Mian xiang : my face my story.
Date of Issue2012
School of Art, Design and Media
Face-reading or Physiognomy is the art of reading the mind’s construction in the face and body. It is known to the Chinese as xiang, the character for which,相, consists of the pictures of a tree and an eye. The Shuowen jiezi 說文解字, a character dictionary from the Han dynasty, defines it as “eye meets thing” or “to inspect.” (Kohn, 1996). In面相Mian Xiang: My Face, My Story, I am interested in exploring the profound relationship between humanity’s inquiry into the metaphysical dimensions of life and its artistic manifestation. Using the Chinese traditional practice of face-reading, Mian Xiang as a vehicle and narrative tool, this project investigates into a person’s life based on evidences from old photographs, documents and belongings. According to Professor Ernst Van Alphen, a successful portrait confronts viewers not only with the “original”, “unique”, subjectivity of the portrayer, but also of that of the portrayed. This “meeting of two subjectivities” captures the individual’s true appearance but offers no more than a representation (Alphen, 1997). However, it is also my hunger to know what lies beyond this mere representation that drives this project forward. I invite you to read beyond the portraits, into each individual’s memories, to learn and experience their unique stories and journeys.
DRNTU::Visual arts and music
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University