Round 2: Critical Annotation

Coming to the end of the first half of MFA, I have expanded my practice to several areas that I am not familiar with. The process becomes even more significant in my practice. Both material and artwork are ephemeral. While continue exploring new materialism, I began to look at broader practice of each of artist. The entry of precedents become wider; most of them are multi-disciplinary artists.

The embodiment and performativity –
When I am making, it is simultaneously creating a certain state of consciousness and building new experiences. The process gives me more pleasure than showing the outcome—documentation than becomes the only evidence that involves performance in front of the device. This leads me to research precedents, including Jason Lim, Nubuo Sekine, Igarashi Yasuaki. Even though I may not want to perform in real-time, their embodiment and performativity elements create a powerful visual and new experience for the audience.

Continue my drawing practice – Emma McNally, Shirazeh Houshiary, Anna Finalyson’s drawings and paintings were new entries to further my drawing practice and look deeper into Formalism. Emma and Shirazeh are very conscious of the surface and material but at the same time, working with the unconscious. Anna’s drawing showing process and time.

Installation and space – Installation and visualize a space has always been my weakness. My explanation of space is always an enclosed room of solitude. Installation should always encourage audiences to step into a psyche to create a very personal sensory experience. Ivy Ma and Su Mei Tse both are multi-disciplinary artists with a strong sense of installation. Ruth Rsawa, Sopheap Pich, Hiroyuki Hamada’s sculptures are also excellent references dealing with the physicality of space.

Moving forward, I would like to go more in-depth on the theoretical framework which I have been exploring, including embodiment, new materialism, and Formalism.

Hiroyuki Hamada

I love his combination of geometrical and organic form sculpture. Some of them grew out of the wall; some are freestanding. With his painting and three-dimensional works together, he manipulated the space very well. I especially like the monotone united all his work. Blended with a rustic and industrial touch, it’s like a future object with organic form, surreal but also looks familiar. There are lots of very fine details on the sculpture’s surface, I can’t see how he achieves those shapes. There is not much information about the materials. He mentioned, “it is an extract of a form to communicate, and its extension of the story captured within its framework.” Brilliant work. Hope can see it in real one day.

#61 left view
#61, 2006-08, 38 x 30 x 16 inches, enamel, oil, plaster, tar and wax

Untitled Painting 017, 18″ x 24″, acrylic, charcoal, enamel, graphite and oil, 2016
Untitled Painting 017, 18″ x 24″, acrylic, charcoal, enamel, graphite and oil, 2016

Igarashi Yasuaki

Igarashi Yasuaki is a Japanese artist. His public art collaborates with local communities, connect local live with nature, and recreate new scene. One of his projects, “Dazaifu Tenmangu (Fukuoka)” drew my attention. He invites people to tidy the fallen leaves of camphor trees. By doing this, he connects memories of people with the land.

Because of his work, I realized the giant tree in our front yard is a camphor tree. One of my mini-projects, “leaves tracing,” was triggered by the annoyance of the vast amount of leaves fallen from this tree covering my small vegetable patch, which also made our place messy. This camphor tree’s branches and roots damaged the roof and pipes, caused different leaking problems. The landlord spent a lot of money to fix the problem, and the council just approved to chop the tree down. In Japan, the camphor tree is spiritual. People passed by very often clap their hands together twice and lean towards the tree with their hands pressed against the bark.

It is very easy to relate my art with culture and nature. This bring me back to Chris Drury’s text: The process of nature continues despite our analysis. Our analysis is a part of the process of nature. The process of nature must include the actions of man whether or not they are destructive.


Ivy Ma

Ivy is one of my mentors to guide me through the last year of BAFA. I have attended a lot of her talks and practice. Her early works are complex and intriguing, with a powerful sense dealing with material and space. Like “Before the disappearance of rain”, she covered an enclosed room full of hairpin, glass on the floor reflecting the rest of the room, hair leaking out in the corner. The energy is intensive. Compare to her recent solo exhibition in 2018, “as time folds”, I was moved in a different way. It was a room with black and white paintings, some minimal installation accompanied by poetic texts on the wall. The physicality sense was vivid, the message was implicit and poetic.
Both of her works and guidance heavily influenced my practice, especially her sensitivity on handling materials. A lot of her work has a sense of depressive and melancholy, which may not be relevant to my practice. Her recent years’ practice is closer to what I am looking for.

before the disappearance of rain
as time folds

Nobuo Sekine

Nobuo Sekine, Phase–Mother Earth (1968), installation view at the 1st Kobe Suma Rikyu Park Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Kobe, Japan, 1968. Photo by Osamu Murai. © Nobuo Sekine.
Nobuo Sekine, Phase–Mother Earth (1968), installation view at the 1st Kobe Suma Rikyu Park Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Kobe, Japan, 1968. Photo by Osamu Murai. © Nobuo Sekine.

“Even in the simplest structures, multiple landscapes or thoughts can be expressed. [. . .] I create works with the perspective of admiration for nature. I believe that my job is to convey the richness of nature to viewers.” Sekine mentioned in one of his interview.

In the work of Phase-mother Earth, I am looking at the repetitive day after day of nonsensical act of digging. The performance element and the shocking visual of the work. In Lee Ufan’s words, “his act merely turned the earth into earth. It added nothing, it subtracted nothing”. Some of my recent works have been sticking with this principle. Without changing the material, by repetitive and rearranging to make it visible.