Project: WANG LIANG
Dimension and quantity: 50cm x 40cm 33pcs
The term "Wang Liang" comes from an ancient Chinese philosopher ZhuangZhi. It means "the shadow of the shadow".
Though this series are claimed as "photography", but cameras are not involved. Roughly, my working process is: First, put a film on the table in the darkroom. Place an object on the film. Then flash the object with a flashlight. So, the shadow of the object is recorded on the film. From this point of view, the image on the film is indeed "the shadow of the shadow". Thus I named this works as "Wang Liang".
ZhuangZhi's story says, " One day, Wang Liang asks the shadow: Why are you standing now and sitting then? Walking now and stopping then? Don't you have your own decisive ideas? The shadow answers: Because I'm not the original one. I have someone to follow. And the one I follow also follows another. So how could we know why to do so, or why not to do so?"
Through this story, ZhuangZhi raise an eternal question, the existence.
The existence is an enigma. Wang Liang has the shadow as its substance. Shadow has the body as its substance. But what is the substance of the body? What is the substance of the substance? This question had confused human for a long history. Philosophers and religionists tried hard to find out what supports our existence.
In western philosophy, the "metaphor of the sun" stands for the traditional opinion for understanding the world. It says that there is a truth which illuminates everything so that we could sense the existence, just like the sun illuminates the world so that we could see. However this metaphor has already changed a lot since the rise of deconstructivism. In contemporary point of view, the enigma of existence is unsolvable. Yet, the "metaphor of the sun" remains. The difference is that the light which illuminates the world is not some alone-standing truth anymore, the light is in fact the "intention" of human to explore the world. Because the only thing which human could confirm as true during the process of finding reality is the intention to do so. Others are all mysteries with no solution.
In series works "Wang Liang", the subject captured is not the "existence of light" as most of the photography works. Quite the opposite, what being captured is the "absence" of light, which is shadow, and nothing more. The objects themselves are not included. But when we look at the shadows, we are in fact not looking at the shadows. We are wondering what they are. A dog? A pot? A car? Which means, although the shadows are presented in front of us, our gaze is already gone far beyond them. We are looking at the ultimate source – the existence of things. Because the thing exists, the shadow exists. Because the shadow exists, Wang Liang exists. When we see Wang Liang, we seem to see the existence of the thing. As one of the existences in the world, we can't help to be confused and attracted by the existence just like Wang Liang in ZhuangZhi's story. But the existence is eventually an enigma, our minds are the only tool, just like a torch, illuminate the world so that we could see the illusion-like reality. When the torch moves, the shadows change correspondingly. But does the source of the existence changes? Maybe, maybe not. We could only guess according to the changing shadows.
"Wang Liang" continues the thinking of another series works "In the Dark". When the light is out, we could hardly see. So we fabricate a mental image with memories and imaginations. "In the Dark" tries to tell the ambiguity of the reality in our mind. "Wang Liang", on the other hand, tells the illusion of existence. Because when the real objects make their presence through their absence, people ironically establish the connection to the existed objects. In the both series, the subjects what were shot are not important anymore. It is unnecessary for us to identify the truthfulness in the image, for that the only reality of the works exists within the process of identification – the rest of the part is clouded by the enigma of "existence." Through this works, I try to reconsider the meaning of "seeing" and demonstrate human beings' artificial shaping of the "reality" as well as our nonstop questioning.