“Wrapped Desires” – Solo exhibition of Jiao Xingtao 焦兴涛
Curator: Selena Yang and Martijn Kielstra
Venue: Canvas International Art, Amsterdam
Exhibition Period: 11 Dec 2010 – 8 Jan 2011
Supported by: Oooit Art

I think that Jiao Xingtao’s work is not just about looking at waste from an ecological and environmental perspective. He emphasizes looking at the issue from a philosophical and aesthetic standpoint. In the process of magnifying, emphasizing, and artistically processing these waste materials, he attempts to explore humanity, desires, the encapsulation of desires, and to evoke people’s imaginations to penetrate the concealment of packaging. He tries to reconstruct human subjectivity in reconsidering the relationship between objects and people, establishing a special dialogical relationship between these waste materials and contemporary individuals.

Contemporary individuals find themselves in a state of lacking communication, closed minds, and full of misunderstandings. When we turn to a visual scene related to material and desire, Jiao Xingtao’s work carefully sets up the visual relationship between objects and people: “real lies” and “false truths”. They are realistic but distorted; they are commonplace but astonishing; they are familiar but strange. These works provide people with a strange mixture: the pleasure derived from visual reality and proximity to the consumer experience, and the absurdity and strangeness produced by the magnification and distortion of packaging form a “hesitant pleasure.” It is on the basis of familiar objects that people break free from enclosure and misunderstandings, and from a common visual experience, a need for understanding and communication arises.

I believe the creators of these objects do not intend to be preachy, deliberately telling us something. What I appreciate more about this collection of works is their cool and contemplative manner, which is silent and not ostentatious. At times, they intentionally blur the boundaries between sculpture and real objects, between the visual and tactile boundaries; at times, they inadvertently show traces of the artist’s intervention, such as letting items flow or reversing the packaging paper.

If the role of packaging on products is to induce people to desire and to tempt them to unwrap, Jiao Xingtao’s representation of discarded packaging materials is an attempt to induce people to imagine their “causes” by discarding this “result”; it is an attempt to penetrate the concealment of imagination. This effort turns viewing into a form of speculation: waste, packaging, and even viewing itself have metaphysical significance because of the act of viewing.

Excerpt from article “A Place of Enlightenment in Triviality and Abandonment” by Sun Zhenhua