姚清妹 2015.01.23 • 姚清妹谈“姚教授”
Yao Qingmei, Exploring the Three-Footed Tripod and its Tripod Patterns: Several Hypotheses on the Origin and Development of the "Sickle" Symbol, 2014, installation, dimensions variable.
Magician Space's first exhibition in 2015, Professor Yao, is the first solo exhibition in China by French-based artist Yao Qingmei. Yao's performance works use the language of signs and symbols to explore the poetics of personal experience within social texts. In this interview, the artist discusses the origins of her work and the academic theories behind the dramatic figure of Professor Yao. The exhibition runs through March 15th.
I studied marketing in college, which is completely unrelated to art, but marketing was not my choice, and the college experience taught me what I hated: the education system in college, the marketing program, and especially the consumerist concepts expressed in the program - creating everything for you to consume. However, this major helped me a lot in my future creative work, and I learned a lot about consumer psychology from it. Professor Yao is a semi-fictional character, half of which is me and half of which could be any professor. The question is not who the professor is, but how Prof. Yao, as a semi-fictional character, interprets and presents the research content and results. "Professor Yao's research is partly fabricated, but most of the content is real, including the documentary material and the theories elaborated in it; the video is an independent work created deliberately to serve the whole installation. The "talks" first took place in Germany in January 2014, then once a week in April at Le Salon de Montrouge, and later at the Fondation d'Entreprise Ricard, for a total of about ten times, with much the same content. Of course, the use of the "conférence" format does not necessarily have to be the same as a talk. Prof. Yao's lecture lasted about 60 minutes, and at the beginning it was very serious, and everyone took it seriously, thinking it was a real lecture; but after 40 to 50 minutes there were performances of singing, poetry reading, and so on. A Red Rag (Un Morceau de Tissu Rouge, 2014) was made during my residency in Corsica in 2014. Corsica has a specificity of its own in that it actually tried to become independent early on as a French island. I wanted to make a very brief intervention with this flag at that time - like my previous works, I was talking about a state of "micro-intervention". In fact, when I carried this flag, which seems to never fall, through the very beautiful landscapes of Corsica, no one would have imagined the existence of this video. Occasionally you will see some absurd, designed scenes, while others are real and improvised performancce. The symbolic language is very important to me, including the poses and how the individual's body carries their weight. There is a connotation of loss (épuisement) in the act, and even though the red cloth isn't heavy, and lifting it isn't a strenuous exercise, there is still the question of the continuity of this bearing. Also, this kind of symbolism is very vulgar, and when you see these symbols persistently appearing, it becomes important to explore the individual's experience within the social text. That's the reason for doing this performance in the outside world, rather than raising a flag at home by myself, because this symbolic location becomes important to me. My intention in making the act is to create conflict with some specific circumstance that will inspire (activate) the location, and some of the acts are highly naïve and idealistic in their stubbornness. But that's only part of it, I still look at my creations with a sense of distance, I'm not "her".
Third Verse of the Internationale, Sung Solo in Monaco (2012) was a very important work for me in 2012. Before that I had made another video of the last verse of the Internationale, which was also a micro-intervention, created in various locations, and presented only as a video, with no impact on anyone else. But when I was in Monaco, I wanted to make the intervention more intense, and the work ended with a wonderful dialog with a policeman: "This is art", "This is politics", "This is the politics of art! This is art," "This is politics," "This is the politics of art," and so on. I don't want to spit out a certain message directly, but to stimulate a kind of thinking and dialog. In fact, there are often bizarre things happening in my work, and this kind of humor is important to me, funny and a little bit poetic, humorous and a little bit pathetic.