Return of the Real, King Street Gallery, Lancaster, 2019
Return of the Real
In Return of the Real, I present a series of paintings which portray the tensions in brutal boxing, mixed martial arts and wrestling matches. The extreme moments of being punched, choked and kicked are transferred into thought-provoking events through the painting process. These images can be uncomfortable and traumatic, yet they may be able to provide us an opportunity to rethink our lives in a different way beyond predetermined social criteria and expectations surrounding us, which sometimes make us feel as if we were being situated in the fights.
The fighting images symbolise the events, which can lead to inevitable changes of our lives in a similar way of circulation of the material energies of Yin and Yang in Taoist philosophy. In terms of the colour choices, red represents active energy of Yang (male) and blue symbolises receptive energy of Yin (female), and together they shape our lives and natural world through complementary interconnections. I combined Korean ink and coloured painting techniques together for my new paintings to experiment with their incompatible material characteristics in an entirely new and different way.
The title of this show has originated from the article of the American art critic and historian Hal Foster in 1996. Informed by his critics on the 20th century post-war avant-garde art, the notion of the traumatic real in Abject Art has heavily influenced my own art practice since I was working in San Francisco in 2013. Through my PhD research in the aesthetics of French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze, I have developed the concept of the Real which is ultimately affirmative and transferable. In Deleuze's Transcendental Realism, art is provisionally defined as Agencement machines which operate by connecting different fields and giving the connected assemblage a new sense through experimental processes.