"I do not like being labeled. When you do different things in different places, it's harder for people to stick a role on you. That's what I've been doing most of my life: trying to escape labelling."
Self-Portrait, Hong Kong, 2017
Margot Errante (b. 1976) is an Italian-born researcher, performance artist and photographer. In the mid-90s, while in Germany, she discovered the works of Gertrud Arndt, Maskenportäts, and was deeply impressed by the figure of Caroline Bardua, one of the first middle-class women who was able to create an existence for herself as an independent artist. In 1995 she moved to Paris to attend an art and literature course at the Sorbonne University. Torn between her artistic drive and her passion for anthropology, she finally decided to continue her training in Trieste, graduating as a Chinese translator, and then specializing in East Asian anthropology at Yunnan Minzu University, China. Errante is a member of the Society for Visual Anthropology at the American Anthropological Association, and is following a course on Neuroscience curated by the University of Chicago.
She started globe trotting at a very young age. But after attending a summer course at Beijing University, she made of China her permanent residence and departure base for the next twenty years. In 2004 she lived an experience that changed her understanding of the world: she moved for a year to an indigenous village deep into the jungles of the Sino-Burmese border, where she conducted ethnographic research on the Wa people, an isolated group known in Asia as "head hunters". The photographic fruits of her study culminated in a successful photo exhibition held in Como, Italy, in 2005. That same year she left 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, with a stopover in North Korea that won the team a Peace Award.
Errante's experience in the media spans wide: she worked as a freelance photojournalist and television correspondent; she produced a short documentary on Canada's First Nations, and during the 2008 Olympic Games she hosted a successful television program – Beijing Express – broadcast by Class CNBC. While witnessing the massive reconstruction of Chinese cities, Errante became interested in architecture and the psychological impact of urban development on people's life. 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 worked as a portrait photographer until the end of 2017. She now divides her time between Hong Kong, Milan and Lugano, where she is represented by galleries, works on commission and on personal projects. Fascinated by human behaviour, she turns each of her photographic sessions into a personal journey of research and growth.