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Axing Ice to Cross the Sea, Hu Xiaoyuan, "The Section of Experimental Art at the 21th National Art Exhibition" 伐冰渡海,胡晓媛《第十二届全国美术作品展览 实验艺术展区》

Hu Xiaoyuan [胡晓媛]2014.08.18 -- 2014.09.08

Today Art Museum

Today Art Museum

“The actor stood on the grayish and dark shore. He sometimes felt exhausted (lijie), and sometimes he spared no effort (jieli) denouncing the immense sea by his body languages.”

The two words, lijie, and jieli are reversals of each other, both in characters and meanings. The pairing of mirroring reversals is a recurring theme in the video: the actor facing the sea (seeing) with his back facing the camera (not seeing); the waves move forwards to the actor, but look as if moving backwards as the video rewinding (left channel, summer); the icy sea is motionless but the camera is spinning; frozen waves look as if infinite but actually are limited repetitions (central channel, winter); the actor doing stretches (not seeing) facing the camera (seeing); actor’s unfolding of his body (opening up, expansion) is in reverse (right channel, summer) to the camera zooming out (contraction, moving further).
In other words, the characteristics of the cinematic language and visual structure of this video are “symmetry and reversal.” The question is using symmetry as a constructive tool, what does the artist try to reverse in this work?
In an interview “Empty Your Thoughts and Look Closely,” artist might have given the clues of the answer: “What you see is not always what you get.” However, if we reverse this sentence again, then we get “What you get is not always what you see.” Does this indicate that through symmetrical reversals we will make the invisible world hidden in the videos visible?
Video originates from the temporal and spatial locality, in which what we see and what we get are symmetrical and reserved. If you “look closely” as the artist suggests, the answer to the puzzles probably is both an answer and question: is this an illusion?

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Details

  • Title: Axing Ice to Cross the Sea, Hu Xiaoyuan, "The Section of Experimental Art at the 21th National Art Exhibition" 伐冰渡海,胡晓媛《第十二届全国美术作品展览 实验艺术展区》
  • Creator: Hu Xiaoyuan [胡晓媛]
  • Date: 2014.08.18 -- 2014.09.08
  • Provenance: Today Art Museum [今日美术馆]
  • Type: video
  • Creator's Dates: 1977-
  • Creator Nationality: China
  • Creator Gender: female

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