“Cavities” is a painting series created under the effects of the COVID-19 quarantine between 2020 and 2021, it comprises pairs of scenes devoid of human presence. The word “cavity” denotes an empty space within an object or a compartment of an animal body. Instantiating the concept, the pool is intentionally rendered with a hint of flesh tone to enhance the double meaning. The pool is a symbol of leisure and family activities, it is meant to hold bodies with buoyancy, however, a drained pool embodies a passing memory, an emotional hole in the body. The pool is a relic of wealth, its emptiness resembles a capitalist ruin, where a force majeure disposes of the rich and the poor equally.
The work draws inspiration from two sources: “robota,” the Czech origin of the word “robot” and Sisyphus, who is condemned to push a boulder up a hill for eternity in Greek mythology. “Robota” translates to forced labor, just like Sisyphus who pushes the boulder up only for it to roll back down again. The work is an absurd comic about the repetitive daily routines that we perform, but it also asks serious questions about contemporary servitude in a capitalist society. With technological advancements and a widening wealth inequality, are we moving toward a better future?
“90x200” is an installation that dramatizes the emotions of frustration, anxiety, and delirium through mechanical movements. It stages the internal state of push-and-pull with a ghostly body accompanied by repetitive machine noises, signaling a symbolic sickness of contemporary living by automation. The title “90x200” not only describes the dimensions of a single bed, but also evokes the idea of pixelation. The work plays out as a crude mechanical resolution, pointing to a possible future in which the human body disappears while machinery performs the lingering visceral and psychological residues.
Two rectangular mini fridges glow in the dark, each with a small robot inside acting on a piece of raw meat. The robots seem to be attempting to communicate by pushing the meat back together. The work provokes a mixed sense of sympathy, disgust, affection, absurdity, powerlessness, humor, and eeriness. Inspired by our primal need to connect with one another, “Meet Apart” presents animalistic desires against modular machine logic. The work is a comic metaphor to our intimate tendencies as lovers, brothers, neighbors, friends, and lonely strangers.
In the installation, one cart spills sand while the other spills chocolate wrapped in gold foil paper. Sand is noted as an abundant and low cost material/waste; chocolate is associated with the notions of luxury, passion, and colonial history. The chocolate balls symbolize the peak of capitalism; the sand represents the base of a capitalistic pyramid. The forced merger of materials demonstrates a conflict of interest; gold and dirt; have and have not; rich and poor. The title “Sweet Nothing” is a misspelling of the idiom “sweet nothings,” which connotes tender words exchanged by lovers. The work can be read as a tragic split, where one party is full of passion while the other is emotionally detached.
Appropriating the classic game of Jenga, the work consists of fifty-four blocks made of white sugar on a pedestal. The work manifests the excitement and risk of stacking blocks to an increasing height against an unstable base. The work is an analogy to the reckless pursuit of monetary gains in the greater fool theory, where the person buying the overpriced asset later on, for a higher price, is deemed the greater fool.
Taking inspiration from the frequent car accidents in Los Angeles traffic, “Sawzall” plays on the tension between the spectator and the event. In the face of an irrecoverable technological malfunction, one is forced to confront the assumed normality of a developed society. And there is also the gravity of an onlooker’s ethics: Does one simply look on? Walk away? Or call for assistance? “Sawzall” is a visceral exclamation mark of logical and mechanical breakdowns.