Ye Funa

Cicicolia Ye

Ye Funa Cicicolia Ye

source: kleinsungallery
Reflecting upon the theme of “self-creating,” Ye Funa presents the “Goddess” series in which she masquerades as thirteen female figures who were prominent or controversial in history, fashion, literature, and art. In the artist’s three-channel video, Legend of the Wellknowns (2015), one of the characters she personifies is Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The mysteriously smiled sitter reveals herself as in fact a “selfie goddess” through Ye’s reenacting, as she pouts her lips and gives a victory gesture. Adhering to her parodic manner in another video Mona Lisa (2015), Ye Funa replaces the exquisite composition of Mona Lisa and the landscape with a blinking woman sitting in front of a traditional Chinese landscape painting. Infused with the absurd, bantering, and vulgar, Ye’s “Goddess” series examines the construction of identity and the artifice of image, it also elaborates on the recurring theme of the role of female, the idea of beauty, and the female sensibility in Ye’s recent works.
Liang Ban explores the theme of self-creating in a different realm. Often constructing a fictional narrative, Liang interweaves the real and the invented seamlessly through digital devices such as smartphones. Two videos–Short Trip to the Moon (2015) and Holy Friday (2016) –shown in the exhibition illustrate how the artist recounts real-life moments swiftly and humorously. In Short Trip to the Moon, a man played by the artist is stricken by lightning at the moment in which he is taking a picture with his selfie stick. The electrical power immediately runs through the man’s body, radiating his skeleton in an X-ray effect. Liang Ban’s works reveal his interest in alternating between reality and fantasy through his use of technical wizardry.
Ye Funa was born in Kunming in 1986. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Experimental Art from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China in 2008 and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Central Saint Martins College of Art, London, UK. Her recent solo exhibitions include, Curated Nail Residency, MoCA Pavilion, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China (2015); People’s Congress via their Nails-Exhibitionist’s Curated Nails, Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Arts, China; and Zha Golden Flowers–News from Nowhere, V Art Center, Shanghai, China (2014).
Her group shows include Folklore of the Cyber World-CAC@the Chinese Pavilion, Periphery Event of la Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2015); The Civil Power, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, China (2015); Tomorrow’s Party, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2014); Contemporary Photography in China 2009 – 2014, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2015); Busan Biennale, Kiswire Sooyoung Factory, South Korea (2014); Ten Year in One Inspection, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2014); Poker Face: Wu Junyong / Ye Funa, Ray Art Center, Shanghai, China (2014); Contact: Through the Body, University of Toronto Art Centre, Canada (2014); The First ‘CAFAM – Future’ Exhibition, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2012); Asian Art Triennial Manchester, Piccadilly Place, U.K. (2011); Future Pass–Collateral Event of the 54th Venice Biennale, Fondazione Claudio Buziol, Italy (2011). Ye Funa was selected for the residency program Kunst Gemeinsam Gestalten !, Gesellschaft für Deutsch-Chinesischen Kulturellen Austausch e.V., Berlin, Germany (2016), she also received 2nd Hua Yu Youth Award: The Judges’ Choice Award (2014), and Recommend Young Artist of Today Art Museum (2015).
Born in Guangxi, China in 1985, Liang Ban graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Guangxi Art Institute, Nanning, China in 2010. He currently lives and works in Beijing. Liang’s recent solo exhibitions include, Landscape Browser, de Sarthe Gallery, Beijing, China (2016); and Slightly Confused, Taikang Space, Beijing, China (2016). His group shows include, The Image Expression in the Art Practice of the New Generation, Xi’an Museum, China (2016); GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL, Goethe Institut, Beijing, China(2016); Turning Point: Contemporary Art in China Since 2000, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); In the Dimensionality, Between Art Lab, Shanghai, China (2016); Figure-Image-Drawing and Subject, Tsinghua University Art Museum, Beijing, China (2015); Olhares Interiores, Macao Museum of Art, China (2015); Polyphony II – Ecological Survey of Chinese Art – Beijing, Art Museum of Nanjing University of Arts, China (2014); A Room Not One’s Own, Space Station, Beijing, China (2014); Self Identity Out of the Land of Experience, Hong Kong Contemporary Art Gallery, Beijing, China (2014); Art Sanya, HIHEY Art Center, China (2013); The Speech: The Free Speech from the Artists, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China (2012); and FINAF International Artist Residency Program, Busan Art Museum, South Korea (2012). Liang Ban received Jimei x Arles Discovery Award (2016), and Art Sanya Hua Yu Youth Discovery Award (2016).
source: thecreatorsprojectvice
Our universe is full of a multitude of smaller, but no less significant, universes: realities created by the human mind. This concept lies at the heart of Self-Created Universe, a two-person exhibition by Chinese new media artists Ye Funa and Liang Ban. Now on at Klein Sun Gallery in New York City, the show features a number of multimedia works that dig into the media-saturated world that actively encourages self-created universes through technology and social media.

For the show, Ye presents Goddess, a series of videos in which she masquerades as 13 prominent or controversial female figures from history. In Legend of the Wellknowns, Funa assumes the avatar of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, reimagining her as a “selfie goddess.” Liang, on the other hand, uses digital devices like smartphones to weave together a fictional narrative of things both invented and real. In the video piece Short Trip to the Moon, Liang plays a man struck dead by lightning while taking a photograph with a selfie stick.

Ye says that what she does with Goddess is what she has been doing all along as an artist—understanding characters by impersonating them. In early works she impersonated all of her family members, realizing that it is better to put herself in someone else’s shoes rather than simply documenting them. “To be someone, I believe, is to undergo an inward experience, which is completely different than outward investigations,” says Ye. “To experience and learn is really one of my own ways of accessing the world. All these 13 females have something in themselves which I appreciate greatly, and it is through impersonation that I got closer to them.”

For Goddess, Ye’s point of departure for each portrait was usually a classical work of art. She rebuilds the characters through posing and parody. In addition to individual portraits that conjure works like the Mona Lisa, Man Ray’s photographs, and Ophelia (inspired by Sir John Everett Millais’ famous painting), she presents a three-channel video installation titled After Dinner Party, where she impersonates 13 female characters who showed up in her previous work The Supper of Goddess. The character illustrations, according to Ye, may run contrary to popular stereotypes.

A good example of this is Ye’s parody of the buxom Hungarian-Italia (and former Jeff Koons spouse and muse), Cicciolina. Her Cicciolina stands in the center and behaves, as Funa explains, “outstandingly.” She sees the porn star and politician as a sex advocate delivering all sentient beings from torment. To her left is Mary, inspired by Cindy Sherman’s portrait—a stand-in for maternity and selflessness. To Cicciolina’s right is Frida Kahlo, who Ye gives an androgynous face. An amazing artistic talent, Ye was also interested in Kahlo’s torment of knowing she could never mother a child.

“All three of them represent three different types of women whose roles, given a specific moment, are transferrable,” she says. “Just think how fascinating it would be to imagine—based on history—a series of dialogues that take place among these goddesses.”

In Liang’s work, the self-created universe is again all about the real and invented or fabricated. For him, the real world represents some sort of goodness in a broad sense, but with a touch of sorrow. He sees fabrications as emotional, comparing it to the hyperbole in 8th century Chinese romantic poet Li Bai’s work.

“Through those fabrications you go beyond your existing knowledge, and reconceptualize the process in which everything around you—with a chaotic logic—experiences construction and destruction,” Liang explains. “So what is ‘real’ is nothing but how firmly you hold on to certain beliefs, and the ‘fabricated’ will be your fantasy about what is left of those beliefs. If love is real, hate will be fabricated.”

Though Liang’s concept of the self-created universe may sound quite serious, there is a healthy dose of humor and absurdism in his works. In fact, a random incident inspired his work Holy Friday.

As he recalls, one day he was almost hit by bird droppings that shared a great resemblance to the face of an old man. On the very same day he broke his smartphone screen. The broken screen also looked exactly like an old man with a bushy beard.

“I didn’t think that was a coincidence,” he says. “Instead, I believe that was my secret rendezvous with God. So, as shown in the video, I break a new screen because I want to see God again.”

Liang’s work, Short Trip to the Moon, is included in the show as a criticism of how humans define beauty. When Ban looks at internet celebrities and “homebodies” taking selfies that all have a similar aesthetic, what he sees are “living corpses.” So, the video features him holding a selfie stick and becoming one of these living corpses.

Liang sees the world as both innocent and complicated, and that it will treat humans with the very attitude with which they treat it. In this game, he sees everyone as forming their own worldviews—their own self-created universes.

“The self-created universe to me is about criticizing and imagining things based on all of the existing knowledge we have about the world,” says Liang. “[Then] expressing such criticisms and imaginations with an absolute freedom.”

“I think everyone ought to have his or her own self-created universe,” Ye adds. “And what your universe is like largely boils down to how you make it out on your own.”