Running through the series is Wang Haiyang’s abstract depiction of the ‘abject’, to be differentiated from either subject or object. Part of the exhibition three videos from the Ravage series: Social Relation, Night and Judge and Idol marking a turning point in the artist’s production.
In Judge and Idol viewers witness the dialogue between two molded pieces of chewing gum. The newly created language they use imagines sounds of the bionics and the hybrids. The chewing gum endlessly forms in the artist’s hands. The two characters discuss in the video the master-slave relationship between the two and the possibility of becoming one. The identity of the voice is suspended between that of a subject and an object, as the hybrid language questions the possibility of a cross-species existence. Reflecting the artist’s exploration of the “abject”, the Night seems to questions the ambivalent ontological condition of a “fluid” facing the complexity of an abstract desire, the work stages a slimy form that can be either a snake, an organ or a single-celled organism. In the video work Social Relation, the crackling formation resembles a chewing gum canvas or quicksand shaped by the artist himself reflecting his vision of an individual in a social environment.
The watercolor drawings on paper from the series Sex (2017) are inspired by mysterious forms that appeared to the artist during his convalescence period at the hospital after a major surgery. Like a view of cells under a microscope, these drawings and studies have something deeply organic. They seem to be connected to artist’s desire to apprehend the physiology of these living organisms and how they interact with each other. The specific choice of watercolor as medium serves the purpose, bringing us back to the notion of fluidity and the physics of capillary action intended as vital way of communication between cells.
The large paintings from the Untouchable series (2017) appear as the extension of the artist’s reflections on the body and its physical limits. Firstly painted on a flat surface, the center of work was unreachable for the brush as suggested by the title. Far from being the sole result of a physical restrain this zone become the visual and structural center of the composition. The rapid directional brushstrokes consisting in bright primary colors converging towards a gravitational center create the impression the works are animated by a cosmic shiver. Along with the Ravage series the exhibition also includes three videos presented in 2016 at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing: The Invisible Hand, Communication and Night Feed all distinguished by the absence of an effective character.
The video Wall Dust (2016) will be also screened in projection room in the gallery basement. The work is the extension of the two previous animation videos Freud, Fish and Butterflies (2009), and Double Fikret (2012). His filming process remains based on stop-motion animation which operates as revolving mechanism pushed by a compulsive force with no beginning or final outcome.
By repeatedly drawing with pigments on the same few sheets of sandpaper, the artist meticulously creates thousands of pictures destined to be photographed and then erased. Like a Tibetan mandala each drawing is “intended to be destroyed without leaving any trace”. As the final component of the video trilogy, Wall Dust completes the initial narrative by attempting to construct and dissolve over and over again incongruous scenes with a recurring mustached character named “Fikret”. From the very start of the animation viewers face a chain of surreal situations. The story line seems to move in the direction of nothingness: a succession of archetypal symbols, grotesque sexual representations, geometric figures, organic forms, animals connected to strange machinery. All these hybrid beings and things materialized by chalky colored strokes are frantically combined into each other. As to reflect the artist’s stream of consciousness, this endless metamorphosis process appears as the unifying theme amongst the videos, featuring, for example, dozen of chicken eggs on a conveyor belt that turn into human teeth after passing through a coniferous forest.
The visual power of these apparently random associations suggests a pathway for identity construction, emphasizing the importance of the unconscious mind as developed in the Freudian theory.