Artist Statement

In the era of industrial production, pure handicraft is also a kind of fighting, fight with technology and civilization, fight with liberalization and regulation. I would like to experience the freedom during the process. I cannot be able to predict the result, just seek for the simple hand mechanical process rather than the complicated process. My works strive to break through “A-Know” in plane and space of the image.

During the process of weaving, it is antagonism between freedom and rules, as well as a game of sensibility and rationality. I select the ribbons with certain width, which means to limit the element of the whole image. It works regularly repeated under limited conditions, or totally random without consciousness. Inside of heart, it is filled of freedom and breakthrough the bound, at the same time live under the certain rules. I am also trying to look for the balance to enjoy the relation between dragging and pulling.

I love to roam the various markets looking for new materials. I find different effects arise from the reassembling and juxtaposition of common elements of our daily lives. Taking away an object’s original function lets people appreciate that object’s aesthetics. I bought many materials and conducted various tests on different objects with different media. Finally, I selected the simplest means of expression, applying the most traditional approach to the canvas: that of weaving. I follow this principle in my work, to focus on adopting ready-made objects, abandoning drawing skill and deleting conceptualization in my works. I regard this as a breakthrough in artistic form.

Artist Biography

Dai Dandan was born in 1979 in Beijing. After receiving her degree in Communication from the Communication University of China, she moved to the UK to earn her Master’s of Fine Arts at the University of Wales. Upon graduating, Dai returned to Beijing and began a career in television before transitioning full time to art.

Dai’s most recent work plays off of Duchampian ready-mades to critique contemporary Chinese culture’s turn to consumerism. By taking objects associated with China’s long deep past and embellishing them with flashy “bling” including rhinestones, she draws attention to how the demand for high-end consumer goods is impacting the culture as well as the environment. A consumptive lifestyle is in no way sustainable if adopted by the 1.35 billion people that inhabit China and Dai’s work calls for a re-evaluation of the changing societal values of her country. Though China has long practiced reusing resources—for instance, when a building is torn down, they save and reuse the bricks and metal—this practice is fading in the face of a rising capitalist China.

Dai’s work has been shown throughout China including in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. She has also shown her work in Hong Kong and Macao and been awarded residencies in Australia and Hong Kong.