A Youth Curious about History 历史中的问题青年

A Youth Curious about History

Guo Xiaoyan

What we called history or memory, for us individuals, seems to hold two meanings: the first is finding a way for understanding our personal identity from our “past”: the second is to make use of the “past” to help us understand better the reality to which we is confronted. If we push the former to its extremity, it might develop into a notion of destiny and lead us to make history our burden; if we do the same for the latter, then history might on the other hand become a possible tool to help us change the world.

Ye Funa’s works leads us into history. When we are confronted to changes in someone’s life, what wesee is a limit, a border: a person’s “history” seems to come back eventually to its starting point and the spiritual link between predecessors and successors is the historical one. Young artist Ye Funa begins by an introspection into the meaning of herself as a “political destiny”, starting from the observation of her family members and from their historical “overlapping layers”. She inserts the image of herself as a character among the historical photographs, turning time into fiction through the blurring of their outlines and the mixing of their contents – and “me”, “rehearsing” or “escaping” among this series of historical photographs, I am cruising without a starting point or a final destination. Then again, what is the meaning of experience or historical narrative for “me”? If our life did not precede some other people’s lives, and vice-versa, why should we try to get closer to history, why should we crave for it? Ye Funa’s intention is not to “hook up” people and history in a picture from an expanded epistemological point of view, nor does she want to be emotional or to bear witness to anything, but rather she’s trying to excite the prejudices of the viewers towards the identity she defined for herself, and to project it back onto the viewers: her replacement of the images in an historical context questions the limits of “me”, while at the same time deliberately creating a burst seam of an involuntary and silent laugh, turning it into a “machine for thinking.”





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