Xan Shian: Eulogy of Gravity

MAY 12 - JUNE 2

An installation with photography, video & poetry by Montreal artist, Xan Shian.

Eulogy of Gravity is an interdisciplinary exploration into the factions of memory which exist within, inform and predict our lives. Based on two similar experiences of drowning in a swimming pool in Seville, both times held below the surface by a friend at the age of four, the project uses the element of water and the moment of suspension as catalysts for exploring other types of trauma and memory.  Eulogy of Gravity expounds on the idea that memories as moments in time are cyclical; they return upon themselves, repeat and multiply as threads which wind, shift and ultimately break. They become embedded in the sequence of our DNA and transfer across the span of a life to subsequent generations.


XAN SHIAN is a multi-disciplinary artist & poet living in Montreal. 

The visual landscapes I create are internal. They hybridize the rhetoric of seeing with the human desire to make conduits, to enable passageways to other beings. It has become, what seems, an unfulfillable obsession to evoke the responses of memory and lived experience through the merging of the written word and the photograph; to develop further, deeper, more resolved ways of conveying those things which lie outside the communicable. Together they (the image and the word) draft a new language, turn over stones to define rhythm and conversation between two mediums which themselves occupy polarities. As with darkness and light, they become reliant on one another for the articulation of their forms; become equally requisite to the performative function of their existence.

In my artistic practice I explore the ontology of truth by remixing my own archives to create fictionalised photograph and word-based narratives, often reimagining entire periods of my life. Such works question the nature of perceived reality, truthfulness in the digital epoch and the reliability of memory; they seek to deconstruct notions of fact through the questioning of my own capacity for recollection. Guided by a persevering interest in critical theory, I investigate visual representation and the ways in which both text and the subjectivity of truth disrupt the semiotic messaging of the image. My practice reflects my experience as an artist, poet and woman living in and traversing other continents, systems and cultural paradigms.