A massive snake in real life? Absolutely frightening. A massive snake skeleton, aluminum and stainless steel structure on the other hand? Absolutely exciting and awe-inspiring. Such is the Chinese-French artist Huang Yong Ping’s amazing aluminum snake sculpture, an installation he dubbed, Ressort. Designed and installed in 2012 for the Queensland Art Gallery in Australia, this magnificent structure features a snake skeleton made of silver vertebrae, undulating in a sinuous manner from the ceiling to the floor. The beautifully extending sculpture spans 53 meters across the Watermall and was a great centerpiece for the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art #7.
About Huang Yong Ping
Huang Yong Ping was born in 1954 in Xiamen, China and is a contemporary artist who was part of the first students to be admitted to art academies after the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution1. Here, the artist developed a penchant for French postmodern theory, and along with the influence of Taoist and Zen Buddhist, he cofounded Xiamen Dada2, a well-known avant-garde group that mainly deals with construction materials in galleries as opposed to artworks. He lived in France where he shone the limelight on his art and as a result, while his artwork features Chinese mythological symbols such as the snake, it also sprinkles symbols and mythologies from the West; an approach that is evident in Ressort.
The meaning of ‘Ressort’
‘Ressort’, which is French for ‘spring’ is an apt name for this art piece as it also means energy. Huang’s use of the snake is evident in most of his work as the snake represents a central symbol of Chinese mythology3, and this specific pose that the skeleton took on as if uncoiling from the ceiling to the ground represents controlled energy and resilience. The snake in ancient Chinese myths is also a representation of knowledge and wisdom. In other Western cultures, it may be taken to represent fear, deception, desire and creation, even as evidenced in the Bible story of the Garden of Eden.
Ian Strange – Film still from Suburban
Suburban by Ian Strange
Suburban is a complex film and photography installation that was created by New York-based Australian artist Ian Strange. Suburban was created by Strange as a result of a collaboration with a film crew and volunteers from different parts of America including Alabama, Detroit, New Hampshire, Ohio and New York. Over the course of three months Strange and the film crew photographed and filmed 8 different sites that featured singular suburban homes from different states.
Ana Teresa Fernández – Erasing the Border – Borrando la Frontera, 2012, Playas de Tijuana, Mexico
Ana Teresa Fernández, an artist born in Tampico, Mexico who studied in San Francisco, California and Lausanne, Switzerland, is known for her ability to make a powerful statement. Her statement is especially strong when it comes to the politics of space and place.
Her piece, “Erasing the Border” is one of her most commanding works in which alongside a number of other artist, residents, students and activists, she led an attack against the Mexico-US border wall, with the goal of “erasing” sections of the border. Sections of the fence were painted by Fernández to match the vast sky so that when viewed from afar there is the illusion of gaps in the fence. This appearance of a broken link, a useless border, is an effective statement on the arbitrary concept of borders separating place from place.
Erin M. Riley – Self Portrait 2, 2015, Hand woven tapestry, hand dyed wool on a cotton warp, 182.9 x 121.9 cm
Is there a better reflection of a culture than the creatives living in it? From painters to photographers to poets, the voice of our moment is often told most aptly and timelessly through what they create. The same goes for Erin M. Riley. She has taken a look at both her own and the collective conscious of the individuals of today and laid what she sees for all to witness.
Jeremy Deller – Sacrilege, in West Kowloon Cultural District Promenade, Hong Kong
Sacrilege is a life-sized, inflatable replica of Stonehenge, the British heritage and pagan site and popular tourist attraction. It is a bouncy castle, an interactive inflatable pillow that viewers may walk and jump on. It is an energetic, humorous work that Jeremy Deller describes as a way to get reacquainted with ancient Britain with your shoes off. It is a touring project visiting 33 sites across the UK and launched at the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.