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Ying Ang: The Quickening (signed)

Ying Ang: The Quickening (signed)

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The Quickening explores the transformation and lived experience of a woman in her motherhood/matrescence and postpartum depression/anxiety. The work interrogates the under-represented transition of biological, psychological and social identity during a complex and yet ubiquitous phase of life.

You begin your life in expansion. From rolling to crawling to walking, your reach moves outwards from infancy through to adulthood. At the cusp of motherhood, everything instantaneously moves in reverse. Your world begins to shrink, to coalesce into the tight sphere of domestic life. What was once the sun is now the light in your living room. What was once the road, becomes the hallway to the bathroom. Everyone you once knew, becomes the squalling baby in your arms, suddenly unknowable, inconsolable and opaque in their needs and wants. As the external landscape of your old world shifts from mountains to lakes, the change also begins within. In increments and then suddenly faster and faster, you become internally unrecognizable. The task of navigating this new geography, the new days and nights, how you eat, how you sleep, how you love - this seismic transition - is called “matresence”.

The beginning of matrescence begins as a kind of black magic curiosity - movement under the skin, growing and forming at will, the hurricane of birth, the electricity of the letdown. The Quickening traverses the sudden landslide of one woman's known world and the subsequent moving through rubble, trying to make sense of what is left, devastated and in love, and ends with a slow rebuild of the new territory of becoming a mother.

Shortlisted for the 2020 Lucie Foundation Prototype Book Prize, the Perimeter x PHOTO2021 International Book Prize and awarded with the silver award for the 2020 BIFA Documentary Photo Book Prize, an Honorable Mention for the Tokyo International Foto Awards, Official Selection for the London International Creative Competition 2020, a winner of the Belfast Photo Festival 2021 and bronze medal for the Documentary Book Prize at the 2021 Moscow International Foto Awards , The Quickening details the claustrophobia, myopia, paradoxical loneliness and luminance of new motherhood and the postpartum period.

Riso and offset printed, this uniquely handmade book was published in a limited first edition of 250 copies, redolent of the number of days of gestation before the premature birth of the author’s son. Additionally, 30 copies from a special edition each come with a choice of one of two prints. This number is indicative of the number of days left until the child’s due date. Created as an editioned art book, each copy is signed and numbered. A variety of papers were used to reflect a haptic complexity in addition to a soft french fold that feels full and fleshy in the hands. A chaotic and varying bind with red string is a nod to the stitches used during the emergency caesarean birth of the child and no book is precisely the same.

Prior to publishing, the project has won multiple recognitions, including Honorable Mention in the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, a finalist place in the Vevey Images Grand Prix, participation in the celebrated group show titled, “Birth,” at TJ Boulting Gallery in London and a solo show at Rencontres d’Arles in France in 2019.


Title: The Quickening
Publisher: Self published, 2021
Author: Ying Ang
Photographer: Ying Ang
Graphic Design: Heijdens Karwei, Amsterdam
Format: Softcover with linen sleeve
Size: 21.8 x 27.9 cm, 90 pages
ISBN: 9780646833231
Edition: 280 + 20 AP, signed and numbered
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