Review in ArtAsiaPacific
BY MATT HANSON
On the evening of June 19, a small crowd squeezed onto the wooden benches that had been set up in the cool concrete bunker of Istanbul’s Bilsart. We had gathered to watch Psychic Bibliophiles (2017), a performance by Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul of the Istanbul Queer Art Collective, presented by Collective Çukurcuma as part of the show “Flow Out.”
Comprising the same gestures, delivered with the spirit of a friends-and-family gathering, or an after-hours student-teacher meeting, the inaugural rendition of Psychic Bibliophiles in Istanbul was special, as many in attendance were former students or proteges of Erdem and Ergul. The pair were unable to appear in person, but by presenting the work virtually, via a livestreamed projection, they were in pitch-perfect dialogue with the complementary project included in “Flow Out,” a video by Beijing-based artist Ye Funa, titled Flying Dance (2017).
Ye’s 30-minute video collage is from her Self-fiction series (2017– ), in which she probes the constructs of identities by roleplaying various characters. During a remote talk on May 29, also hosted at Bilsart, Ye spoke about her inspiration behind the group of works. “I reacted to the stories that I see on TV. This work is about women’s stories. Those women are controversial in China. They all have a dramatic life and tragic stories,” she said. “I’m always using myself as a character to research the life of real characters.”
YE FUNA, Flying Dance, 2017, still from video: 32 min 41 sec. Courtesy the artist.
For Flying Dance in particular, Ye plays a penniless Chinese immigrant student in Germany, whose name is Dong Mei. She presents herself as Fly to a German man called Old Jerk, who she meets at McDonalds. Old Jerk falls in love with Dong, who subsequently blackmails him with her false pregnancy. Interwoven with this storyline are scenes of Dong hanging out with a group of men as her wispy-bearded alter-ego known as Josh. Flying Dance was adapted from one of the first examples of online, Chinese-language fiction, The First Intimate Contact (1999), a love story by Taiwanese writer Tsai Jhi-heng. Ye interwove the aesthetics of early internet chatrooms and dating sites with recordings of Sims games and her original videography, underscoring the virtual, projected facets of what constitutes identity.
指甲计划从一开始，其中一项重要的任务就是从各种方向来探勘“指甲”的尺度。叶甫纳认为指甲是身体上最小的，最不稳定的 (随着生长周期而脱落再生) 可展示部分。而它却有是每个人类，甚至很多动物都具有的，是民主化和社会化可能性非常大的一块展示空间。这种空间符合她将艺术社会化和日常化的理念。所以她才发起了指甲计划，号召每个人来做他们自己指甲的策展人。艺术家，设计师和社会主义运动家威廉.莫里斯一直是叶甫纳隐秘的精神导师。当他着力于“艺术与工艺美术”运动，也是从最日常的角度来主张一种新社会生活。莫里斯的公司设计家具和纺织品，他自己最钟爱植物图样。精美的花花草草看似非常主妇和日常，但莫里斯的态度就是从厨房和饭厅开始，用美学改造人的生活。叶甫纳作为一个当代艺术家当然了解，这件事情是个乌托邦的梦想。乌托邦的意义从来不在于为人提供长治久安，而是一次次激起人们重构一个“乌有之乡”的欲望。从日常中提炼乌托邦，这就是指甲计划的悖论，也是创造力从中产生的水力循环…
Full Text Download：美甲店之考古坑前身.pdf
Nailhenge: About Ye Funa’s Solo Exhibition
Since 2014, Ye Funa began to convene “Curated Nail” in the name of “exhibitionist”. In the past two years, she collected more than 150 artists’ deliveries and engaged in the creation. With the temporary and mutative nail as the carrier of art program and in the manner of the bodily natural growth to transform the everyday life, she attempted to criticize the traditional museum exhibition. Among the past two years, various art institutions of various city invited “Nail Plan”. As a result, 24 on-site activities was completed. The exhibition “Nailhenge: Ye funa’s solo Exhibition” at Space Station this time, which assembled a set of installations, paintings and literatures, is a large-scale summary of “Curated Nail”.
Nail polishing, or painting, is a self-beautification and decoration of the body; as a part of daily life of female, it is a mark of the artificial reforming of the natural extremities of the body. As the ancient practice of body aesthetics, then, how Ye convert it into a modern political shape of the right to life?
Nail decoration is one of the oldest customs of China. The earliest gold and silver nail-sheath that unearthed in the ruins of Zhou Dynasty is a symbol of wealth and power. They shown the classy lifestyle of the aristocratic women. As the old saying goes, “It was my own parents who created and endowed my body in the form of skin covered with hairs.” Having long hair and fingernail reflected the image of Confucian ideas. During the Warring States, there are kinds of incredible customs such as burial with nails, nail incineration for treatment and so on. As a part of the body’s metabolism, nails were attached to lovesick, avatars, spiritualism and other witchcraft meanings. “Compendium of Materia Medica” argued that nails are the end of soft tissue. Therefore, according the condition of nails, the doctor can diagnose disease of Qi-blood and liver-blood…
Full Text Download：Nailhenge－about Ye Funa’ s solo exhibition.pdf
Scene, make up, and a round of cards: the thing about Ye Funa and our village
He Wenchao Translator: Daniel HO
Ye Funa doesn’t actually know how to play “Feint of the Golden Flower” [a card game similar to “Three Card Brag”; the “golden flower” is a middling hand, hence the “feint”]. She doesn’t even know how many people are needed for this game. So this is the first thing to make clear to the ladies and gentlemen reading this (or the audience). The second thing you must know, ladies and gentlemen, is thatfolksinmyvillage,CimanVillage,don’tevenplay this. The game that rules the roost back in Ciman is actually “Farmers and Landlord” [“Dou Dizhu”, literally “Fight the Landlord”].
And so as a result, when Ye Funa announced the title of the exhibition, as a witness, a hanger on, a go-between, and a character in the drama, I can’t say I haven’t thought about advising her to change the name—but in the end I decided otherwise⋯. In all honest truth, “Fight the Landlord” sounds too intense and realistic—not merely for the folks in the village with that tiny “one and three-tenths of a mu” plot of land on their hands [roughly 1/6 of an acre; 0.0667 hectares, or 667 sqm]—but the entire peasant class in all of China had been “struggled” against, in full frenzy, as vestiges of “landlords” by the machinery of the state and the demons of capital. And then came news of the victory,
in hoodwinking sweet talk with both carrot and stick on hand, undertaking a highly effectively extermination of this class—beyond physically, but sometimes physically, too.
To this end, a dazzling or appetizing round of “Feint of the Golden Flower” is much less forthright or tragic, even a bit jolly and enjoyable. It could very well serve as a sacrificial offering for the spirit of this age of progress, or as a radiant “banner to summon souls”[zhaohunfan] for the“Chinese Dream” of our various dear gods and spirits—saving us the trouble of finding our ways when we awake from the dream. The above, and below, opinions about this exhibition “News from Nowhere” I hope I can express as a self- appointed“village representative”, rather than merely as a professional art critic once again piling on needless explanations about the work. When the latter part of me comes out bobbing my head all satisfied, I would ask my dear readers to forgive and forget, without exception.
A little more literarily, in this, I ought to be a “man with a blue scarf”. If Mr. Martin Gayford can write a book because he “modeled for Lucien Freud”, then my brothers from Ciman Village and I, as the “fish on the chopping block” for the artist Ye Funa (as the expression goes), we should at least have a go at coming out with some testimony…
以上，以及以下，关于“炸金花”这一个展的所有言论，我希望自己都能以“村代表”自任然后出之，而不仅仅是一个职业艺评人又一次叠床架屋的作品阐释，凡有后者出来摇头晃脑之处，还请诸君一律自动删节。文艺一点说，在这，我应该是个“蓝围巾男人”（man with a Blue scarf）。如果马丁.盖福特可以因为“为卢西安.弗洛伊德做模特”而写一本书的话，作为艺术家叶甫纳刀俎下的鱼肉，我和我的茨满村那些弟兄们，至少是应该努力凑出一些证词的…
Full Text Download：Scene, make up, and a round of cards He Wenchao.pdf
The model for “getting into the act”: “playing” the White Madame, Su Danji, Sally Yeh, Frida Kahlo…
Presumably, most girls of the same age will think of a whole series of related names. Ye Funa’s ability to “get into the act” stems, to a certain extent, from her “impoverished memories.” Such shared memories have brought together the lives of urban single daughters born around the year 1985.
The best explanation of the impression of these “impoverished memories” is as follows: in those days, we had clear memories of every spokesperson for popular culture, as there really were so few…
“入戏”的砝码：“扮演”白娘子、 苏妲己 、叶倩文、福瑞达……