by Chun Wang

A video essay created during WOC Artist Residency. February 2021.

The idea of making this video comes from my desire to probe the rumination-heartache cycle I personally experienced during recent times. Part of the typical me has been trying hard to live under the reign of logic, by attempting to analyze, contextualize and rationalize my mental sickness. Nevertheless, I’ve found it a more helpful approach for the moment to take a departure from my usual conceptual practice and create works in a fully spontaneous mode, in which I don’t filter or suppress my emotions but allow them to be directly transferred onto physical materials such as paper, paint, and clay.

I aimed to examine the ways in which material functions as language, with the application of material revealing as tone of voice. It happened that during my residency I came to learn about using clay to express crippled, vulnerable and sometimes eerie qualities — mimicked by the material is the fragility and elasticity of life. In the video, there is intentional superimposition of these sculptural works and watercolor paintings to demonstrate my ongoing exploration about expressing with spontaneity, where the rawness of form and process is purposefully preserved.

In Soliloquy every character comes as a fragment, a portion, a broken piece in some way. Some of these figures are personal indications of myself, and some are more general references to human conditions. I intend to offset the darker, intimate subject matter with assemblage of seemingly celebratory imagery and innocent characters.

The script for the video’s voiceover is available for the audience to peruse. There are seven passages in the narration, drawing text from my journal, art and socio-political manifestos, a poem written by my sister, and a book by Anne Harrington on the history of psychiatry’s quest to understand the biological roots of mental illness. While there was push and pull between the fear of feeling exposed versus the integrity of this video, writing the script has served as a vehicle to question the griefs so that they may be interpreted in a new light.

Brooklyn, NY
February 2021

On View: WOC Artist Residency WOC Virtual Exhibition Vol.9