In four-channel video Island, a series of objects such as nail clippers, hairbrush, toothpaste, and house decorations are displayed with close-up shoots. Images are rendered in a highly polished and aesthetic manner, creating poetic visual ?ows. In front of each object, however, lies a coin, ranging from 2 Yuan, to 1 Pound, to 1 Euro or 1 Dollar, silently revealing the material value of these household supplies. Underneath elegant surface there is a deep sense of critical irony, elaborating by the contradictory nature of the cheap plastic items and their sophistic visual interpretation. Kan poignantly and metaphorically comments on the economic and production structure of today’s global market. The most in?uential visual spectacles can be generated by the most basic elements in the everyday.
Experimenting with painting, photography, performance, and video installation, Kan Xuan explores the everyday from a very personal perspective. Though she graduated from the China Academy of Fine Art with rigorous training in oil painting, Kan quickly adopted video as her primary medium. From often ignored daily life experiences as points of departure, Kan creates a visual diary. Here, the camera amplifies mundane activities to reveal absurd and eerie details. For example, in Kan Xuan, Ai!, she calls and answers her own name among the crowd in subway station; in Eggs, she squeezes and breaks eggs with her hands, and in A Sunny Day two middle-aged men laugh and tickle each other in a public plaza. In other works Kan engages feminist discourse by situating herself in uncomfortable situations or exposing her body, such as standing naked on a public pedestal in A Happy Girl or allowing spiders to crawl over her in Looking Looking Looking For!.