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面相 Mian Xiang: Stories Beyond the Portrait, 2012
Face-reading or Physiognomy is the art of reading the mind’s construction in the face and body. It is known to the Chinese as xiang, the character for which, 相, consists of the pictures of a tree and an eye. The Shuowen jiezi 說文解字, a character dictionary from the Han dynasty, defines it as “eye meets thing” or “to inspect.” (Kohn, 1996).
In 面相 Mian Xiang, I am interested in this physiognomic inspection or reading of the face and the profound relationship of humanity’s inquiry into the metaphysical dimensions of life. Using the concept of the 100 Year Map 百歲圖 in Chinese traditional practice of face-reading as a vehicle and narration tool, this project investigates into a person’s life based on evidences from old photographs, documents and belongings.
I invite you to read beyond these portraits, into each individual’s memories, to learn and experience their unique stories and journeys.
Hu Qiren / Singapore