Fan Xiaoyan is a sculptor who works in metals and plastics, creating scenes of bionic strength and surreal feminine. Her series of bionic barbies are representations of futuristic women who partake in society’s most manly arts; but have their robotic limbs freed them or imprisoned them? Are their poses and nudity porn-y, or is that just my programmed mind? I don’t know, to tell you the truth. I know when I look at her sculpture directly below, “This is Just a Legend,” I see women straining to prop up the masculine myth, doing their best to hold up the phallic fable that makes strength, perseverance and rationality inherently male traits. After all, isn’t that what we do? We suffer abuse and pain to continue our species, and the vast majority of us (with the exception of 99% of the women you see on TV) take it, say nothing, and journey on in our lives. When society tells us men are strong and we are weak, many of us nod our heads and push out babies bathed in blood and life, too tired to argue. Work like Fan Xiaoyan’s reminds us of our struggle, and paints a future where we are the ones riding on tanks,strapped to the gills. But not literally – our weapons are a part of our bodies and minds. Hopefully we don’t need to kill and maim to get there, but I’m not ruling it out.
Images via Opera Gallery