Identity Re-examined: Luo Yang's project GIRLS

Culture — 27.12.18

Words by Nan Collymore
Images provided by Moonduckling

Luo Yang makes photographs within a particular milieu of contemporary photographers— exquisitely autobiographical and edgy, her photos depict the romance in the urbane. Constructing narratives in a vein similar to that of Corinne Day—both looked to their immediate circle for inspiration, building lasting connections and stories through their photography.

The ’90s, when Day was photographing for Dazed and Confused and The Face are not dissimilar to this current climate of great pause, where a younger generation is pushing forward with their own set of narratives and building a politic based on personal experience, rather than settling on the limited ideas of a past generation. Yang is pursuing this doggedly in her series Girls, Wang Yanyun and Zhou Yan.

Yang constructs a narrative for each subject and builds an almost cinematic framework for them to perform within. In her ongoing series GIRLS, she eschews the superficial for excavation of emotions and depth. The women in her photographs are active and evocative of a growing politicised maelstrom of women who are demonstrating their agency in more original ways. Body hair and the female body are still political material, but Yang includes both as points of gesture, ways to illustrate the subject’s ordinariness and their lack of distinctly feminine performativity.

The intimacy she conjures is something that can be lost in photographers who work solely with models or people they have encountered over a brief period of time. Her approach to her subjects is relational, and this is why we see so much in her photographs, the persistence in the gaze or the detached nature of each woman’s glance at the camera, so much potentiality is captured within seconds of each frame.

Yang will be nominated as part of the New Wave: Creatives – an initiative by the British Fashion Council that seeks to celebrate next-generation creative talents across the globe, along with fellow artists-Wang Ziqian, Zeng Wu, Leslie Zhang Jia Cheng and Jin Jia Ji.

The a10-year retrospective of GIRLS will be co-curated by Chomwan Weeraworawit and RDX and presented by Moonduckling and showing in Bangkok from December 9th.