate the world borrowing objects, sceneries or characters with which they configure, as a digital collage, the representation of their own individual universe.
The parables and visual metaphors, the mentions to the Japanese manga, cinema, advertising, the korean tV series or the classic and modern iconography of european art, often serve to undertake certain issues in a subtle and elliptic way, with great doses of irony, but also of amaze before the fast economic and cultural transformations the asia-pacific region has experienced in the last decades. obviously, the omnipresence of spectacular images in all kind of advertising materials has created a screen that tinges the collective imaginary with seductive artificiality. urban societies tend to substitute personal experiences by the possession of an image that approaches to the referent the media provides. the collision of the cultural tradition with the social mutations that take place with the massive moving of people to the large cities causes the artists to state their reflections about these changes.
Postmodernism, the claim of a spirituality closer to philosophy and asian religions, the relation with nature, globalization, as well as genre and individual and collective identity matters are some of the issues the creators approach. on the other hand, the transition to photography by artists coming from Performance, Body-art or Actionism is due not only to their need of documenting their ephemeral works, but also to their increasing interest for the creative potential that photography has to offer. this medium provides a polysemous language that enlarges the discursive and interpretative universe, but also multiplies the chances of the diffusion of an artwork; a capital matter in the art global market.
Consequently, there are lots of theatrelized sceneries that highlight the unavoidable immersion of the current societies into the frame of a huge global simulacrum. hence staged photography is an excellent medium for representation, as it enables the artists to include their opinions and to give voice to micro stories that have had no place in the official history. We shouldn’t forget that for decades, the official discourse has used realism as a system of representation. so, for the artists, taking distance from the directed thought of the state implies opening their proposals towards different visual narratives. the substitution of what is public for the emphasising on what is individual or private needs a reconfiguration of the world and that alternative narration can be tackled from fiction, leaving the mere transcription of reality in a second place.Authors 2009Gallery 2009