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Red Beauty
by Fabien Fryns Fine Art
Location: Fabien Fryns Fine Art
Artist(s): CHEN Man
Date: 11 Mar - 24 Apr 2010

Fabien Fryns Fine Art is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition of Chinese photographer Chen Man’s work, titled Red Beauty. Born in 1980 in Beijing, Chen graduated from the photography department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2005. She has produced photographs for prestigious fashion magazines, such as Vogue, Elle and Bazaar, among others.

The color of red has always been a metaphor for China in the West. For Chinese, red is traditionally the symbolic color for virginity, happiness and fortune. The six images in the exhibition, all with scarlet background, highlight fantasies with the body that pervade real life in today’s China. Artsy, futuristic, alienating and sensuous, these photographs are guilty pleasures. They not only reveal Chen’s gift for celebrating portraiture, but also demonstrate her meticulous control over her models. The ultra-thin Chinese models, with ivory skin, long legs and robot-like facial expressions, strike choreographic and seductive poses. The sheer vermilion or peach-color dresses and traditional Chinese motifs are photo-shopped either on the models’ bodies or into the background. In the digital age, Chen is not shy about taking advantage of technology to manipulate her images until they are perfectly rendered and inhumanly gorgeous. Chen is keenly aware that beauty has an element of tragedy — it is fragile, short-lived and at a terrible loss of self. Growing up in the most accelerating era in China’s history, Chen fully understands how the notion of beauty in China has been constantly and irresistibly influenced by Western media and popular culture. Yet, she has never lost her own sense of tradition. She is eager to incorporate art within a broader social and cultural context of contemporary China.

The line between fashion photography and art has been ubiquitously blurred. The theme of fashion encompasses a diverse range of practices and ideas, including explorations of identity and affiliation, consumerism, gender and globalization. And it becomes increasingly complex when new media are introduced to visual arts. Chen has always been interested in the interaction between high art, commercial art, fashion, advertising and pop culture. After all, faces, bodies and garments are among the most telling elements in most of the photographs; pose, style and fashion are not far behind.

Red Beauty, the debut solo exhibition of Chen Man’s photography in Los Angeles, will be on view at Fabien Fryns Fine Art from March 11 through April 24, 2010. Due to the itinerary conflict, the artist will not be attending the opening.

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