Asperger Syndrome (AS or sometimes referred to just as Asperger’s (without the “syndrome” when used with the apostrophe)) is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests. As a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome is distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom, and can be demonstrated by sufferers in a variety of ways, and also presents them with numerous means of dealing with it in their daily lives.
Xia (Xia Chieng), for example, has found a means of addressing the condition through art, using oils and watercolours to express the feelings and emotions she experiences and to give a sense of the her personal situations, outlook and experiences.
This is something I’ve covered twice in the past with regards to her work – the first in 2019 with Life through Xia’s Diary in Second Life, and the second in 2021 with Art and Asperger’s in Second Life, back in September of the year. However, for those who missed those exhibitions, Xia now offers Assburguer’s [sic] Mood Diary, now open at Desideratum Art Gallery.
If anything, this is a more expressive exhibition that either of the previous two; not because there is more art on offer through this exhibition, but because Zia herself provides a commentary on her art and her life that takes us deeper into her art and her exploration of self.
I see artistic creation as a tool for self-transformation and healing, a way to dialogue with my internal demons and those of our culture, a means to create my own myths with which one moves through the world.
I am on a personal journey; personal exploration into the essence of life, the relationship between the relationship between my senses, ideas and perceptions and the external world; my conception of space and substance. Only things that are personal can be truly real for me.
– Xia Chieng
As a result, this is a powerful series of self-portraits that delve into Xia’s world, each telling a specific tale or mood whilst also being placed into groups defined by both style of the art itself and a collective narrative that flow through them. In this, there is an incredible amount of care and thought that has gone into this exhibition – up to and including Xia’s spelling of “Assburguer’s”, which she notes is a common mis-spelling of the syndrome used by those afflicted by it), all of which further deepens the power and personal nature of the art in display, making it an exhibition best explored through Xia’s words more than my own.
My art is narrative, but not literary, it tells stories but does not create their meaning. It may not mean anything more than we can individually feel. My work is a thing, an object, presented to you for your pleasure and for my relief. It just is what it is. It is not explained alone. I found in art and Second Life a way to escape from the ordinary world, creating my own worlds.
– Xia Chieng
Hence why these are images that should not just be taken physically or literally, there is a metaphorical / symbolic element to them as well – hence the use of the keyhole in Xia’s forehead in several of the images in the case of the latter, and with pieces like Memento Mori, Shadowman, The Keys and Lying Mirror.
But it was in art that I found away to express my feeling and thought. with this I do not pretend that others understand me, but that I find in it a way of knowing myself and transcending what torments me.
– Xia Chieng
Thus, Assburguer’s Mood Diary is an exceptionally powerful, emotive selection of art, and one that I – again – highly recommend.
- Desideratum Art Gallery (Heaven in Dreams, rated Adult)