Interviewer: Sun Dongdong (hereinafter referred to as “Sun”)

Interviewee: Wang Yuyang (hereinafter referred to as “Wang”)

Sun: Why is this solo exhibition named Wormhole?

Wang: My works usually seems to follow many clues, such as the universe, technology, suspicions about history and politics, understanding of objects, and painting which you have seen last time. Then how can one depict such complicated subjects in their real appearances? The complication often excited me, and I didn’t want to delete or reduce anything in order to make only a “single” clue. Thus comes the concept of “wormhole,” which is just like the connection between two time-spaces, channeling between a black hole and a white hole, with openings on both ends, one to our understanding of technology, the universe and the world, and another one to our body and daily life. The two holes are linked up by a channel, which is probably me.

Sun: Why is the Artificial Moon arranged on the ground on this exhibition?

Wang: On previous exhibitions, the Artificial Moon was usually hung up in a patio or a room, or hoisted up in the open air, remaining at a distance from the audience. But in this exhibition, I put it closer to the audience. Being hung up high made it more poetic for the larger distance from the audience. But now it is more compelling and violent. No matter being far away or close in, the nature of the work is highlighted, but with one of its characters being exaggerated in different space.

Sun: What is the violence you said related to?

Wang: Different energy-saving lights were arranged with naked wires and meshes. Distance dimmed those images, what attracted the audience was the white light. Now all is shown in front of you.

Sun: Would you like to talk about the Moon Landing Program?

Wang: The Moon Landing Program displayed in Arario Gallery in 2007 is a copy from the records of the 1969 U.S. moon landing, which was played together with the original recording. In the exhibition cases, some necessary equipments—tools for photography for moon landing—were exhibited. In one of the cases, a “moon rock” enabled the audience’s close interactive observation. The settings and images, creating the environment of a science and technology exhibition center, became a kind of scientific popularization and a kind of fact. For this exhibition, I removed the exhibition cases and the interactive part, only leaving the audience with a large area of cinders, which were used to simulate the “Moon Surface” in the photography. With all these settings, audience can directly watch the videos. Because I think the exhibition cases and props shown to the audience previously may have created an overwhelming atmosphere of questioning, this exhibition collects many of my works together, so only videos and the photography setting were left.

Sun: Why are you interested in moon?

Wang: In a different way to other nations, the Chinese people cherish a special feeling towards the Moon. I often heard of legends about the Moon, such as Chang’e Flying to the Moon. In junior high school, I learned about the U.S. moon landing in a textbook. Then a conflict or an error in thinking occurred, making me doubt the authenticity of the legend and the Moon landing. I often thought that maybe today’s scientific and technological affairs are somehow yesterday’s legends, through which a new legend and a new belief is created. Not targeting the U.S. specifically, and photographing The Moon Landing Program did not mean to satirize or question about the U.S. Moon landing, but to more extensively cast doubt on technology, history and politics from the authenticity of the video. History is written by us, so it cannot be absolutely true or authentic, applying to all the nations alike.

Sun: Tonight I will Consider Who I Am was created after the Moon Landing Program, are these two works related to each other?

Wang: This work is something more relating to emotion. After photographing the exhibition in Arario, the props should be disassembled, like the 6.5m spacecraft, to store them in the warehouse. The disassembled parts were put in a suburban storage facility and I didn’t see them for a long time. One day when I went to the storage, the pieces of spacecraft and the spacesuits were scrunched in a corner, covered with dust. Unavoidably, I became sentimental when I saw them, these things made by myself, as if I was reflecting on something about myself on a gloomy night. Later on I painted them in black, and they disappeared into the dark of space. In this way I copied my feelings. The Moon Landing Program showed my suspicions about history, towards politics and technology, but now it reflected another suspicion about myself, i.e. what on earth can my previous suspicions bring about? This is a thought and also a feeling.

Sun: Is this a sense of vanity or a feeling of emptiness?

Wang: I think something is born with life. I did not recognize it when I was creating the work, there should be something in vanity. Now I am trying to materialize the emptiness, maybe the emptiness is just your thinking, or something that needs to be considered by others. Emptiness does not mean an absence of existence. Things are existing right there, but when you look at it, there is always something empty behind which cannot be interpreted with words; works are same. The emptiness is a reminder of thinking, provoking others to consider. Works which can be literally described do not need to be visually reflected upon.

Sun: Compared with the other works on this exhibition, you seemed to change your way of thinking in Electricity?

Wang: I tried to connect the two poles of a battery with a bulb in the first place. At the beginning of the exhibition, the bulb should be lit, then become dim until dead, delivering a kind of sorrow and sentiment. I was intending to change the power of thinking into functioning energy, which gradually disappeared. However, technologically I couldn’t realize my idea, because the brain power was too weak, resembling a ping-pong ball in a basketball court when being stored in a battery, to light up a bulb. We have many ideas which cannot be turned into reality, one of which was reflected in my work Electricity. Thus I stored my brain power in the battery and left, and the work was then created.

Sun: You were a stage art major, before that you studied painting in the Fine Arts School Attached to CAFA, why did you change your major to stage art in the Central Academy of Drama?

Wang: I wanted to learn something different when I graduated from the Fine Arts School attached to CAFA, so I applied for Beijing Film Academy and the Central Academy of Drama. Before application I had learned some information about the major and felt it would bring me something new, besides pure fine art. The incentive driving me apply for other major was a set of pictures on a Prague Stage Art Exhibition. I saw a really integrated work in numerous forms and with numerous contents, each picture was strange and interesting to me, reminding me a lot of things, I made up my mind then to study drama or film.

Sun: Did you reflect your learning experience of stage art in creation?

Wang: Others often say that your works deliver the sense of drama on stage. This may be attributed to my study on drama, but I think this is only a small part of the reason, because I want things to talk, I want the work I created to communicate instead of me. When works were created and exhibited, I was often excited and sentimental because the meaning was delivered and materialized.

Sun: Are you sentimental now?

Wang: Hey, although these things are continuing to exist, and telling in the way I empowered them to do, they are not inside of me any longer, and have been forced in front of others. Your children have grown up and left you already!

(Excerpt from Let Things Tell, ArtSpy, http://www.artspy.cn

Nov 26, 2009

Sun Dongdong (interview)