One day during the outbreak of COVID-19, I was walking on the road when a white man shouted at me and called me “virus”. For a long time after that, I was eager to prove to the rest of the world that as an Asian, I did not represent the virus. I even wrote “I am not a virus” on my forehead, arms and face mask and posted it on social media. Moreover, I found that “I am not a virus” had already become a tag on Instagram and Facebook. Under this tag, many Asian people were doing the same things like me.
This incident inspired me to carry out this art practice. I found that most people had the inner desire to express or “show off” certain ideas or items to their friends and to society. However, most of the time, this abstract “desire” is easily ignored because it cannot be visualized.
"I am not a virus."
Therefore, the purpose of this art practice is to visualize the desire in my heart in an exaggerated way, so that everyone can understand it. People’s desires and thoughts vary a lot from person to person, so I chose to symbolize these concrete things and use red triangles — such a striking and simple figure to represent the desires deep down in the heart. Starting with my toes, I painted them all over my skin, and then I went out as usual and let everyone see my endless “desires”.
This work can be regarded as a continuation of my previous artwork “zoo” because in the video, I drew triangles repeatedly to echo “the stereotypical behaviour” shown in the artwork “zoo”. From the careful drawing of the triangle in the early stage to the scribbling stroke in the later stage, finally, I purposely drew the triangle in a distorted way. I hope that by doing this, the audience can feel my eagerness to show the world my inner desires and thoughts.
Research and Inspiration
“When God made the first clay model of a human being…
He painted in the eyes…the lips…and the sex…
Then he painted in each person’s name, lest the owner should ever forget it.”
—— The Pillow Book
The Pillow Book
My research question is about inner desire and expression, and this movie gave me great inspiration.
The whole movie is concerned with the relationship between body, desire and writing. In the movie, when the heroine was young, her father would paint her face with a brush dipped in the red paint, which left a deep impression on the heroine. From then on, she believed that the calligraphy written on her body was the only calligraphy and the only way for her to get pleasure. When she became an adult, she started to let her lovers write on her body for pleasure, and later she began to hold a brush and write on her lovers’ bodies.
Repeatedly discussing the relationship between body, desire and writing, the whole movie conveys another idea: flesh as paper, desire as a pen, which gave me a great inspiration, because what I have studied is also about expression and desire. Thus, I think it is a good choice to choose the body as a paper. Meanwhile, I hope that the audience could see my sense of urgency in the expression of desire from the rhythm and speed of writing.
The Pillow Book
The Pillow Book
“Immersion in the kinesthetic sense.”
——— Simone Forti
To some extent, this work is a continuation of my previous artwork Zoo. Similarly, there are a lot of repeated actions in the video. I hope that through this process, I can express the anxiety and urgency in the presentation of desire, which also echoes Zoo.
As for how to perform, Simone Forti’s artworks give me some references.
Simone Forti, born in 1935, is an American Italian Postmodern artist, dancer, choreographer, and writer. From the early minimalist abstract dance style to the improvisation of combining words and dance movements, her work has had a profound impact on contemporary dance and performance practices.
I am always interested in the connection of nature, society and humans. Fort’s artwork showed me a way to express the connections between the three that I have observed for a long time. Besides, the rhythm during the performance is also a point that touched me and prompt me to think about how to grasp rhythm to avoid boring and overly complicated performances when I am performing.
Research Stereotypic behavior
Looking for inspiration
Reading and watching books and artworks related to my concept
Continue further research
Determine the way to expression
Research all kinds of body paints
Get in touch with the photographer and rent a video studio
body paints test
2 times test shots
Video and photos editing
Upload artwork on my Webfoilo
Installation at the gallery
The shape of the exhibition space I need is a rectangular parallelepiped, thereby creating a deep spatial effect. A monitor was placed in the centre of the wall to display the performance video. At the same time, as shown in the figure, three sets of photos were hanged to the ceiling, two in each set. The layout of each set of photos is staggered. This staggered design will cover the middle display to a certain extent, so as to encourage the audience to walk through the hanging photos to watch the video.
The exhibition plan
1. On the day of the private view, the monitor will be not installed on the wall. I am going to perform the process of painting the “desire” on my body in the exhibition hall. After that, I will wander around in the gallery like an audience and show my “desire” to the public.
2. After the private view, the monitor could be installed on the wall and play the performance video.
Body paints --------------------￡20
Camera stand -----------------￡15
The rent of video studio-----￡50
Acrylic plates 70cm*140cm*12
Photos print fee----------------￡120