The Anatomy of Unconditionality - Conversation with artist Di Jingxian
Artist Di Jingxian
What does the concept of unconditionality mean to you personally, and how does the idea of unconditionality influence your artistic process and approach to creating art?
Unconditionality for me personally means unconditional understanding and acceptance. This understanding and acceptance comes from an inner strength; only when we can fully recognise our own uniqueness can we equally understand and accept the differences of others, affirming them as equally respectable individuals, and meaning that we no longer rely on external expectations or conditions to validate our own value and importance.
In my art, the concept of Unconditionality has inspired me to abandon my reliance on external judgement and instead focus on self-expression and exploration of my inner world. This freedom has allowed me to explore new territories and experiment with different artistic mediums more freely and confidently in my work, as well as to be more tolerant and understanding of diverse art forms.
How has living and working in Seoul, a city celebrated for its dynamic art scene and cultural richness, impacted your artistic journey and played a role in shaping your unique creative style?
Seoul is a cosmopolitan Asian city that is home to many people from all over the world, bringing with them different identities and ideas, creating a unique and complex cultural atmosphere that also influences the local population. As an artist from China, I bring my own identity and thoughts to observe and feel the uniqueness of the city, capturing the local cultural identity and complexity that locals may overlook, a complexity that is fascinating and which provides me with a wealth of material and inspiration. It is also here that I find the interest in cross-cultural exchanges and try to embody them in my creative work.
Your art often explores the intersection between fashion and societal norms. How do you see fashion as a means of self-expression and challenging conventional notions of identity?
Social norms often have clear requirements and expectations of how people should dress, trying to limit their expression and freedom through clothing. So the power of fashion is that it can be a form of resistance, and I feel lucky to live in a time when individuals can dare to express themselves through their clothes without being limited by gender, age, race or social status. Observing these courageous and confident people at the same time allows me to learn to embrace more diverse voices.
How does your current collection of artwork in "The Anatomy of Unconditionality, 2023" exhibition relate to the themes and ideas explored in your previous work “Proper, 2022” ? Can you discuss how your earlier art has influenced the development of your artistic practice and the concepts explored in this exhibition?
Formally, both projects choose to use visually documented photographs as a medium to present a holistic social phenomenon with several disaggregated individuals; essentially, both projects are concerned with exploring the impact of social norms on individuals and society.
In Proper, 2022, by highlighting the homogenisation of Korean fashion, the viewer is prompted to consider the social norms that govern the individual, and to emphasise the importance of individual expression. In The Anatomy of Unconditionality, 2023, we explore the concept of 'unconditional love' by contrasting the delicate 'real floral ear clips' made by Florist with LeMandorle's 'real floral ear clips'. The contrast between the florist's delicate 'real floral ear clips' and LeMandorle's 'fake floral ear clips' poses the question to the audience: how do we build up our perceptions and requirements? Because we often focus too much on external judgements, it is difficult to take a serious look at ourselves. Therefore, this exhibition actually asks the audience to face themselves, we have set up mirrors, chairs and other installations in the hope that the audience can rethink the relationship between the individual and society, between the self and others while participating.