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Room (1) Wrap
Single-channel HD video, color, sound
16 min 30 sec

A dense white sheet twists and rises from the bed, taking on a vertical shape. Beneath it, dancer Saadia remains hidden under a pale, flesh-toned turban. She sequentially conceals herself behind a translucent white veil and then a black curtain, moving through a sequence of wraps and reveals. Eventually, she steps out from behind the black curtain, displaying her body and hair, and starts the distinctive, vigorous shakes of traditional Arab belly dancing. These powerful tremors ripple through every muscle, causing her silky nightgown to quiver. Slowly, she loosens her headwrap, unveiling her face and letting her long hair flow. This is the Khaleegy, a celebratory dance of Middle Eastern women, revealing brief glimpses of her face as we hear her breathing. It is the process of a body slowly shedding its covers, transitioning from the hidden form of an object to that of a human being. The filming evolves too, shifting from a distant, stationary shot to a close-up that captures the dancer’s emotional state.

«Room» series

In « Room «, Yao Qingmei collaborateswith five contemporary dancers andperformers, gathered successively in thesame standardized hotel room to explorethe space. All have different physiques,genders, ages and skin tones, andpractice different types of dance. YaoQingmei maintains the diversity of thedancers’ profiles, subtly capturing theindividuality of each and guiding theirphysical expressions, urging them toexplore the various angles of an enclosedspace. These experiences are born of the artist’spersonal observations and perceptionsof the details of the hotel room during hisisolation in 2021 in Shanghai. Yao seeksan empathetic physical experiencedrawn from the improvisations of bodiesin the «room». This place refers notonly to a confined space, but also to apsychological one. This video seriesis the most reality-related part of the«mole» exhibition, a true testament tothe physical expression of dancers inan enclosed space, where the freedom,agility and diversity of the bodiesthemselves transcend the physical limitsof space and stereotypes.

Room 5 Flesh

肉, Chair

Room 4 Rub

拭, Frotter

Room 3 Observ

观, Observer

Room 2 Walk

行, Marcher

Room 1 Wrap

裹, Draper

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