Kan Xuan

Article Bio Projects
Visual Arts (painting, video art)
Asia, Eastern, Europe, Western
China, Netherlands
created on:
July 17, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since September 22, 2003. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
information provided by:
Kan Xuan
Kan Xuan is a young female visual artist from China. PR Photo.


Chinese toads - from fear to cruelty

Kan Xuan is a visual artist, experimenting with paintings, photographies and video installations about modern China.
Kan Xuan´s photographs of peeled toads exemplify this principle of inadvertently converting the fearful or inconceivable into the acceptable by constituting it art.

She began her series of toad photographs as a way to exorcise her fear of the amphibian. The series commences with images of Kan Xuan posed with the toad positioned on increasingly private or sensitive parts of her nude body. Having overcome her fear of the animal through this exercise, Kan Xuan then photographed the toad sitting in a clear plastic purse.

Finally, she had the toad skinned live at the market (a common practice for smaller frogs), positioned it again within the plastic purse, and photographed it. The final photographs are eerily beautiful, the frog pale and delicately pinkish, the purse clear but slightly tinted, the background a blank white.

Perhaps for her this represents a final conquering of the toad, causing it to suffer and then die for her art. She admits to the cruelty, saying that we all have the potential for this within us, at one time or another.
Author: Karin Bergquist


1972: Kan Xuan was born in XuanCheng, An´hui, China.

Lives and works in Amsterdam, Holland

Solo Exhibitions:

2001: Or nothing!, Shanghai, China

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2003:Echigo-Tsumari Short video Festival, Tokyo, Japan
Lost and Found, Amsterdam, Holland
Hedah Filmfestival, Maastricht, Holland
Under Construction, Tokyo, Japan

2002:China Contemporary Art, Guangzhou, China
Video art, Xia men, China
C´est pas du cinema, Le Fresony studio national, France
Fantasia, Beijing, China and Tokyo, Japan

2001:Fantasia, Seoul, Korea
Video art, Xiamen, China
Developing Time, Shanghai, China

2000:Inertia & Mask- Works on Paper, Shanghai, China
Water, Beijing, China
Home, Shanghai, China

1999:Wu Shi Ren Fei, Photography Exhibition, Shanghai, China
Art for Sale, Shanghai.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)