The above photo is the book cover of the visual novel titled "9_9" published by Skira. While the portraits in the main body are "dual-self-portraits", this image captures the theme as I am the protagonist, author/director/photographer, and co-subject in a project produced during a 3-year long journey encompassing meetings with over 150 artists. The "dual-self-portraits" all feature myself and "the other" to express a shared essence at the moment when the portrait was taken. Several communications/meetings usually take place prior to the shoot. Art became a point in common in an exchange which is crystallised in a portrait. Through this project, I explore my identity as a female, foreign artist in Italy, entering into the other's space via a self-timer. Of course, it would be impossible to exclude my background from the story. I was born in Hong Kong, lived for over 20 years outside of Hong Kong (US and UK mainly then a brief stint in Singapore) while my family lived somewhere else. Yet I have always felt a strong sense of belonging in Italy...So, if I were to spend most of my time in Italy, "how would I fit in?" "9_9" is a dream-like journey through art and meeting artists in Italy. Upon seeing their artwork, I feel a personal empathy and curiosity regarding the creators. As Carl Jung writes, "a million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one", so I believe in working on my own "mindfulness" as well as working with others.
As Jung also states, that we make our decisions with a strong influence by the unconscious (a storehouse of repressed memories specific to the individual and our ancestral past), a few years of exploration can only uncover what might take a lifetime and beyond to be ever known. Project "9 9" serves as another attempt to discover more of my own mystery. The above poetry makes the wings of the book and is the project's psychological background.
(My first book "Fragments of Grey Matter" which won a prize in Japan also explored the concept of perception and unconscious). Why is this project titled "9_9"? note: essays in the book.
a Skira publication 2017
Kristin Man| firstname.lastname@example.org| All rights reserved.