Margot Errante (b.1976, Como) is an Italian-born performance artist and photographer who lived and studied in China for two decades (1997-2017), witnessing the rise of the country from agrarian society to industrial power. She is fluent in five languages, including Mandarin Chinese, plus some Southwestern Chinese dialects.
She showed interest in art since a young age and became a skilled drawer. In the mid-90s, while in Germany, she discovered the works of Gertrud Arndt, Maskenportäts, and became passionate about history of portraiture. In 1995 she moved to Paris to attend an Art and Literature course at Sorbonne University. Torn between art and science, eventually she pursued linguistics studies in Trieste and then specialized in East Asian Anthropology. In 2004 she moved for a year to an indigenous village into the jungle of South-West China, where she conducted ethnographic research on the Wa people, a minority group known in Asia as “head hunters”. The photographic fruits of her study marked her debut as a professional photographer: in 2005 she held in Como, Italy, her first solo exhibition, after which she was chosen as the photographer for a diplomatic mission sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs – a three months' journey from Italy to Japan by car to deliver a peace message, with a stopover in North Korea that won the team a Peace Award. Errante then worked for a few years as a freelance photojournalist; she produced a short film on Canada's First Nations, and in 2008 she wrote, directed and hosted a tv program, Beijing Express, broadcast by CNBC. While witnessing the massive reconstruction of Chinese cities, she became interested in architecture and the psychological impact of post-Maoist urban development on citizens' life. Some of her works were published in "Beijing Architecture & Design” (2008), and she later co-curated the Hong Kong Pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition of Venice Biennale. In 2009 someone broke into her Beijing flat and stole most of her photographic archive. Following that loss, Errante left the capital and never returned. She relocated to Hong Kong, where she opened her photographic studio and started working as a full-time portrait photographer. She soon developed an interest in performance art as a way to make her sitters become collaborators, and held three solo performances in Hong Kong that were very well received by the public. In 2018 she met artist Prerna Chainani, with whom she elaborated Someone Else’s Silk, a one-year art performance about empathy and the ability to silence one’s Self.
Errante’s body of work investigates the idea of the modern Self and the contruction of identity. With an academic path that led her from Social Sciences to Neuroscience, she is a researcher who finds in portraiture the ideal medium to investigate the mechanisms of the ego and its manifestations. She is represented by galleries and her works are shown internationally at exhibitions and art fairs.