"At the Corner of Caecum" Contemplating the Work of Yang Hong
Source:Artintern.net Author:Cui Cancan Date: 2010-11-27 Size:
In 1991, a taiwanese romantic drama film with a running time of 240 minutes, and 69 different roles called was directed by Edward Yang, which told about how a young boy would face a world of disgrace. The plot of the film was fairly slow and tedious, quietly dying of life as same as a peach blossom burst out in full bloom at the corner of appendix.

In 1991, a taiwanese romantic drama film with a running time of 240 minutes, and 69 different roles called was directed by Edward Yang, which told about how a young boy would face a world of disgrace. The plot of the film was fairly slow and tedious, quietly dying of life as same as a peach blossom burst out in full bloom at the corner of appendix.

Incidently, YANG Hong’s work reminds me of the mystery peach blossom in that film: in the depths of decay, well up a few bright-coloured peach blossoms. But, at the beginning of the ulcerating, the organs packed by skin would bear a symbol of life. Without paying too much attention to the comfort of the surface, or at least those stuff make him felt depressing. Then, he opened the airtight “physical” world and found the underground site symbolized ugliness. At that enabled moment, the rambling brushstrokes and adhesion of fluid brings a sense of twinge of vomiting to the audiences. Daring not to face up or to resist instinctly, all generates obstacles for understanding YANG Hong’s work, which is not the gap between one and another, but the barriers and walls installed by people themselves.

Behind the sight of viewing, it is filled with the experience and value judgment of the viewer. YANG Hong is trying to challenge such visual experience: he took human organs as the objects of his expression, exaggerated in a further step and even distorted. When the bloody intestines piled up together the normal order and relationship were broken down—the original colour of the organ were enhanced sedulously into unparalleled bright, but also make people felt slightly uncomfortable. Essentially, it is not ridiculous but a “real world”. And such a reality is leading off some kind of unusual power that smashed the collective fine illusion made by everyone, at which we are reluctant to look squarely. Perhaps, another question would be incurred: a “real world” is a good life or just an indisguise after destinied enduring of a sin? Whether the weaked security is true reliable? YANG Hong hold on to expose the cruel reality by his work and hope to send a message of self-contend. Actually the sense of reality has its own existence, even if it is either not seen, or being contemptible and disgusted by others. However, the condition and reflection of the movement has been continuing challenge the human subjectivity, and shaking their consciousness of judgment to outside world. The object itself is a real existence, and no matter what people will test and verify it is there. Then, YANG Hong found the unusual reality among those organs and therefore stepped into an unknown new world.

With regard to beauteousness, unknown is full of risk. YANG Hong seems to have a mind to challenge this. The confirmed visual scene and abandoned reality become one of the problems he has been continuously trying to solve. Modern society set out an assurance system which divides the human existence into two aspects: self-protection is a kind of internalized self-meditation comparatively; the second, social protection concludes common view and regulation between people. But, it is obviously invalid, for people always intrude by accident or hit by precipitating chance, therefore, the concealed reality and unknown world urge the sense of security to lose. YANG Hong gives up the vacuum airbag of a safe method and looking for another kind of existing approach from his own point of view.

The truth is physical strength. But what is real? It should be the task for YANG Hong to solve out. The reality constantly changes, not only thing-in-itself converts but also connected to the relation between object and time and art. He puts the real matter in a depressed or even anxiety background, in despite of the vivid colours filled with unreal mood. It is like some kind of strength, trying to prick the anguish behind the gorgeous scene repeatedly, until self-destruction happened. Then, the relationship between man and the objects shows up, when the artist tries to recreate the real matter he must find an effective way of expression instead the type of conversion. The explosive brushworks are glutted with YANG Hong’s picture, especially the work in black and white tones, everything was disassembled and repaint in a new logic frame. After such conduct, it is difficult for viewers to differentiate and analyse discriminate what the objects were look like originally? Does the real stuff still exist? The messy scene looks more like a disaster, or the remnant after explosion, in which there’s nothing be possibly recognized so as to become a tragic reality.

In YANG Hong’s work, one always can detect a draining of vitality and desire. Either the image, brushstroke and texture, or drawing speed all run through motion artefacts and explosive power. He made dissimilation on these images and then presented them as an emotion release of himself. In some of his work, strong colour, divided lines and object continuously entangled and mingled together as if a group of fish swimming around which reminds people of YANG Hong’s painting. However, no matter what the object is, it is revealed that the breath of life and the tension of the movement. Meanwhile, the gorgeous colour also reveals the rolling off desires and draining which forms the competing within the picture—fondling admiringly after unceasing destroy. The trace of splattered colour seems to verify the sign of life accordingly. The vitality in YANG Hong’s picture is not a positive traction but a strange absurd prospect view that is more like the struggle and battle crying from distorted people, with no sound of breath and felt helpless, panic and frightening, followed by the despair of oneself. So, we can imagine that the so-called niceness and kindness will eventually turn into the struggle when life is being suppressed. As it mentioned before, YANG Hong again pricked those beautiful truth and seemingly secured regulation. The weight that life has to bear will make life twisted which will develop an aesthetic of “evil”. Conversely, does this really just proof the degenerating of human being? Here, we have to go back to the beginning of life when man just appeared. Primitive man did not possess the so-called “civilization”, for it was in a more wild state; or, on the other hand, when a baby was born, whether we can believe that, in the matrix, he had already nurtured a civilization? Obviously, for oneself, “good and evil” is a serious proposition, and no matter what kind of standard of civilization is, with no doubt, it is to transform and to educate. Or, namely, man’s appearance is the core of the modern humanities, so, civilization becomes a measure of the value of life, and constantly draws people heading for an existing meaning. These standards are not invariant as it was at the beginning, for it will be encountered with continual challenges of the new world. The most essential motive of the challenge is the dissatisfaction of real life, maybe, we can say in pessimism: when the value of man’s existence changes one is destiny to live in the pain. “Evolution” makes people move forward and it is also meant that that is long way to go with no end ahead. It might as well said that the initial desire of oneself is doomed to receive a disastrous transformation, just like the corner of the caecum—appendix—people will get rid of it while it is in pain and hurting. As same as people would cut it off so as to gain their security and protection once they construe their own value as chicken ribs. However, the entity of the vital body therefore becomes petty and lowliness. “Better to be a shard of jade than a whole tile”— the cost of being a whole tile would be to castrate inherent quality of oneself.

Another topic related to human life is about “sex”, which also appeared in YANG Hong’s painting. Sex is the most primitive impulse and one of the persevered human desires. To look at his work, many of the objects seem to imply the relevant organ and sign, such as the peristalsis of human organs with flowing fluid still can be seen after managed out of focus. Those images related to sex are more like a delicate and charming peach blossom, withered followed by blossoming constantly day after day. The vague colour and distortion of the shapes are interacted altogether in a blurred world. The object is no more itself but becoming a form or a feeling, which constantly rush out of the most essential part of man, while testing by the civilization and regulation unceasingly. Those delicate colour and bloom of emotion seem to be an incredible pantomine of the world—without sound there is only a vague shape left.

 A story described in A Brighter Summer Day : Honey, dressing in blue rig, back to Tapei from south. The style of his conversation became poetic and philosophical in a charming sense. When the concert was held in Taipei Zhongshan Hall, he stepped out like Don Quijote and never went back again. Although it is only a short story, I see two figures’ back within: one is fixated on emotional given and self-salvation in moral sense; another may find his own ideal personality –a tragic hero of loneliness and hesitation from the former. This is the flower I had seen through the film. Perhaps, YANG Hong himself also saw his own peach blossom bursting out in the world of paradox of value and at the corner of appendix.

[Editor] Elemy Liu