Wang Yuyang: Do not go gentle into the “Chaosmosis”


艺术家与作品【梦】 .jpgWANG Yuyang and Dream (2016 - 2024)  Glass, Robot and Automatic platform car  H 289 x L 616 x W 438 cm

Chaosmosis and the Return of the Grand Narrative 


In WANG Yuyang’s expansive 2015 exhibition Tonight I shall mediate on that which I am at the LONG Museum in Shanghai, the artist unleashed a futurity conceived through the imbrication of the "that” in “I" and the "I” in “that." As I wrote then, “’ That which I am ’conjugates the subject and the object, conflating the inanimate and the soulful and suggesting an emerging relationship between things and humans.” This meditative musing on the new paradigm of technicity and humanity accentuated much of the artist’s work at the time. Almost ten years later with a mid-career survey show at the recently opened Shenzhen Art Museum extending his prolonged interest in investigating a plethora of subjectivities, WANG Yuyang has also ventured into an even more radicalized notion of nature and culture with a magnitude of geological immensity and minutiae of the microbial and everything in between. The artist’s recent endeavors thus look out on a vista that beckons forth an ecosophical turn, which the late Félix Guattari had proposed long ago in Three Ecologies, and elicit a renewed grand narrative, that which transgresses human histories, inviting reterritorialization. 

作品【共生】装置3 .jpgSymbiosis - Out  2024  Iron, Stainless steel, Brass, Red copper, Plaster, Fiberglass and Sand  H 800 x L 380 x W 600 cm作品【共生】装置4 .jpg作品【共生】装置1 .jpg作品【共生】装置5 .jpgSymbiosis - Out  2024  Iron, Stainless steel, Brass, Red copper, Plaster, Fiberglass and Sand  H 800 x L 380 x W 600 cm

Welcome to Chaosmosis! If WANG Yuyang#, a hallmark of the artist’s LONG Museum exhibition, manifested a rupture from an anthropomorphized object world to a reckoning with intelligences of another order, reversing the operational canon and delegating creative agency to the often subservient medium of tool-being, Symbiosis (2013–24) as the first piece encountered in the Shenzhen Art Museum exhibition, indicates, on the other hand, a second return of the human artist and the “utility of tool being.” Here, the strange beauty of this monumental structure is a love child between WANG Yuyang the artist in flesh and WANG Yuyang# the artist in bytes – a reconciliation of human fancy and machine vagary. The antagonism and intrigue that drive much of today’s AI hype seem to find respite in a measured posture of transience and transcendence. 

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A Suspicion Caused by Entangled Plant 2013–24 Brass, Red copper, Stainless steel, Iron, Wood and Plants  H 490 x L 450 x W 400 cm

In A Suspicion Caused by Entangled Plant (2013–24) the derelict impregnates a speculation about a sculpture that lives. Weeds grow thickly and what was once an immaculate artifact, is now an obscure object of desire amongst the imperceptible province of the biomolecular underworld, where bacteria abound. Bacteria are particles, crystallized in a plasma display of images derived from moss and liverworts (I don't know, 2024). As structures and elements break down, fluctuate, and transpose, molecular bifurcation nurtures the birth of Biological Klein Blue (2022), a marvelous work of synthetic biology, while the floral arborescence sprawling the wall propelled by the artificial mind yields abundance and fertility. 

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Biological Klein Blue  2022  Microorganisms H 5 x L 699 x W 527 cm

Life (Plant, 2024) flourishes in algorithmic prowess, too. In an age when semantics has acquired agential potency, to define is to code and to procreate, and it starts with the most rudimentary recipe of all life, DNA. All lives have a common ancestor, the evidence can be traced back to some 3.7 billion years ago when signs of life first emerged in biogenic matter. But here the most rudimentary has become the most intricate and elaborate: a dictionary entry for the word“fungus” is translated into ATCG, the base pairs of DNA, and then injected into a eukaryotic organism. It is assumed that future generations of the fungi will therefore be hybrids of the original fungi DNA and the human language reinterpreted DNA. Nature is bricolaged with the unnatural to become a third nature, a perfect symbiont that is much desired today. The refurbished biomass sprawls between everything as if to make its indisputable claim that fungi and humans are of the same origin (Define, 2022). All are unspeakable yet propagated and permeated by words, the code.  

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Plant  2023  Acetate  H 560 x L 1135 x W 1 cm

A meandering light tube (Meandering, 2024) is indeed alive and emanating, glowing, sometimes dragging its seemingly tired, slender torso; other times, at rest, it reclines into complacency. If we recall in WANG Yuyang’s previous assemblages with hundreds of them wiggling across the floor, twitching, and carefully delineating their proximity to their neighbors, this solitary one seems more confident of its own certainty and unambiguity as a being of consciousness. Entropy and probability come hand in hand, according to Ludwig Boltzmann and chaos precedes order as so announced by the Nobel laureate IIya Prigogine (Prigogine and Stengers, Order Out of Chaos). 

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Meandering  2019 – 2024  Steel, LED lamp tube, Micro-computer and Micro-motor  H 700 x L 1000 x W 1000 cm

In Indiscernable (2024), white spots appear stochastically in a pool of black liquid, then suddenly converge into our narcissistic self-image, vanishing and reforming as yet another portrait of a random human spectator, ad infinitum. This uncanny phenomenon invokes a working model of a dissipative structure which has many implications about self-organizing systems that have grown exponentially around us today. 

Uncertainty and indeterminacy rule contemporary existence. But their genealogy runs all the way back to the Big Bang. Nobody knows the initial condition of the universe since it escapes the law of physics and remains unintelligible to not only humans but also to the infallible principles of mathematics, if that is considered a realm with or without human comprehension as the default intelligibility. Such that the artist’s amorphous physicality in the form of bodily odor (I'm not sure about the ones I gave, 2024) reverberates with the syntactically sound but semantically absurd enunciations of artificial intelligence (AI Quotes, 2024) infiltrating and osmosing, seeping through the roundabout of hallways in between the galleries. 

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I'm Not Sure About the Ones I Gave  2023  Medical Gauze Swab, Aluminum, PMMA, Micro-motor and Micro-computer  H 135 x L 168 x W 110 cm

As a hardware incarnation of the wetware series of WANG Yuyang#, a telematic embrace infuses braincells with iron and steel across time zones and coalescing consciousnesses both machine and human. Inside of a sealed space with four glass walls, an industrial robotic hand agilely moves about, painting gracefully on the transparent panes, choosing colors, stroking a line, brushing a surface. It is the sleeping artist mechanically sleepwalking which makes the dream come true, albeit through the playfulness of an apparatus (Dream, 2016–24). Distance collapses and time diminishes, human made machine, machine turned human, it is the sign of the times. 

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作品【梦】局部2.jpgDream  2016 - 2024  Glass, Robot and Automatic platform car  H 289 x L 616 x W 438 cm

Collapsing is a thermodynamic norm. Everything collapses in the end, that is the irrefutable irreversibility of entropy. Destruction is the twin of construction, it’s the primary law of conservation that everything is indebted to, including us humans. But then entropy comes hand in hand with probability. We don’t know when collapsing takes place, where is the threshold in which a phase shift comes to pass, in which the transition happens, chaos emerges,and things break down. A fish tank (Collapse, 2024) is precariously equipped with a menacing metal probe, it may strike the fish tank, shattering it at any moment, or it may not in our lifetime. Chance and aleatory events are out of human control. But today, even chance can be programmed such that it becomes a controlled uncontrollability. 


Collapse  2024  

Aluminum, glass, Micro-computer, Micro-motor and Marine fish  H 150 x L 80 x W 60 cm

Enter eon, what French philosopher Quentin Meillassoux might call ancestrality, which is a world without thought: “[a] world without the givenness of the world, [but] a world capable of subsisting without being given” (Meillassoux, After the Finitude, 28), one registering geological timelessness and archaeological perpetuity. This is a new Grand Narrative in which the history of human civilizations is deprived of any privilege. 

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Forgotten Memories  2024  Red cooper, Micro-computer, Micro-motor and Oxygen  H 180 x L 420 x W 400 cm

There is only the undead from which life may be resuscitated. In Forgotten Memories (2024), ice cores from 70,000-year-old glaciers were harvested and turned into oxygen so that the homo sapiens of the twenty-first century may savor pristine air instead of the fumes and aerosols of our time, out of a Medusa-like structure with winding pipes and tubes that stored the ancient ice, then melted and oxygenized it. Life is breathed alive by the undead and a world without the givenness of the world becomes the given world anew. 

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作品【勾勒姆】装置1 .jpgGolem  2022  Clay  H 176 x L 200 x W 180 cm

Life is godly (the air of the immaculate Ice Age is certainly divine), a breath blown into mud so it goes. But here, life is also words or code turned living. Golem (2022) is invoked in the title of this monumental lump of mud and its unnamable growing form and in that golem is an inanimate thing granted life by incantations and letters, the symbolism of a contemporary vision of code-engendered life is obvious. The form of the golem is a wretched portrait of artificial intelligence seeking to emulate the shape of the artist, fed by biometric datasets accrued from WANG Yuyang, albeit deranged, becoming a crystalline form of the artist’s consciousness. Climate, temperature, and environmental situations would sculpt and probably precipitate the eventual decay of the fragile clay (supposedly) humanoid figure back to dust at Shenzhen Art Museum in an archeological future. 

An empty chair, upon which WANG Yuyang once sat, recounting the story of how a robot dog furnished with solar panels for life support was set off on an uninhabited land of Lop Nur in Northwestern China. The dog walked many miles, with satellite GPS following her whereabouts. Time went by, signals became weakened, eventually the dog disappeared (Release, 2024). 


Release  2024  Chair and Monitor  H 150 x L 270 x W 250 cm

The finale is to vanish, to be released into disappearance is victory over planned obsolescence. Nothing to be seen, everything has already happened. Into oblivion marches technology, exhausted of power supply, like an organism that crumbles in breaking-down its chemical bonds and rearranges its atoms to form new compounds. Dissolution and collapse may be the prelude to a new form of being, out of chaos arises equilibrium and order. That is again the physical law, against all human inventions and interventions. 

WANG Yuyang’s world is an aggregation or conglomeration of discrete elements, a violation of continuum and consistence, where aleatory encounters agitate perturbation, in which precariousness is the norm and chaos persists. It is the atomic world both of the macro large and the micro small, convoluted in multiplicities of existence like the discombobulated finding of the double-slit experiment. Michel Serres, speaking of Lucretius, portrays chaos as the primordial atomic condition (Serres, The Birth of Physics). But rather than endorsing a traditional atomist account of the chaos of fluxion, in which atoms move linearly, or fluctuationby which particles fly in all directions, he elaborates on the laminar flow by the Lucretian image of clinamen: that in the void all directions are equal, neither ups nor downs are favored. “[N]o point is privileged with respect to any other and none is univocally subordinate to any other” (Serres, Hermes I, Communication). All particles move uniformly and regularly, displaying no deviation in their homogeneous motion in the laminar flow, until a fortuitous atom unexpectedly changes direction, bifurcating from the given pathway. This swerve disrupts the invariable, degenerating into turbulence, much like a gentle sea breeze escalates into a storm, a butterfly effect. Serres therefore says that turbulence is order, and order turbulence, their perpetual reciprocity rules out a universal time and space. Out of these tumultuous disorders emerge new and singular temporalities and spatialities, each subsisting in its due course of continuance before disintegrating into chaos once again. In that cyclically eternal return, there is a multitude of times and spaces, enduring and dissipating each according to its own nature and rhythm, according to Serres (Christine Wertheim). 

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作品【不知道】装置6 .jpgI Don't Know  2024  Fermenters, Microorganisms, Transparent screens, Computers and Cameras  H 240 x L 80 x W 146 cm

In his final book, Guatarri coined the word chaosmosis (Guattari, Chaosmosis), unveiling the philosopher’s vision of a fluid interplay between order and disorder, a world of metamorphosis and emergence, and the intricate exchanges and turbulent currents traversing many realms and scales of existence, encapsulating the gist of his ecological philosophy. Chaosophy is Ecosophy, in which humans, societies with a technological turn, and the natural world intersect and transverse, giving rise to novel structures and new subjectivities that undermine the once Grand Narrative of human history. It is an a-signifying semiology empowered by agentic autopoiesis and outside of regime of the poststructuralist toolkit, an epiphany of the technic noumenon (Hansen, The Critique of Data). At the heyday of the deconstruction of the Grand Narrative the vision of three ecologies resonated with a new type of Grand Narrative as Serres had advocated, that which “abides by two formats, both properly universal: the laws of physics and the genetic code.” (Serres, Branches, 31) It is with this empathy and in resonance that we heed WANG Yuyang’s grand narrative of Choasmosis, and this narrative, as Guattari had unequivocally enunciated, is theirstories that unfold in an equally irreducible ethic - aesthetic paradigm. 


Hansen, Mark B. “Critique of Data.“ in Critique and the Data, edited by Erich Hörl, Nelly Y. Pinkrah, and Lotte Warnsholdt, 23 - 73. Zurich: Diaphanes,2021. 

Guatarri, Felix. Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm. Translated by P. Bains and J. Pefanis. Sydney: Power Publications, 2006. 

Guatarri, Felix. Three Ecologies. Translated by Ian Pindar and Paul Sutton. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. 

Meillassoux, Quentin. After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency. Translated by R. Brassier. New York: Continum Publishing, 2009. 

Prigogine, Ilya, & Stengers, Isabelle. Order Out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature. London: Verso, 2017.

Serres, Michel. Branches: A Philosophy of Time, Event and Advent. Translated by R. Burks. New York: Bloomsbury, 2020. 

Serres, Michel. Hermes I: Communication. Translated by Louise Burchill. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2023. 

Serres, Michel. The Birth of Physics. Translated by D. Webb and W. Ross. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018. 

Wertheim, Christine.

Wang Yuyang: Don’t meekly walk into the “Chaosmosis”


Wang Yuyang (b.1979) graduated from China Central Academy of Drama and the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Currently lives in Beijing, he has taught at the School of Experiment Art at the Central Academy of Fine Arts since 2008. Wang Yuyang creates works using emergent media but does not deliberately emphasize the novelty of technology. He is more interested in the artistry brought about by “outdated” technology, “destructive” aesthetics and material waste. His work has employed all possible media. He often uses humour, fiction and spectacles to explore and reflect upon the relationship between the human body, experience and cognition. At the same time he also investigates the relationship between artificial reality, media technology and historical perception.

作品【共生】装置2 .jpgSymbiosis - Out  2024  

Iron, Stainless steel, Brass, Red copper, Plaster, Fiberglass and Sand  H 800 x L 380 x W 600 cm

Q: From your solo exhibition at the LONG Museum in 2015 to your latest solo show, what have occurred to your research interests and directions in your works? The transformation reflected in this solo exhibition can be described as a revolution. How did this transformation happen? Is it a self-renovation that occurs within artistic creation, or is it also related to your reaction to the real world and changes in your life experience?

Wang Yuyang: First of all, this kind of transformation does not happen very quickly, but it is derived from the long-term accumulation of my creation, and has inherent continuity with my previous works. My creative explorations tend to be relatively diversified, including a variety of materials, media and creative forms. On the other hand, from the beginning of my creation, I hope that I can keep a creative mode featuring constant rebellion and self-reflection. With strong curiosity, I would like to explore the unknown frontier.

This creative method drove me to hold Tonight I shall mediate on that which I am at the LONG Museum in Shanghai in 2015, which brought together my representative works from the previous decade. Since then, I have continued to question myself, what other directions of exploration have I not yet touched?

I have been asked many times for why I have become inseparable from computer technology in my works since very early on. I initiated very early a creative cooperation with teachers and students from the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Tsinghua University. Perhaps it was because I felt that many changes quietly took place in the epoch, and I could not come to a halt in the fields I was familiar with.

Since Tonight I shall mediate on that which I am was held in Shanghai, I began to have more extensive contact with friends from diversified technical fields, such as biology, geology, brain science, etc.. And I have gradually learned and comprehended more through my exchanges with researchers in other fields, which contributed to new ideas in my mind, and they are further incorporated into my creations.

王郁洋导览现场1.jpgWang Yuyang introduced Symbiosis - Out  (2024) at the opening.

This solo exhibition Chaosmosis also includes the continuation of previous creative clues. For example, curator Zhang Ga hopes to present my latest creation of “Symbiosis” series once featured at the LONG Museum in 2015 at the entrance of the exhibition hall and he trusts it can provide a contextual response. Except for the “Symbiosis” series, all the other works included in the exhibition are new. A strong sense of collision between my previous creations and the clues of my new works might be found it the exhibition.

Q: Is your curiosity about different disciplines more about self-innovation within artistic creations, as you said, or is it also related to your reaction to the real world and changes in your life experience?

Wang Yuyang: I feel my curiosity has not changed much. It’s just because that my curiosity, exposure and application of computer technology in the past were based on my knowledge of computers. But when I came into contact with other subjects such as biology and geology, I would inevitably feel confused at first.

For example, when I created “Forgotten Memories”, a work related to ancient glaciers, I have asked many scientists who studied glaciers. Related studies have shown that traces of human beings can be found everywhere in ice cores from ancient times. So much knowledge that refreshes my inherent cognition continues to emerge in the process that I have conducted an interdisciplinary exploration, opening up the limitations of imagination for me and providing a new perspective for reconstructing my cognition of the world.

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Forgotten Memories  2024  

Red cooper, Micro-computer, Micro-motor and Oxygen  H 180 x L 420 x W 400 cm

It also includes changes brought about by my life experience. In Tonight I shall mediate on that which I am (2015), I showed my persistence in creation and my attitude of sparing no effort to implement my creative ideas, which has perplexed me for many years. In recent years, my previous attitude of being too dominant has changed. This is related to my thinking on the subjectivity of creators in recent years. I began to realize that the transformation within the natural states of materials or things also contains some expression. Just like in “Biological Klein Blue”, I cease to require a “perfect” presentation and pursue a block of blue that will never change. Instead, I combine the work with the microorganisms in the exhibition hall, and incorporate the changes inspired and integrated into the creation.

作品【生物克莱因蓝】微生物2 .jpgBiological Klein Blue  2022  

Microorganisms H 5 x L 699 x W 527 cm

Later, I began to introduce more natural objects into my works, perhaps they are related to the changes in my personal life experience. During the pandemic period, I often ran near the Wenyu River, which was also the period that I had the closest contact with nature. For several years, I experienced the slow changes in the four seasons near the river until I felt myself integrated with this familiar natural space. When creating “Forgotten Memories”, I was at an altitude of 5,600 meters in Tibet, wearing an oxygen bottle, looking for oxygen from the past time and space hidden in glaciers tens of thousands of years ago. In the early morning at minus 40°C, I saw the huge black glacier and I was conquered by the sheer size and divinity of nature. These creative powers triggered by the natural world are definitely different from my previous thinking at my studio.

Q: More life experiences, especially natural vision, are broadening the frontier of your creation. Does this mean that your attitude towards technology has also changed?

Wang Yuyang: My current technical concepts still have continuity with my previous works. While preparing for Tonight I shall mediate on that which I am, I have begun to explore the relationship between humans and artificial objects. Since 2006, I have created “breathing” objects series and I have also been involved in the relationship between the creative subject and the medium as the object for a long time.

Regarding these new works for this exhibition, I try to put the creator and people as subjects in an almost non-existent position, and follow a natural state as much as possible to produce works. My exploration of multiple subjectivity with the prospect of “Chaosmosis” contains more direct revelations, and with the elimination of the boundary between subjects and objects in them, personally speaking, it also allows me to change from the past cybernetic version with the creative thinking of domination and control, to further integrate the discussion of the post-human context with a non-dual center.

作品【游荡】装置1 .jpgMeandering  2019 – 2024  Steel, LED lamp tube, Micro-computer and Micro-motor  H 700 x L 1000 x W 1000 cm

But I don’t deliberately explain it very clearly from a post-human perspective. These new works naturally occur through my body and practice, and there is a natural relationship between them. There is no central control, and it can be even found that many works will naturally die out.

For example, in “Forgotten Memories”, the oxygen in the glacier was sucked up by the audience on the first day. I did not want to control the continued regeneration of oxygen, but retained the existence of the oxygen collection device as the body; in “Release”, I have conducted a seemingly romantic and nonsensical behavior of releasing a robot dog in a depopulated zone is like banishing a lunar rover to perform the shooting mission alone on the moon. The act itself has announced the completion of the work. Therefore, in the absence of visual presentation, I make the robot dog release evolve into a narrative method that can be conveyed to the audience on the spot. What matters is not truth or falsehood, but the robot dog entering the depopulated zone itself. After it is exhibited two or three times, I will also delete all records and stories in the work, allowing the robot dog to evolve into a memory, or even disappear completely, so that the dog can, to a certain extent, achieve dual freedom in the spiritual space and the material space.

Q: This challenge to the boundaries of counter-visualization pushes the fusion of subject-object relations to a certain limit, and may it lead to a crisis in the work itself? What do you think of the anti-representation and de-visualization tendencies in your work? And, what boundaries are you trying to break through in this solo exhibition?

Wang Yuyang: I think there is still no way to completely reject visualization, just like Duchamp choosing a urinal. When confronted with countless choices, why did he choose this? His vision still bears the indelible traces of the artistic training that he has received. And my thinking will eventually fall on specific things. Even if I try to forget, the imprint of long-term training in the academies still exists in my cells, nerves and subconsciousness.

I have always not wanted my works to be affected by aesthetic training. I would rather have a work naturally produced and it emerges like some kind of system. However, this is different from AI generation with strong purpose-oriented and result-intensive intentions. Approximately, a computer-generated system that constantly makes random choices from meaningless parameters. On the other hand, I don’t want to artificially interfere and control the parameter generation process, such as collecting weather parameters, pollution parameters, and so on. I prefer to look for meaningless parameters, just like the world itself, there may be no meaning behind the world.

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A Suspicion Caused by Entangled Plant 2013–24 

Brass, Red copper, Stainless steel, Iron, Wood and Plants  H 490 x L 450 x W 400 cm

For example, in “A Suspicion Caused by Entangled Plant”, the sculpture generated by 3DMAX software, with the parameters from a binary code converted from a text description of monkeys and children living together; brass, copper, stainless steel, iron, wood and plants co-exist in the work, presenting the hybridity of the materials. Mixing copper, iron, stainless steel, wood and plastic is obviously not a choice that humans would make, since the solder joints of stainless steel and copper are completely different, and the welding process can easily cause deformation of different materials. But this passive acceptance also allowed me to become a producer who constantly considers feasibility during the production process. I changed from a creator to a bystander, from a subject showing things to gaining different experiences from the creative process. The acceptance process with perception is like gaining an audience position. You can even get more enlightenment by speculating and considering the computer-generated process, results and implementation methods.

Q: Through “Chaosmosis”, how do you integrate your thinking about Eastern philosophy into artistic experiments in the context of post-humanism in your creations?

Wang Yuyang: From a personal point of view, now I really start to feel content and let nature take its course. The previously mentioned “A Suspicion Caused by Entangled Plant” was originated from “A Suspicion” created in 2012. The text converted into binary encoding comes from human science experiments that I particularly loved to watch for a period of time. One of the crazy experiments was that a scientist let his newborn son live with monkeys. Are the animals imitating humans as advanced animals, or is it the other way around, that humans are beginning to imitate animals? The final experimental result ran counter to the scientist’s original assumption that human being can affect the monkeys, and the experiment came to an abrupt end.

After “A Suspicion” was exhibited in 2013, because of its huge size, I transported it to a sculpture factory for storage. The factory continued to move out, and it was moved to many places, and its location became increasingly peripheral. As time went by, I gradually forgot about this work.

In 2021, I began to spend long periods of time in the sculpture factory completing new works. During my break, I walked around the factory, and suddenly I bumped into my old work from 8 years ago in a rice field. I found that it was already covered with plants, and it was integrated with morning glory, grass, and spider webs  into one, and the parts of the sculpture seem to have been originally designed for the climbing of plants. Suddenly I gained a state of life from this work, just like that crazy experiment, between human wisdom and nature, the power strength by the latter made me suddenly feel that this is the work I want to make in the future.

Taking the opportunity of this exhibition, I have moved “A Suspicion Entangled by Plants” out of the soil. Because it was winter, all plants withered, and there was a thick layer of dust on the sculpture. It seemed to suddenly become a very desolate state again, I also preserved the changes that occurred to the work once again, implying its relationship with nature. For me, rather than explicitly expressing my knowledge and understanding of Eastern philosophy, I hope to naturally reveal the Eastern perspective that exists in my blood and neurons. Triggered by specific experiences, human beings may reveal the inner perception of the body and the comprehension of the world.

I grew up in the Eastern environment, and I have received artistic training during my undergraduate, postgraduate and independent creative stages, which I try to forget. For example, I studied stage art, which trained me to grasp space, create large-scale works, and imagine spatial narratives based on texts. Even though I have always excluded a sense of drama in my works, the presence of narrative can still be perceived in my works. Maybe this indicates that the past training still has an effect inside my body. My cells and nerves still carry the previous information, conveying information even if I hope to forget it. Understanding this, I feel relieved.

作品【我的问题】装置 .jpgQuestions for Us 2024 

LED screen and computer H 10 cm, W 16 cm, L 480 cm H 10 cm, W 16 cm, L 400 cm H 10 cm, W 16 cm, L 320 cm H 10 cm, W 16 cm, L 240 cm H 10 cm, W 16 cm, L 160 cm H 10 cm W 16 cm L 80 cm

Q: Specifically, does this attitude lead you to emphasize the contingency in your work?

Wang Yuyang: The contingency in my works is not consistent with the Happenings in art history. The latter emphasizes the happening itself, just like the purpose of artificial intelligence, while I am more about capturing sudden revelations in the creative process, not to find the contingency itself. This is especially true in recent years, when I try to start from a decentralized, hybrid and subject-less creative perspective, the content of the work itself is also the form of the work.

Q: If there were clear creative themes and expressions, the audience seems to be able to find their own position in a smoother way. Do you think people can find an ideal spectator position in your works that have no subjects and are mixtures of themes and materials? In other words, what do you want the expressions in the exhibition to inspire?

Wang Yuyang: All artists hope to receive corresponding feedback for their thinking, but at the same time, there is a contradiction between my expression and the need for feedback. I don’t want to get particularly clear feedback, because once it is clear, my work will be defined or even simplified, which conflicts with the hybrid state and the expression of “Chaosmosis” that I hope to present in this exhibition.

No one paid attention to my creations before 2012, and there was no clear response. After 2012, comprehension of my works from others also carried some clear judgments and definitions. After receiving the joy of feedback, I felt sad that they were clearly defined.

I have a similar feeling about this exhibition. I just want to restore the thinking in my mind as intact as possible. Of course, I can use logical thinking to organize information and convey knowledge to the audience, just like what I want to convey in teaching. But in recent years, I have deliberately not organized my expressions too clearly. Of course, I can completely rely on logic to reorganize it, but I prefer to keep them in their original mixed state in my mind.

艺术家与作品【崩塌】 .jpgWang Yuyang and Collapse (2024)

This mixture, in “Chaosmosis”, does not mean mixing all expressions to form a so-called chaotic state, but I want to achieve the expressive significance itself in the synchronization of the form and content of my works. Before the exhibition was unveiled, I was actually more worried that the “Chaosmosis” I wanted would become too clear and orderly in the exhibition presentation.

The less you understand, the more you can stimulate your thinking. The more you think, the happier you are. It is the joy of enjoying the process of brain movement. I know that many people don’t like this process and they want to get an immediate judgment and a clear expression, but this is exactly what my works and presentation are against.

Interviewed and edited (CN) by Mengxi, edited (EN) by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

About the Exhibition


Chaosmosis: A WANG Yuyang Exhibition

Dates: March 23 – May 5, 2024

Venue: Shenzhen Art Museum

Courtesy of Shenzhen Art Museum.