Xiyadie “Cut Sleeve, Split Peach” at Nome Gallery, Berlin
NOME is pleased to present the first solo show of Chinese artist Xiyadie in Europe, curated by Hera Chan, opening 16 June.
Cut Sleeve, Split Peach shows a selection of Xiyadie’s works, traditional paper-cuts that are tenderly snipped and died by hand. The exhibition title originates in two early queer love stories from Ancient China. In the first, courtier Mizi Xia tastes a peach so sweet he offers it to Duke Ling of Wei to share. In the second, Emperor Ai’s lover Dong Xian falls asleep on his sleeve, and rather than wake him, the Emperor cuts through the silk fabric.
These illicit tales set the backdrop for Xiyadie’s paper-cutting practice, in which a traditional form, dating back as far as the sixth century, is subverted through scenes of queer eroticism. Paper-cutting was first introduced in the ancient worship of ancestors and gods, hung on the panes of windows and doors as symbols of luck and happiness. In Xiyadie’s contemporary works, human beings are fused with nature and gay virility combines with the fertility of gardens and animal life.
Xiyadie means Siberian Butterfly – a name he chose after his move to Beijing in the 1990s as a migrant worker, where he became involved in the burgeoning gay subcultural scene. Surviving in the harshest conditions, the Siberian Butterfly maintains its pursuit of freedom in an environment that does not lend political agency or representation to queer-identifying people. As Siberian Butterfly, the artist flits between spaces, crafting a queer proposal for other worlds that are already possible. The splitting of blank sheets of paper holds secrets only Xiyadie can tell.
at Nome Gallery, Berlin
until 13 October 2018