top of page

Context

I contextualize my practice and research in the present social context confront everyone—the Post Truth Era, incredibility of authorities, including, government religious, science and technology, it is very much the Postmodern Condition prophesy by French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard in the 1970s. I deconstruct its emergence into two part, the rise of neoliberalism and manipulation of technology, coming with a result in nihilism of different types, and suggesting a potential solution, the method of phenomenology

Postmodern Condition 

Positive science has development massively since Enlightenment and the industrial revolution, human’s productivity was increased unprecedentedly as well as the living condition of people. In 2022, however, scientific technology and society system bring everyone not only convenience and happiness but also a sense of problematic apathy and alienation. The idolatry of wealth yielded by capitalism and consumerism, disappointment of the social and governed system under war and pandemic and the skepticism of epidemiology are distorting our intrinsic weltanschauung and, I belieb#ve will eventually change our posterity’s. That is what the French scholar Jean-François Lyotard call the postmodern condition. Worse still, the postmodern condition under a social stream of neoliberalism, which intensify the alienation and instrumentalization of human. German philosopher Han Byung Chul criticize neoliberalism from different perspectives in many of his works, he worried that neoliberalism together with the free market economy.

Nihilism in present day

As a consequence, to that, would eventually pose the present publicity circumstance--Post Truth Era. We found that all those sources are being used to achieve the goal by the capitalists and politics, there is nothing we can believe in, and people would generate a feeling of loose and alienate the reality, nihilism and existential crisis is once again hover over our society. The enormous informations and suspicion alienate people from the living world and community. Zygmunt Bauman talks about people’s oblivion under control of a modern bureaucratic management system taking the Holocaust during World War two as an example, Han Byung-Chul judges the blind obsession to commodity in a highly homogenized society as such. They will eventually surfer in nihilism in morality, epistemology, politics, cosmology, existentialism, etc.

Balancing Shapes

Phenomenology

Phenomenology was a new school of philosophy developed by Edmund Husserl in the early 20th century. It basically is a philosophy of experience, not the empirical cognition and common sense, but the first personal, direct experience of our senses and feeling. The method of phenomenology has applied to various realms of culture studies like sociology, art, psychology, etc. It suggests studying the phenomena of the world rather that distinguishing the subjective consciousness and the objective world as the tradition of western philosophy does.  Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty are two significant developers of Husserl's Phenomenology: Heidegger developed his methodology of phenomenology and trying to answer which the tradition of western philosophy has been pursing, what is being; Merleau-Ponty concentrate on the physicality and materiality of our body, in which he thinks that our perceptions are the very evidence of our existence. I think Phenomenology can be one effective solution of the existential crisis which produced by capitalism, slavishly chasing purely material measure living standard, in modern society, as science does not deal with the problem of value, it suggests people to understand and live with their experience and perception, where skepticism and dogmatism would dismiss in a phenomenological life-style.

Shadows

Martin Heidegger: The Origin of the Work of Art

Martin Heidegger claimed that “Language is the house of Being.”, The Origin of the Work of Art features Martin Heidegger’s study into Being via analyzing the origin of artwork, a painting of peasant shoes by Van Gogh, a Greek temple and Hölderlin’s poetry. He proposed that the essence of artwork uncover itself by accomplishes the strife between earth and word, I interpret it as the dynamic state which that the material or medium of an artwork conceal the meaning or values that artist intend to express, such expression is simultaneously in struggle but endeavouring to surmount it by the enthusiasm and dedication of the artist on the work.

There is a figure-ground relation presented here, the world and the earth raise each other into assertion, of their essential natures, while their battle field presents the audience as one uniform entity, the artwork as such.

In my practice, I’ve being trying to highlight the “world” via exploring opponents of media, body and ice. I can never separate the “world” and the “earth”, there must be a foundation where works and the strife of world and earth take place. I’ve explored on the material of subject and object to their extreme extend, human body in performance, and sunlight and water in the natural world. I tried to push both materials to their extremes by uncovering the extreme subjectivity and objectivity of the materials.

Flat Round Elements

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Cezanne’s Doubt

The EY Exhibition: Cezanne:, hosted by Tate Modern, provide a comprehensive and detailed demonstration of the French artist Paul Cezanne, who is considered the father of modern art. In the essay Cezanne’s Doubt, Merleau-Ponty analyzed Cezanne’s approach as an attempt to present the truth in his study of still lives and Mount San Victoire. Via breaking though the tradition of western painting in perspective and colour, observation of objects, even study geology and using X-ray, Paul Cezanne uncover the structure behind objects he saw. Merleau-Ponty claimed that Cezanne had intended to paint not the representation of the objects in its visual form, but the perception that our body receive when we encounter the objects as such, the texture, the sound and even the smile.

Cezanne and I share the same concept that present the essence of thing that forthcoming from the world we inhabited and objects we perceive. Thus, my performance and cyanotypes are the exploration of body and thing respectively, more importantly, the structure and essence concealed. I organized a gallery tour, and shared Merleau-Ponty’s thoughts of Cezanne.

I considered the phenomenology as one potential solution to address the overwhelming information in our society. In the era of exploding message, people could easily get confused and bewildered, they could become vulnerable and irrational when come cross conspiracy and consumerism. The aim of phenomenology, through analyzing the phenomena, would provide a way to uncover the essence of such explosion.

Bubble blur

Paul Crowther: the phenomenological depth of art

Art theorist Paul Crowther criticize the reductionist approach to the analyzation of art, which assimilate meaning in the visual arts to the social-historical context, being produced or modeling derived form the literary analysis and neglecting the distinctively visual dimension, and the way of engaging merely with the concrete artwork, which he named it the formalist approach. He then formulated the notion, phenomenological depth, to place an emphasis on the ontology and perception of the work major idioms of the visual art in their own characters He had analyzed respectively on different media of artwork in his book Phenomenology of Visual Art (Even the Frame). Even there is no demonstration of his thoughts on print and performance, we can acknowledge what he proposed as we interpret an artwork is to refer to the exploration of the subjective experience and perception of art, emphasizing the significance of personal interpretation and engagement with visual stimuli. It may involve examining the ways in which art elicits emotional responses, evokes sensory experiences, or prompts reflections on human consciousness and existence.

I’ve been researching on lots of artist and analyzing my own work, but I’ve never interrogate my methodology of analyzing, and reflect on the result that come cross from it. Paul Crowther’s book had provided an opportunity to theorize them inherited the method from phenomenologist. And such approach could also be apply into creation of work as well.

Warm Blurry Lights

Art and Poetry

I gradually realize that pure rational reasoning and demonstrating cannot eventually resolve the problem of human existence. Therefore, I started to research into a more poetic and empirical expression of the existential situation of humanity. Alike what Heidegger done in his The Origin of the Work of Art, he turned to analyze German philosopher Friedrcih Holderlin, even he failed to uncover the expected truth of art, but there is a necessity to draw support from emotional and sympathetic language. I’ve researching on German Philosopher Martin Buber and his famous poetic I and Thou which is a piece of existentialism. I’ve also looking at traditional and Chinese poems as it is my first language. Chinese poets like GuCheng, BeiDao are very inspiring for their Misty Poems, which implicitly reveal the struggle and melancholy of people.

Shadows

Poetry and Nature


I still believe that people need to live within their perceived world. From a phenomenological point of view, I have previously focused too much on the abstract concept of human beings in my practice. Through poetry, I need to shift my focus to describing phenomena and things themselves. When we read poetry written by predecessors, we often categorize them as about nature, mythology, or humanity. However, phenomenology, as an attempt to study intuitive experiences, does not dichotomize between humans and nature or humans and gods. We live in a world filled with contingency, and human beings have constructed all natural laws and mythological stories to explain the known and the unknown. Human beings are unquestionably a species with higher intelligence, but at the same time, this higher intelligence is undeniably a part of nature. I need to find an expression that acknowledges all phenomena. This is a kind of post-humanism, a way to represent all beings equally, rather than emphasizing one particular perspective.

Shadows

Martin Heidegger: The Origin of the Work of Art

Martin Heidegger claimed that “Language is the house of Being.”, The Origin of the Work of Art features Martin Heidegger’s study into Being via analyzing the origin of artwork, a painting of peasant shoes by Van Gogh, a Greek temple and Hölderlin’s poetry. He proposed that the essence of artwork uncover itself by accomplishes the strife between earth and word, I interpret it as the dynamic state which that the material or medium of an artwork conceal the meaning or values that artist intend to express, such expression is simultaneously in struggle but endeavouring to surmount it by the enthusiasm and dedication of the artist on the work.

There is a figure-ground relation presented here, the world and the earth raise each other into assertion, of their essential natures, while their battle field presents the audience as one uniform entity, the artwork as such.

In my practice, I’ve being trying to highlight the “world” via exploring opponents of media, body and ice. I can never separate the “world” and the “earth”, there must be a foundation where works and the strife of world and earth take place. I’ve explored on the material of subject and object to their extreme extend, human body in performance, and sunlight and water in the natural world. I tried to push both materials to their extremes by uncovering the extreme subjectivity and objectivity of the materials.

bottom of page