HOW CONNECTED CAN WE BE reveals the conflict between the attempts of experiencing complete connection and its effect of destroying it instead, indicated by the action of kissing the face till it get eaten, holding the hand till it melts and hugging the body till it disappears.
Taking Covid into consideration, it’s a conflict of the desire for physical interaction and the force of separation/rejection that one cannot control. It’s a lack/craving nothing else can feed. There’s nothing to do but repress, accept or let go of it.
I consider myself a photographer using emotions to connect with the world. Common themes are emotions or situations we cannot fully control. Most work is staged conceptual photography which can involve installation and sculpture. I try to recreate and capture abstract emotions by exploring their connections and interactions with physical objects and the environment, then projecting the meanings onto staged scenes.
Specifically, my work explores interpersonal relationships and desire. I interpret these concepts through photographing a variety of subjects: from objects such as dummies and iron powder to people. My choice of objects is dependent on the information they could carry. I draw from works of Francesca Woodman and Bernard Faucon. Woodman’s subject of her naked body inspires me of using myself in photos as I am also expressing my personal feelings. Faucon’s capture of sunlight in small simple rooms in his series ROOMS OF LOVE triggers my thoughts about its relation to emptiness.
My work is also intended to invite viewers to associate themselves with its topic, relate their stories, and generate their thoughts and feelings. For example, I have a series of photographs exploring conscious struggle due to social pressures. This complex psychological activity is usually hidden and easily overlooked. Living in a society in China focusing on rapid economic development, individuals’ emotional expression can be limited, which can lead to mental disconnection to their living environment. By making people aware of the emotions, my work helps to create an outlet that connects the inner and outer world, generating energy that comforts viewers to build a stronger existence in the society by knowing their emotional weakness is shared and understood.
Ideas rather than technical skills are the motivations and core. As I always tell the key story by the changing object through interactions or in different settings or moments, I tend to produce a sequential series of photographs to record and present. To support transformation, I have experimented with various materials, water, fire and magnets. I use digital cameras mainly for their efficient and effective functionality. Temporality and tableau emphasize the concepts behind the photographs instead of simply moments of beauty.
My goal is to address emotions we have difficulty dealing with, in order to help ourselves understand those issues better and create a stronger connection in the society.