The Changing Notion of Chinese Beauty



Running time:

3:45 minutes


HD digital video, color with sound


Toronto, Canada


produced in association with Artscape Gibraltar Point

camera – Zhang Xiaoan

This video tells a story of a young woman pursuing the “ideal beauty” in a more radical way, through a nontherapeutic even harmful cosmetic surgery. This work exaggerates the subsequent trauma of non-therapeutic cosmetic surgery that became popular amongst Chinese women in the 2000s.

I made up to imitate and perform as a patient who is going to and undergoing the procedure of cosmetic surgery. I exaggerate the procedure of the surgery by sprinkling “blood” (crimson ink) over my body for showing the desensitized nature of the reconstructive surgery and the suffering of the body. After “surgery”, “her face” (the face of I acting as the patient) is covered without showing any of the facial characteristics to question Chinese Internet celebrities and models that have undergone cosmetic surgeries to become the same model of beauty.

Women are objects of representation rather than producers in history. When I placed my body at the center of the work of art and my body has been considered to be a site of public debate that poses questions for the changing notion of Chinese dominant standards of female beauty. My body and face are also converted from object to subject.

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