Tara Fallaux, PERFECT PEARL (PREFACE) 塔拉·法劳克斯,《珍珠》(前言)


Selection of 80 photos, 60 pages.

Special folding design.

Design by Eva van der Schans/ In Edition

Printed by Die Keure, Brugge

Review of PERFECT PEARL in Cphmag by Jörg Colberg.


More than Just Love

Text: He Yining


Just a dike away from the salty sea, Shapowei was once the origin of Xiamen Harbour. Every evening, lovers from all over the country meet here and walk through the dense alleyways before stopping by the fishing harbour where the local ritual boats moored. As far as the eye can see, buildings constructed in different historical periods are reflected on the water. The light and shadow dance with the sea breeze, concentrating on the city’s history and recent collision and people’s imagination of romance and love. Xiamen is called the ‘Antwerp of China’ because of its cluster of fashion designers and independent design brands and its romantic and casual lifestyle. It is here that Tara Fallaux began her creative journey in 2018, using different mediums to explore the concept of perfect love in contemporary Chinese contexts.


What means by “romance” and “love” seems to be vague and distant from Chinese daily life, for they go far beyond the feelings and affections of two individuals but are associated with the underlying ideology of family, responsibility and carrying on the family line in traditional Chinese culture. Love in Chinese literature and drama is based on the undercurrent of sorrow and joy. Forty years after China’s reform and opening up, the contemporary concept of marriage is still held hostage by patriarchal ideology. Chinese women are pursuing an autonomous life and striving toward economic freedom. At the same time, their gains and losses are still tied to the pillar of honour of the family, making it difficult for them to move forward.

The Perfect Pearl explores the universality of love and marriage in Chinese women’s spiritual and daily lives. Pearl bears the meaning of ‘beautiful’ and ‘cherished’ in Chinese culture, and it also implies fulfilment and perfection given its round shape. A ‘perfect pearl’ signifies a happy life or perfect love. In this carefully choreographed artist book titled as such, Tara Fallaux juxtaposes the monologues of her Chinese female friends with the metaphors of marriage and family life in everyday Chinese life.

The self-referential texts of the young girl are woven, throughout the work, with her portraits, in each of which the girl expresses all sorts about herself, ranging from her simple thoughts on the definition of happiness, sweet fantasies, and the clash of values to the reality of hardship and social pressure. These images are then woven into the pages, along with photographs of lovers taking their wedding photoshoots on the beach, men and women in a nightclub, city skyscrapers and model houses of real estate sales centres, reflecting one’s imagination of a ‘perfect pearl’.

On top of the narrative framework built from the images mentioned above, Tara’s unique book design leads the reader to a hidden space, where the visual and the written word, the outside and the inside of one’s mind, the public and the private collapsed. When we lift a close-up photograph of a model house, the complete image is torn apart unexpectedly by the double folding design, revealing the photographer’s carefully hidden narrative: a couple in wedding dresses standing in front of a flowering shrub. At the same time, words from private WeChat notes are quoted, emphasizing one’s insecurities and doubts about love or the perfect marriage.


This artist book, created during Tara Fallaux’s residency in Xiamen, uses a rich narrative to draw out the different aspects of love in the Chinese context: romantic, stable, financially grounded, and the individual’s struggle and reflection in the face of these cultural and practical realities. They leave us wondering if perfect love exists? Does the meaning of marriage expand as China’s economy develops and its culture opens up? How should the freedom and development of individual women transcend the shackles of traditional family values?





与咸湿的海水只一堤之隔,“沙坡尾”曾是厦门港的源起之地。如今,每天傍晚,来自全中国各地的恋人们会相约在此,穿过密密麻麻的巷道,在停靠着“送王船”的渔港边驻留。目光所及之处,层峦叠嶂般修建于不同历史时期的建筑倒影在湖面上,其光影随着海风翩翩起舞,浓缩了这座城市历史与当代的碰撞,也寄托了人们对浪漫和爱情的想象。厦门之所以被称为“中国的安特卫普”, 不仅因为它拥有扎堆的时装设计师和独立设计品牌,也因为它浪漫与休闲的生活方式。正是在这里,塔拉·法劳克斯于2018年开始了她利用不同媒介探索当代中国语境下完美爱情的创作之旅。


《完美的珍珠》正是对爱情和婚姻之于中国女性精神和日常生活普遍性的探索。珍珠在中国文化中有着 “美好”和“珍爱”的寓意,因其形状圆润,亦有圆满之意。因此,“完美的珍珠”寓意着幸福美满的生活或是圆满的爱情。在这本精心编排的摄影书中,塔拉·法劳克斯将她中国女性朋友的独白与中国人日常生活中有关婚姻、家庭生活的隐喻并置在一起。




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