The Girl Called Lychee
Release year: 2016
Run time: 19 mins
Film type: Documentary
"Lychee Girl" is an alias for a woman in the Dongting Lake region. Her story is only passed down through oral tradition. She was born in 1920 and joined the frontline medical team during the Battle of Changsha in World War II. In 1967, she tragically jumped into the river after experiencing humiliation. The artist has created a series of works including film, installations, and exhibitions centered around this folk character. Instead of seeking historical facts, the artist aims to explore the hidden mechanisms behind storytelling, creating an open reading structure. The intention is to liberate the character from written narrative structures, representational networks, and labels, viewing Litchi Girl as an "interface of existing and unattainable truth in media practice."
Mao Chenyu, born in 1976, hails from Songyuan Village, Xinqiang Town, Yueyang City, Hunan Province. After completing his studies in Inorganic Non-metallic Materials at the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tongji University in 2000, he began to focus on image-based practices. "Rice Cinema" is a series of visual experiments initiated by Mao Chenyu in 2003. Primarily employing ethnographic approaches within the realm of cinema, his works delve into obscured individual experiences, rural narratives and languages, ethnic differences, land politics, and other related topics. Mao's filming predominantly takes place within the vast region surrounding Yueyang in Hunan, extending to Shennongjia in Hubei, and Northeastern Guizhou, which encompasses the Dongting Lake area. Through capturing rice cultivation and exploring the cultural, agricultural, and social aspects intertwined with rice, he presents the will to exist and the spiritual lineage associated with it. Since 2013, the artist has expanded his language structures through exhibitions, lectures, interdisciplinary collaborations, and other mediums of expression.