The sinful flames are created by the life of mine.
Every time when the storms of despise,
violence or destruction end,
I will lick my stream of blood and tears.
Only I, it’s me, love myself. – Liang Xiu, Fire Like Me, 2017.
A headless young woman wrapped in plastic, a human’s bare feet squashes glass and a smeared lipstick kiss in the dark, Liang Xiu’s photographs is ethereal yet caliginous. Capturing life around her home, Liang Xiu’s photos speak the language of a place far removed from the gentrified megalopolis. The subject of the photographs – often the artist herself – either avoids an exchange of eyes between the spectator and herself, or looking straight into them with a coquettish lack of shame. By leveraging the observer’s voyeuristic eye with simultaneously crude yet finely wrought images, Liang puts them in direct contact with a reality rejected by the traditional socio-cultural system in China, raising thorny questions about economic disparity, the role of women, and sexual orientation.
Liang Xiu is a self-taught photographer who got into photography in May 2016, quickly honing her existential approach to image-making. Liang Xiu was the recipient of the 2017 Three Shadows Photography Award, and has been exhibited worldwide, including Three Shadows Photography, +3 Gallery in Beijing and Alexander Tutsek Foundation in München, Germany. All featured photographs are part of the series Fire Like Me embracing and supporting a shifting, ever-changing China freed from expectations and stereotypes.