The Virus COVID-19 is changing our lifestyle, our habits and our thinking. Last year I discovered the work of Wu Yuhang and his powerful impact both in its visual presence and its deep meaning. In these hard times, we found an echo in the artwork of this Chinese photo student soon to graduate. This discovery made us offering rapidly a publication proposal to this experimental photographer.
Sensuality, tension, hope and other ingredients.
“Sensuality, tension, hope, … ” borrows its name from a sentence of Mark Rothko, during a conference in 1958, where he described the ingredients of a work of art as a recipe. The parts of each ingredients are not followed here, and some are more important than other in Yuhang’s work. So we made it ours, but winked at the creator of the recipe.
The chemicals stunned by random lights, pressed, tensed and stressed in a physical attack or an unintentional way react and fix their position unpredictably, sometime wayward, sometime docile, like drips from Jackson Pollock, never intentionally positioned but moved with a total freedom, creating a story in the making process.
Through the colorful abstractions displayed, the viewer can first appreciate as much the aesthetic as the freedom of work. The pleasing aesthetic maybe the biggest lier in the work of Wuhang Yu as the visual satisfaction could influence the expression of truth, satisfying the subconscient as much as the methodic analysis and the husking of the visual content.
The audience can go deeper, first by letting go its imagination and find imaginary landscapes, animals, weird characters and, why not, think about the material as watercolor, paint or video excerpts. A long contemplation could also drive the observer into an emotional journey, where colors and forms struggle for exhorting the sixth sense or a flow of emotions where love, violence, happiness, peace and anger cohabit. The emotional storytelling of Mark Rothko echoes there with a different language but the feelings get the same motifs and the significant patterns as the master.
By manipulating instant film, Wu Yuhang also builds a link between several generations of photography history. Indeed, the instant process film he uses, named “integral process” has as major component the silver bromide, mixed with various color dye in several filter layers (then fixed with a reagent). The silver bromide was the democratizer of the modern photography and has covered the paper prints of numerous decades of photographer, making the history of photography for a generation, before the digital era.
This modern approach of the photographic medium is a milestone in the experimental photography, not using the same old tricks of post-editing but pioneering in the exploration of the direct link between the process used and the material results.
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