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Photography (MA)

Ellen Yi Wang(An Su)

Ellen Yi Wang (b.1997, Chengdu, China)

-Alias* An Su

An Su is a visual artist mainly working with photography, film and text. She was born in a small town surrounded by mountains in southwest China. The transcendental perception of nature with mysterious imagination is constantly dissolved in her works. She explores in the research of nature, feminism, Postmemory and disease, using specific events and sensitive emotions to start collective narration and historical reflection. She is currently studying in MA photography at the Royal College of Art. Before that, she studied journalism and literature respectively in Nanjing and Taiwan, which influenced her involvement in visual art and poetics. Her work has always been drawn to poems that contain, within meditative movements, a hint of narrative and a textured visual myth.

An Su's work has been published on Chip Foto-Video Digital, and exhibited in A Fragile of China (London.2021), Gwangju International Art Fair (Korea.2020), Photo London 2021, Chongqing Biennial of Young Artists(China. 2021). In 2022, she self-published her photography books “Seven Mountains, Four Rivers, Three Lakes. Suns and Moons” and “ A Letter-I haven’t seen the ocean utill my 19”.

Show Location: Battersea campus: Dyson & Woo Buildings, First floor

The snake was damned because he filled, his own wake everywhere, obviating body-image.

To swallow your own tail-or tale is no longer an approved form of transportation. 

A human fiddles with the yes/no switch, the new/old binary exhibitionism.

Go ahead, say anything.

-Falling 1 - Margaret Avison

The mythology and surface tensions that govern images subjective experience, are fragments of an ultimate, unknowable tension not knowing what waited on the other side, trying to arrive at a widened sense of poetic to swing out over the vastness of possibility. I hope to arouse the reflection on the strength of female identity and the awe of time and language, tell the unexpected, the rupture in the fabric of existence, grow to something of great constancy of spirituality and poetics.

Instead of aggrandizing the sensation of art, I am trying to subdue and transform it. My language of restraint belies a passionate ambition for surpassing the self through mirroring the uncertain and destabilizing experiences of the sensuous, physical world, and connections are made through metaphor and simile, but following those connections carefully leads to the compulsion to both convey experience and transcend it, holding simultaneously what has fallen and will fall.

The weight - 2022 // Fall (1) - 2021
Can you hear my stone? (1*2)- 2020 // The monument - 2022 // Archive (1) - 2022
Archive (2) - 2022 // The woods - 2021 // A submerged coastline - 2022
The night (1*2) - 2022
Wilted conch - 2022 // Arrival - 2022 // Cave - 2021 // Fall (2) -2021

-To know that a dark, cosmic-cast wind can, on occasion, smooth itself to stillness, just there at a window ledge, just there at our fingertips.

From Elegy To Seeds is a composition photography project of gender, space, nature and myth with literary metaphor and manipulation of self-restraint. Within the limitations of photography, this series attempts to explore the relationship between poetics, psychoanalysis and metaphor.

The divergent ambivalence; metaphor of unconscious; fear and suppression of trauma echo the inner identity vitality, triggering meditation on spirituality, trace and time. The fragmentary female body, the transcendental experience, inspire a gentle contradiction, representing a container that can swallow and absorb the consciousness of a moment.

Screenshots from The Distant Mountains

The things which the magician recommends to be kept separate are those which, by reason of their characteristic properties, cannot be brought together and confused without danger..useful maxims, the first forms of hygienic and medical interdictions.

-Golden Bough The Elementary of Religious Life 1912; Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo By Professor Mary Douglas

The Distant Mountains narrates a strife grown between shame, love, and sin. My aunt's HIV caused the sensitive changes in my family, which made me reflect on the trauma connected with the political struggles and contradictions in family history. This film is intertwined HIV metaphors under gender attributes, Postmemory and generational trauma, presenting memory and emotion poetically in fragile and sensitive harmony with the combination of archives, hometown, memory and words, which extends to stigma and social prejudice, and brings into the cause and effect between Chinese history background with family, political and individual survival.


Film(09:05') - Super 8mm & DV; Zoom H5 Sound-recorder
A Letter: I haven't seen the ocean until my 19 - 2022
Details inside the book - 2022


Handmade photo-book, hard cover


The process - 2020 : Seven mountains, Four lakes, Three rivers, Suns and moons.
Selections from Details * Underwater Silence - 2020
Selections from Underwater Silence - 2020

When the COVID-19 swept up the world in 2020, I was working with the government on social research on ethnic culture in Tibet. In the process, I learned that the pigments used in Thangka Buddhist paintings are extracted and ground from minerals to avoid climate erosion, which Inspired me to make Cyanotype papers and went to the main rivers and lakes on the plateau to directly contact the minerals, ice stains and salts under the water with photosensitive materials. The process more directly reflects time and details of the natural movement and conditions ignored by eyes.

I remember the moments when I put the papers in the water.

Water holds images; yet, water is impossible to hold.

laundering, swallowing, frowning, dissolving, floating.


Cyanotype, watercolour paper collage - 2020
Alienation - Photograph, C-type print, 60*60cm - 2020
Ocean - Photograph, C-type print, 40*40cm - 2020
The story I heard about grandfather - Photograph, C-type print, 33*34cm - 2020
The drug - Photograph, C-type print, 60*60cm - 2020
Crystal - Photograph, C-type print, 45*45cm - 2020
Dayspring - Photograph, C-type print, 60*60cm - 2019

The useless dawn finds me in a deserted street corner; I have outlived the night. 

Nights are proud waves; darkblue topheavy waves laden with all the hues of deep soil, laden with things unlikely and desirable. 

Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals, of things half given away, half withheld, of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act that way, I tell you. The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds and odd ends: some hated friends to chat with, music for dreams, and the smoking of bitter ashes. The things my hungry heart has no use for. 

The big wave brought you. 

Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily and incessantly beautiful. We talked and you have forgotten the words.

- Jorge Luis Borges

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