Inkjet print, Diasec (acrylic, aluminum frame) | 2011-2020
The collapse of the Twin Towers in 2001, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the March 11 nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, these catastrophic aftermaths were all broadcasted through the media. The architectural ruins mixed with unrecognizable man-made products were covered in mud slides and dirt. Debris, fragments, scraps formed my impression of the beginning of the 21st century. The title Debris refers to all residuals, mostly man-made, left after disasters. Intuitively, the word serves as a description of the sculptural form in this series; and through this word, I further explore the changing identity of usable and unusable contemporary “objects (products)” in digital and material forms.
I use 3D modelling software to create debris-like 3D models that are virtually functionless in reality, skipping the process of material production and only keeping the computed images. By reorganizing the procedures that constitute a product’s life, including design (start), production (process) and disposal (end), the beginning is rendered no different from the end—“to become useless debris” is essentially the meaning of the production.
While the image looks like a painting, the process of creating the image using the software, on the other hand, resembles the making of a sculpture, even though the final product is only a piece of photographic paper. It records the simulations of various materials and the rendering of light, using the image to render material dematerialized and compressing the body into the 2.5 dimension. The approach highlights the pureness of 3D software/image as an instrument/material and responds to modern visual experience.
Debris has evolved into several sub-series since 2011. To avoid falling into formal inertia, the making of the series has been slow, and I have re-examined the meaning of Debris in every stage.
The beginning, and feels like I am making simple graphic works.
Tools is a response to the purpose of 3D software used in design products and tools. Tools are often designed as thin, long sticks so that they can be comfortably and steadily held by people. The contour and the combination of components in the series aim to arouse the viewer’s bodily feeling towards a tool, propelling him or her to imagine using the tool, as if the human hand could reach into the image.
Begins with forms that the public can easily recognized. I apply the software’s functions of parameter adjustment and revision to continuously replicate and overlap the forms to create the images. The obvious non-perpendicular contour makes the images more sculptural. The relationship between material, color and form is not symbolic or narrative but randomly generated. The organically formed, somewhat streamlined components form a contrast to the hard-edged blocks of larger components, bringing to mind ecological associations and forming a geometric microcosm.
Starts with the body, and blends bone structures, organs and diseases into an imaginary torso.
Series 5 is inspired by my experiences and feelings of living in Berlin since 2017. Dilapidated walls, repeatedly covered graffiti, treacherous light in cellar parties, sickening filth in street corners and inexplicable smog at midnight, Berlin is a city rebuilt upon ruins. Although for some people she is a paradise for unchecked indulgence, the gradually decaying corners are constant reminders of the fact that she is a city filled with broken histories and their fragments.
Different from former Debris, which comprises extensive layers of geometric models, Series 5 is created by applying colors to raw models of material balls, with a lesser degree of experimentation in form and space to render the expression more two-dimensional. Most of the works in this sub-series are painted with the digital brush to directly create lines and details on the model surfaces. If 3D software is a tool to simulate reality, Series 5 simulates abstract painting in a rather specific manner, whereas the implication of Debris has evolved from a signification of digital remnants in the past to a metaphor for the city’s historical memory and material debris. As for the naming of the works in Series 5, each title is followed by a subtitle, comprising a noun and a verb to connect the individual memory of Berlin and that of the public.
Week (Landsberger Allee)｜2020
Week (Landsberger Allee) revolves around Landsberger Allee, a very ordinary railway station in Berlin, the kind that out-of-towners would not make it a destination or stay longer than necessary. Nevertheless, several railway lines intersect at this ordinary station, making it a somewhat busy railway hub in eastern Berlin. It is also a transfer station between my home and studio in Berlin; and every time I reach the station, it feels like I am either going to work or going back home.
I usually quickly traversed this station, where there always seemed to be some construction work going on and was not particularly clean. Sometimes I left the station with a sense of excitement, and sometimes I returned to the station feeling anxious. However, I sometimes also, after some frustrated situations at work, lingered in the station for a while. The repeatedly removed and added stains and dirt all became signs marking a particular period of busy days.
With marks photographed in the station as a base, I follow the chronological order and keep certain elements from the previous piece in the next one to create a continuity. So, the seven pieces represent a weekly cycle, and their scale mimics the railway ticket.