In this series, Tara Fallaux questions the ideal of love and its social implications

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From a female perspective, this documentary project shot in China delves into feelings of loneliness, anxiety and identity crisis caused by the social pressures of love and marriage.

Perfect Pearl is a poetic multimedia project about the hunt for love and the friction between dream and harsh reality, “The Perfect Life”. The main subjects are the hunt for love and “the concept of love” seen from a female point of view. What we want or think we should want.

The story touches on existential loneliness, the possibility of creating life, ephemeral online personalities; and how to emancipate oneself and find one’s own identity in the midst of the (lonely) crowd.

Despite its cultural definitions and particularities, love is a universal desire that allowed me to identify with these Chinese women in their early twenties. My friendships culminated in a collaboration where I intertwine my own poetic observations with the thoughts and feelings of my young Chinese friends. Pursuing your “perfect future dream” sounds like a dangerous game. Won’t you always be disappointed if you keep looking for “the perfect image”?

The way each individual shapes their life and expresses their existence is an enduring source of fascination for me. I started the Perfect Pearl project in 2018 during an artist residency in China. I came into contact with female students through Xiamen University. We talked about their loneliness, their desires and their doubts about relationships. To marry or not to marry. Since many of the girls I befriended spoke little English, we used WeChat to “translate”. WeChat is a popular messaging app in China; it’s a combination of Twitter and Facebook called ‘Moments’. In the book PERFECT PEARL I have collected personal texts that I found on ‘Moments’ or that they sent me directly.

Words and pictures by Tara Fallaux

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Tara Fallaux is a visual artist who studied film and visual arts at the Dutch Film Academy and the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in the Netherlands, and as an exchange student at the School of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States. Tara has worked as a freelance commercial and editorial photographer (with a documentary style). She has made several documentaries for Dutch public television and international film festivals. Follow her on instagram and PhMuseum.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a handpicked selection of relevant projects from our community by curators at the PhMuseum.

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