ON and OFF with Wang Yuyang

by Iona Whittaker 爱安阿
translated by He Siyan 何思衍

As a preview to the exhibition “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice,” randian is publishing aseries of conversations in the lead-up to the opening, offering insights into the concept and planning of the show, and the perspectives of participating artists. 

 “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice,” an exhibition of the work of 50 young mainland Chinese artists, will open at UCCA (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art) in Beijing on January 13, 2013. Curated by Sun Dongdong and Bao Dong, the exhibition aims to survey the work of these artists in the tense context of recent Chinese history and their experience of life and artistic practice. Iona Whittaker asked artist Wang Yuyang about the exhibition in the final weeks of its preparation.

Iona Whittaker: What does the title “ON | OFF” evoke for you?

Wang Yuyang: The switching off after the switching on — switching off is perhaps also a new beginning.

IW: Can you briefly introduce the work(s) you will be showing in the exhibition?

WY: When the handmade copying paper I designed were produced, a digital recording set up was used to document the entire production process. Afterwards, we turned each frame of the video data into a visual image, which we then re-printed onto the handmade copying paper.

From their birth, media like paper, magnetic tape, records have always recorded the images or sounds of “others” [things]. Through the conceptual and methodological displacement, we allowed the paper itself to start narrating its own experiences and reality. At the same time, this granted the paper the power of complete self-perception as an independent existence.

IW: How do you conceive the relations between your work and the curatorial framework of this exhibition?

WY: That you should ask the curators!

IW: What’s on your mind for this show?

WY: To tidy up and show a portion of the present state of contemporary Chinese art.

IW: What do you feel you share in common with the other artists in the exhibition?

WY: Youth!

IW: The current moment presents us increasingly with choices and different perspectives from which to view our situation. How do you think this affects art?

WY: Does the increasing variety of choice really have meaning? Where does the value of different points of view lie

IW: How do you understand the current broader conditions for emerging artists today, what are the barriers and edges for you?

WY: It seems to be going around in a circle — facing similar hardships and similar jostling for advantages from the same starting line

IW: What is the most significant question facing your artistic practice now?

WY: Capital!

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