Amorous Acts

Pauline Yao

Beijing-based artist Fang Lu’s video installation Amorous Acts brings together acts of image-making and recording with the idiosyncratic behaviors associated with a lovesick state of mind. Four slideshows composed out of thousands of images shot in the surrounding hutongs run on television monitors scattered throughout Arrow Factory’s debris-filled rundown space. The images depict a lone female figure going about her daily activities of buying vegetables and eating yoghurt; but before long these mundane tasks turn towards the kooky and nonsensical as the items become immersed in fictional games and scenarios that yield no discernible outcome nor serve any functional purpose. Not unlike the artistic process, these apparently meaningless gestures are founded upon internal imbalances that inform an individual’s perspective on the world and impact their encounters with reality. Amorous Actstakes its cue from A Lover’s Discourse, a treatise by French theorist Roland Barthes that attempts to rationalize the irrational emotion of love and its all-consuming state of being. In his fragmented text Barthes likens of the state of being in love to that of an artist, and relies on a rhetorical device known as the “image-repertoire”—a storehouse or theatrical stock of images onto which the amorous subject inscribes him or herself. The amorous subject of Fang Lu’s installation—a young woman whose lovesick state sets her somewhat off-kilter—is herself the subject of an accumulation of images that signifies simultaneous engulfment and annihilation.

In keeping with Fang’s practice, Amorous Acts draws explicit attention to the methods and means of its own making, namely an awareness of the camera and its conflicted role as both “objective” witness and a tool capable of manipulating emotions to elicit new forms of experience. Her continued investigations into staging and re-staging mundane actions and behaviors for the camera serve here to re-examine fundamental connections between body and mind, psychic and physical, conscious and unconscious.

Fang Lu (b.1981, Guangzhou) received her MFA from the New Genres department at the San Francisco Arts Institute in 2007. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Space Station, Beijing (2010), Borges Libreria Institute of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou (2011); and recently in large group exhibitions such as the Shenzhen Sculpture Biennial (2012) and CAFAM Future Exhibition (2012). She is co-founder of Video Bureau, an independent video archive resource in Beijing and Guangzhou.

 

Exhibition at Arrow FactorySeptember 8 – October 24, 2012.

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