Hua’s installation brings you to a world that is not restricted to a timeline, a world where time frames overlap. Meat comes in the shape of a hook- hooks of flesh. Chains that are a symbol of restraint now show fragility. Everything is metaphysical. It is an uncanny dream that contradicts the existing physical world.
Indian Marble 22 x 37cm A memory, a keepsake: a heartfelt fragment of the damaged nature constantly observing and recording.
Ceramic, Wood and Metal 24 x 140cm The notion of human labour is a kind of guidance through Hua’s installation. For this sculpture, a massive five links chain went through fire four times, and painted with more than five layers of silver. She spent more than 60 hours to complete it. This deflated industrial symbol, a familiar object from China that is undergoing an industrial mass production era, suggests both the power of urbanisation, as well as the phenomenon of the privileged few.
Earthenware , Underglaze colour 25 x 60cm Ambiguous and surreal, this meticulously created object reflects both the most ordinary everyday situation and the strangest of fiction. A brutal core disguised in pink, half-truths, not-quite-lies.
25 x 20cm Black Clay and Gold Leaf A reflection of our increasing materialistic society, the endless exploit from nature. This work confronts the continuous tension between our desires and internalised ideals.
Hua’s exploration of perception continues in her first ice sculpture titled “A Bracelet”, where she tried to reinterpret the nature of chain as a mutable liquid.
This attempt to translate the powerful symbolic industrial product into a large ice bracelet chain, transfigures visible matter by melting down 30 kilos of it during the course of a day. After making initial sketches and conducting various experiments with material such as glass and resin, she moved her work’s production to an ice sculpture workshop. There she worked together with the ice sculptor, creating four sets of one meter by one meter crystal clear ice bracelets. While visibly focusing on profound material transformation and notions of authority,
“A Bracelet” deals with the inextricable relationship between power and fear, the illusion of power and the memory of fear, but also with notions of art production and consumption. Effectively re-making an industrial product by adopting much temporary industrial means,
“A Bracelet” metaphorically represents a constraint product of industrial revolution and also its ephemeral notion of time.
Hua Wang & Hong Yane Wang 2018 HD Video 5 minutes, sound The objects in Hua’s installation continue their journey in ‘Ice Breakers’, a collaborative project with video artist Hong Yane Wang. In their video, ice, which makes up Hua’s chain, is transformed into vessels of pleasure, hedonism or meditation, as well as becoming the main ingredient of social and cultural practices. In the subsequent performance piece ‘Give Chains a Chance’, the artists will re-invent an after life in various forms for the remains of the ice chain.
by Hong Yane Wang and Hua Wang
HD video, single channel, 04’58’’
A block of ice is broken up and transformed into vessels of pleasure, hedonism or meditation as well as becoming the main ingredient of social and cultural practices that people use in a futile attempt to connect with one another.
We tell three stories in this video. In the first story, a piece of ice is broken in a violent manner to make cocktails. In certain cultures, alcohol is seen as a social lubricant to ‘break the ice’ between human beings. However, in our scene, despite the aid of alcohol, the ice between individuals never seems to break. A group of nervous and bored drinkers sit together but have nothing to say to each other. In the second story, a couple boil the broken ice to make tea. Unable to communicate or express their feelings, the couple drink the tea in silence. Their efforts to melt the ice between them have gone in vain. In the last story, we elevate the use of ice to a magical level - a piece of calligraphy is done with ice. A brush pen dipped into the clear ice leaves a black trail on the paper. In a reversal of the process of photo developing where a positive image appears, the calligraphy gradually fades away into the paper. At the end of the video, we translate what the calligrapher writes - ‘ice melts, tiles crumble - nothing remains’ - a classical Chinese phrase from almost two thousands years ago.
Every individual in this video seems uncomfortable, isolated, and distant from the people around them, regardless of their attempts to enjoy the moment and connect with each other. Only when someone is alone, such as the person who does the ephemeral calligraphy, do they seem to be content and at ease.
We also put a hidden metaphor in the video: the brexit cocktail party. In the first story, three unique drinks are poured - sangria, gin and tonic, and Bailey’s - representing three different countries. We see this as an awkward farewell party for the UK to say goodbye to Ireland and Spain.
Give Chains a Chance
by Hua Wang and Hong Yane Wang
HD video, single channel, 02’22’’ Digital photos
Ice sculpture (optional)
This performance is centered around Hua’s ice sculpture titled A Bracelet, where she reinterpreted the nature of the ice chain as a mutable liquid. The ice chain is as much as a symbol of suppression as an exquisite ornament, with implications of vanity and pleasure. In an attempt to further explore its versatile potential, we took the remains of the ice chain on a journey and gave it an after life in various forms. Battersea Park in London was chosen as the site. Battersea is not only rising as an area attracting the art world, but also an area undergoing dramatic changes. The area’s shifting and transforming identity is similar to that of the ice chain. First, we did a parody of Fang Sheng by releasing a piece of ice chain in the lake. In Chinese Buddhism, the tradition of Fang Sheng traces its origins back to at least the sixth century, when monks organised worshipers to release fish and tortoises into temple ponds. Chinese Buddhists believe that the compassionate act of releasing captive animals will cleanse one's sins and bring good karma. To us, releasing the ice chain into the lake in Battersea Park was an act of cleansing our minds, shedding any burden that we bore, renouncing our desires, and letting go. Second, we let the ice chain melt into the earth to water a tree over time. By placing the chain around the tree trunk, we are constraining as well as nurturing the tree. We found harmony within the contradiction between suppressing and caring. Lastly, we staged a battle between ice and fire by sitting the ice chain above burning candles. The more the candles threatened to heat the ice and make it melt, the more chance their flames could be put out by dripping water from the melting ice. It was a paradoxical situation. Here, the ice chain became a resilient fighter. We witnessed the process of ice defeating fire by sacrificing itself. It was solemn, heroic and poignant. We are interested in and informed by cultural and spiritual legacies, both ancient and modern. In our three acts, we referenced all elements in Wu Xing (or Five Elements), the Taoist conceptual system dating back nearly three thousands years: water, fire, wood, metal and earth. Wu Xing is used to explain the correlations between all phenomena. Ice, our main material, carries a variety of cultural, religious and political connotations. We treat the ice chain as an organic being which has the ability of endless mutilations. Its various identities and characters coexist within one body miraculously. In Give Chains A Chance, we merge sculpture, land art and performance. This work is both material and conceptual. It was created in order to disappear, but we used video and photography to document it. We crossed the boundary between physical and temporal by making art that evolves over time.
Give Chains a Chance
A Close Relative’s Memorial
2012, Mixed Media, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK
Everything I can see is real. Simultaneously, everything I can see is fake. There is a gap between reality and imagination. Somehow, I have been stuck in between, I have to keep on doubting about things that appear to me every second, and I am attempting to express this feeling through my work.
My work is developing itself through a cumulative process of making a variety of metaphorical objects. Built around the main theme, which most of come from my personal experience, and the observation of disabled and old people’s everyday lives. It is not a literal story but the way through the structure of feelings, the relationship with women, and the confrontation between imaginary and reality.
The ambiguity is important as the work is about the apparent shifting between what might be true, be false, be seen, be imagined, what is the memory, or what comes from the dream. It is this shifting and connection between the physical and the mental, that I am willing to describe.
I started from a series of photographs, where I used aging make-up on my body to look like a elderly woman, stitching and knitting in a silver room full filled with sculptures, drawings and a TV. The whole set design strived to keep the audience aware of the great bond between herself and her belongings. Each sculpture tells a story of her life, each props also can be seeing as one of her art work, as if her courage was growing during the making. Making objects can set her free.