Two Baits

Rockbund Art Museum
Dec 6, 2012 6:54AM

Huang Yongping

Iron, Fiberglass, Metal Sheets



There are two well-known tales from Chinese history about plots to usurp the throne that involve fish, one concerning a dagger concealed in the belly of a fish, the other a letter hidden in the same fashion.

These two fish that played major roles in history appear in slightly modified form in the work of Huang Yong Ping, having been turned into two eight-metre-long fish lures, one a silvery blue, the other a silvery yellow. Two rather frightening fishhooks, sized to scale, pierce the heads of the pair; sharp, piercing and cold, the closer you come to them the more you are taken by an impending sense of painful crisis. The story of the letter hidden in the belly of a fish concerns the desire to resist and overthrow, an attempt to massacre and exterminate. This big fish is there waiting to tempt a bigger fish to get hooked. The exchange of one king for another or a new polity taking the place of an old happened countless times in history in a cycle that proved largely futile, the result of resistance and overthrow being only to prepare the ground for another round of the same later on. The fish have become lures tied to sharp hooks. Although they secretively conceal the crisis in their bellies, they make no bones about the deceptiveness, while the danger and temptation are plain for all to see. The answer to the riddle and a true description of the state of things are there to be found in the soft warm belly; the question is whether we dare go inquire after them.

Rockbund Art Museum