Margot Errante posing for Gabriele Corni’s  Apnea  series, Bologna, Italy 2018.

Margot Errante posing for Gabriele Corni’s Apnea series, Bologna, Italy 2018.

Margot Errante (b.1976) 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 portraiture but never considered enrolling in a course. 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. 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, Errante became interested in architecture and the psychological impact of post-Maoist urban development on citizens' life. Human beings were again at the centre of her interest, but more with an anthropological approach. Some of her works were published in "Beijing Architecture & Design” (2008), after which she co-curated the Hong Kong Pavillion 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 portrait photographer. She soon developed an interest in performance art as a way to make her sitters become collaborators, rather than being passive subjects of representation. Her first project, Unportrayed (2015), explored the performative potential of the camera during a non-verbal interaction with the sitters based on mutual observation. She used darkness as a provocative condition to escape mental preconceptions. The aesthetic result was a mosaic of Caravaggesque faces of which only secondary details came to light. In 2017 she performed I, Erotic, a timed four-minutes one-on-one conversation about the sexual life, habits and fantasies of sitters that were taken in Polaroids after they had written their thought on an anonymous paper. Errante then worked on a photo installation, mismatching portraits and quotes, which resulted in a display of sexuality and the collective consciousness. In 2018 she met Prerna Chainani, an Indian-born Hong Kong artist and designer, with whom she elaborated Someone Elses’s Silk, a one year long art performance about empathy and the ability to silence one’s self. One hundred sitters in five international venues are asked to wear a selection of vintage japanese kimono from Chainani’s private collection, and they are to be taken in portrait while reacting to the story embedded in their chosen kimono, as they step into someone else's skin. Chapter One was successfully held in Hong Kong in October 2018, and the visual result is a powerful display of embodiment of human emotions. Errante’s body of work investigates the idea of the modern Self and the construction of identity. With an academic path that led her from anthropology to neuroscience, she is a researcher who finds in the portrait the ideal medium to investigate the mechanisms of the ego and its manifestations. Every photo session becomes a moment of exchange, a performative act of collective consciousness and an opportunity for personal growth. She is represented by galleries and her works are shown at international art fairs. She is listed in the Catalogue of Modern Art. 54: Italian artists from the early twentieth century to today, Mondadori.

CURRENT REPRESENTATION

Novalis Contemporary Art & Design, Hong Kong, CN

Heillandi Fotografie, Lugano, CH

 

ART PERFORMANCES

2018 “Someone Else’s Silk”, Hong Kong, CN

2017  "I, Erotic", Novalis Gallery, Hong Kong, CN

2015  "Instant Illusion", Lightstage Gallery, Hong Kong, CN

 

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018  "Transitions", La Cité du Temps, Geneva, CH

2017  "China Star", Fondo Malerba per la Fotografia, Milano, IT

2017  "Departures", Novalis Gallery, Hong Kong, CN

2016  "Moments in Shadow", Lightstage Gallery, Hong Kong, CN 

2005  "WA: Immagini e parole nomadi", Chiostro di S. Eufemia, Como, IT

 

COLLECTIVE EXHIBITIONS

2018 “Emersio”, duo exhibition with artist Gabriele Corni, BIM, Milan, IT

2015  "HKID: Identity and Illusion", Lightstage Gallery, Hong Kong, CN

2010  "Cina Anno Zero", International Exhibition of Sculptures and InstallationsVenice, IT

 

ART FAIRS

2018  Shanghai Photo Fair, Shanghai, CN

2018  MIA Photo Fair, Milan, IT

2017  Fine Art Asia, Hong Kong, CN

2017  WopArt Fair, Lugano, CH

2017  Harbour Art Fair, Hong Kong, CN

          

PUBLICATIONS

2014  "Cinque secoli di italiani a Hong Kong e Macau", Francesco Brioschi Editore, Milano, IT

2013  "500 Years of Italians in Hong Kong & Macau", Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong, CN

2008  "Beijing Architecture & Design", Iberia Center for Contemporary Art Publications, Madrid, ES

2005  "Wa", Under the Patronage of Ministry of Culture, Como, IT

 

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

2017  "The Human Face: Identity and Portrait", Kowloon Rotary Club, Hong Kong, CN

2016  "Twenty Years in China: An Artistic (R)Evolution", Lightstage Gallery, Hong Kong, CN        

2016  "Architecture & Interior Design Photography", Insight School of Interior Design, Hong Kong, CN 

2015  "Creative seeing: Reinterpreting Space and Spacial Relationships", Insight School of Interior Design, Hong Kong, CN

2005  "China Nationalism: Defining the relationship between ethnicity and the Chinese Identity", IULM University of Milan, IT  

2002  "Composing Space: Architectural Photography and Image composition", Chongqing University, CN