In 2006, Nathalie Daoust went to China for an artist residency with the Red Gate Gallery and fell in love with the culture. Since then, She has looked for any excuse to go back and has spent many months exploring the country.
Over the years, she became more and more intrigued by the role that women play in society, how quickly it’s changing and especially by the consequences of the one child policy – what it means for woman and how this generation is dealing with it. (Both with the daughter who were not wanted, as with the mothers that believed it was a disadvantage to have a daughter).
Intrigued by this new generation of women and their struggle in the modern world, Nathalie decided to photograph them individually, documenting their separate stories within an overcrowded society. She created a human size room, so they could sit in the dark, alone with their thoughts, while I photographed them with light painting. [Official Website]
Shown for the first time in Rome, the photographic installation is comprised of portraits – black and white prints, hand-colored and then printed on more than 200 ceramic tiles that cover the gallery’s walls and floor. Daoust wanted people to be able to walk on the tiles to re-enforce the notion of the ‘China Doll’ – the fragile and delicate situation which reflects the current situation for women of China, and the particular care which is needed to ensure them a role in their country’s future. She was also curious to see how people walk over the tiles –“I have been testing the tiles in my studio over the last six months and I have noticed the different approach people have to the installation – some try to walk beside the faces, slowly and with care, while others do not even notice – not even looking down”.
In this series of portraits, Nathalie wants to pay homage to the women who have long remained in the shadows.
Text from Ilex Gallery in Rome