2009 Nanjing University, BA in Visual Communication Design
2013 Fine art Accademy Brera, Milano MA in Photography
In his essay, “ The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Walter Benjamin introduces the concept of the “Aura”. As the term implies, the aura is an effect of a work of art being uniquely present in time and space, and is the very nature that distinguishes a work of art from its replicas. The masses contribute to the loss of aura by seeking constantly to bring things closer. They create reproducible realities and hence destroy uniqueness.
The photography is probably the most reproducible art form in the age of mechanical reproduction. Nowadays, the innovating technologies enable everyone to take a picture anywhere anytime, but in the meanwhile more seriously weaken the uniqueness of photography compared to the other forms of art, such as paintings and sculptures.
However, among all forms of contemporary art, I still believe that photography is the one of the most contemporary artistic spirit. As proposed by Andy Warhol, everyone is an artist. Or perhaps as said by Joseph Beuys in “7000 Oaks”: mechanical reproduction can just make everyone express their emotions and feelings. Therefore, we can find the “Aura” in photography which is an open art not only for the artists, but also for everyone to enjoy.
In Bao’s works, tracing back to the nature of herself as a photographer, we can easily find out her unique and personal emotions through the transparent recordings.
- Memory Land
Bao turns her abstract memories into figurative forms. The black is a land where lay the mementos and imagination surrounded by the free-fall dusts, and accompanied by the rustles like a 1990s vintage TV which lacks signal; the bright is the faintly discernible luster in silhouette woods and along country road, and is the hand stripes out completely her emotions from the scenario between reality and fiction. Through her lens, we sense the “Aura”, a free association of imagination, an atmosphere of detached and transcendent beauty.
- Mountain and Forest
We can see no figurative object in this series, neither mountain nor forest, but can distinctly smell a damp earthy air by viewing Bao’s works. Using a half-working Polaroid machine as medium, she succeeds in giving us a sense of aesthetic distance. It reminds us the word of Walter Benjamin, “we define the aura of the later as the unique phenomenon of a distance, however close it may be.”
Thank Bao for bringing us the beautiful “Aura”, for sharing her spring-like fresh soul and showing her keen intuition as a photographer and as an contemporary artist.