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Vidéo HD monocanal, couleur, son
20 min 05 sec

In this video work, Yao Qingmei draws inspiration from the eponymous character in Ivan Goncharov’s novel to create the image of Oblomov, a man who has renounced all involvement in worldly affairs and social activities. In Yao Qingmei’s work, Oblomov, played by a woman, lies on his bed, his head wrapped in an extravagant chandelier, wearing a robe weighing ten kilograms, adorned with countless porcelain spikes. As he sleeps, fuzzy whispers are occasionally heard, recounting the 1970s animal behavior experiment entitled «Universe 25: Rat Utopia». This experiment, conducted by ethologist John Calhoun, highlighted a category of male rats called «the beautiful mice» who, under abundant material and environmental conditions, gradually lost all social bonds, even refusing to reproduce until the entire rat colony died. Oblomov gets up, walks around a bit, then goes back to bed. The noises made by the spikes of his robe clinking together as he moves highlight the tension between his body and the gown that constrains him.

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