b. 1971 in Xi An, China , Based in Paris & Beijing
An XiaoTong employs wide ranging techniques in her practice, including traditional Chinese painting, installation, collage, embroidery, conceptual dance, jewellery and so on. Her works mainly draws on traditional painting elements, such as ink and rice paper. The final imagery appears like an idealised utopia, the ruins after a disaster, or the multi-level landscape of the disappearing illusion. To create these landscapes, she selects and uses paper with different ink shading, resulting in a multilayered collage. During this process, the traditional Chinese shanshui 山水 painting technique is employed. Through the shansui technique, the work expresses a sense of tranquility, guiding the viewer into self- introspection, and increasing their perception of, and engagement with, surrounding space. At the same time, An XiaoTong avoids strong conceptual references, resulting in a simple series of landscapes.
Before 2001, An XiaoTong mostly utilised traditional Chinese painting techniques, but her long career brought her to a standstil. She found her use of tradition a “material” practice, lacking of the connection to the mind and the spirit which is so vital to an artist. After years of reflection, she was determined to fundamentally change her practice. Thus, she did away with the technical stress of her former paintings, and adopted new mediums to express her renewed artistic language.
In her most recent exhibition at Migrant Bird Space, XiaoTong's paintings trace the memories and experiences of Berlin. Using embroidery, the artist connects together these memories, ultimately displaying them in a way that resemble a scroll of an ancient Chinese scholar.