Artist: GE Yajing
Contemporary political society is built on the secret and “sacred” foundation of the field of exception.In this privileged space outside the secular world, sovereign power rules everything but is not restricted by the rules it makes.
The dual form of power is demonstrated in this pandemic/post-pandemic time. When the oppressive and negative nature of power showed weakness to the people, its productive and affirmative nature “inspired” the people. In the artist’s paintings, this duality is metaphorised in the “fists”. “I heard that the difference between thumbs outward or inward is like a dog gnawing at you or wagging its tail.” Through this unique artistic language, she feels the powerlessness when people face the fragility of life in the current uneasy environment.
The sense of crisis and anxiety brought about by the sudden pandemic is inevitable. For the sovereign power, contemporary people, are potential and structural “homines sacri”. Their sacredness expresses “life’s surrender to a power that controls death.” Therefore, in those works, a primitive and chronic tingling sensation is hidden in those deconstructed fists, feet, teeth, flesh, and other elements. Especially in First View and 2020, the sensory memory of the pandemic is presented in a very oppressive and enveloping way through the depiction of the distorted body and the dissected flesh. Bones (particularly fists) and flesh are constantly reappearing and building upon in each artwork, and human beings are broken down as an organism. This is also the contemporary visual interpretation of what Giorgio Agamben calls “naked life”.
Facing power/fists (these two words are homophonic in Chinese), the artist’s revolt is no longer “private”, but enters the public eye through the dissemination of aesthetics. Ge Yajing’s creations have long maintained a natural and genuine atmosphere. Under the changing circumstance, the artist chooses to stay true.
“2020 is a gray and dark year. An absurd horror film is continuing staging in reality and people have been forced to retrench. The whole world presses the pause button at different times to defend lives. Some people see the fists as protests and resistances…and I just want to freeze time at work and sculpt the traces of life.”