On March 27 2010, I presented a work at the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney following a panel discussion entitled ‘Inspiring Collecting: Asian Art’ as part of the inaugural Art Month Sydney.
This piece, entitled shoud, explored ideas of transformation and its consistently abortive, incomplete nature – both abstractly and explicitly in gender, chemical processes, and emotionally. The puzzle that inspired the piece was the dizzying perspectives in viewing the relationship of a flying bird to the earth, and then the methods of measuring this distance and space. From that point, my mind moved to different distances – ‘false opposites’, with semantic barriers stopping things from being truly contrasted. It was with this in mind that the structure and content formed.
A key thread was the plethora of options – I hesitate because it might be construed that I am justifying confusion by saying that I am presenting ‘confusion’, but it is more in a multi-tasking vein – constant process which continues on an axis of time, with the execution of each process spliced with each other or deliberately abandoned so as to create a complex, jagged arc.
– Caramelising pears: taking several ingredients and conducting a ‘chemical transformation’ using heat. The choice of pears (as opposed to, say, peaches) lay in the media driven ideas of body – the pear shaped body, with a heavy bottom weighing it down and all the glossy recipes which drizzle caramel like tempered, magic excrement in the mind. The ritualised process, with times, dictated the time periods for the piece, with distraction moving back to the hotplate.
– Sound elements: The space used for performance was next to Wang Yuyang’s breathing van sculpture, which generated a constant drone, alongside the electric heatplate and attached fan, and an old slide projector, set at various intervals of automatic slide changing, as well as the fan on that. As such, the space had a ‘drone’ like foundation which altered, with the sizzling of hot butter and such as well.
– Light sources: As well as the aforementioned slide projector, which acted as a primary form of lighting, there was also the use of a halogen bulb in the latter part of the piece, and opening of a different spatial relation and broadening of perhaps literal focus.
The performance elements came from improvisation on the clarinet and voice (with emphasis on the use of breath, timbre and phrase and awareness of cauterising phrase), strict structures of movement (linked with an emotional development, with sometimes conflicting intentions to other elements), use of space, as well as costume (in this case, transforming through the incision of scissors).
The following images are staged with Lucy Parakhina
The original blurb attached to the piece read as follows:
Stems and bloom wrought into vermin swarming the belfry vase snaking cinders. With the liquid found in him greases leaves petals the hair of fingers gently not tearing to baste. Unexpected, the delicacies wilt choked as a brick out of sun and smeared but they’ve taken shape under the altar and emerged a crown imagined overlock churntey like wind jars sunleapt. The time it roosts and the drape on dark skin wavers but who would dare think filth when the chest is carven like yuship and myrrh wings lift with clamped butter lining.