A still from the video ABSTRACCIÓN by Xiaowei Wu and Shao Yixuan

Single-channel video with sound
11 minutes and 40 seconds

Out of Darkness: Xiaowei Wu and Shao Yixuan

A Block Gallery Exhibition by Raleigh Arts


Single-channel video with sound
11 minutes and 40 seconds

View the single-channel video

Wu Xiaowei takes interest in darkness, as an impulse to diminish representations as well as an aesthetic to resist coding by popular entertainment and commercial art. Demanding time and room for poetry, her video work shares the treatment of time with slow cinema and dilutes the image. In her recent work, sound and text are combined with the diluted image to evoke invisible spacetime, such as one revolving around visions of abstractions from her mathematical training, personal and collective memories, and experiences with native and acquired languages.

ABSTRACCIÓN, a collaborative piece by Wu Xiaowei and sound and visual artist Shao Yixuan, is a multichannel video with sound exploring perceptions of quantities and scales, and of human beings, among all discrete objects in their multiplicities. This project consists of a 5-channel video on loop and spatialized audio. The single-channel iteration on display at Block Gallery was made for the Out of Darkness exhibition.

The sounds, recorded using household objects and voice, combine with the Film Noir style video to echo mundane activities as well as grave atrocities. On top of sound and images, the piece makes use of attributes of particular languages, such as Chinese measure words, and while they suggest specific traditions and historical incidents, the video as a whole is deprived of any cultural or political context.

Spheres, perfect forms of the ideal realm, are inserted into the material world where they are subjected to the same laws of physics as other inhabitants of this world. Their materials, such as absorbent polymers, chocolate, and flour, fall into and out of anonymity on film. The beads are captured with utmost physicality to revoke their ideality and to introduce individual differences. Meanwhile, mental abstraction reverses this process, stripping away physical properties and returning to the group an ideal homogeneity.

The beads, read as bodies or souls, exist with suspended identities. The long takes bear witness to their transformations and exchanges, whether physical, chemical, or illusory.



Stacy Bloom Rexrode
Curator of Exhibitions and Collections

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
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Raleigh Arts
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Arts Commission
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