Images of Identity and Territory
——Photography Works By Gao Yuan
Artists: Gao Yuan
Curator: Michael Wright
2007.11.18 - 2007.12.16
The surface of the body and the surface of graffiti of walls create social and cultural identities. These surfaces reveal the emotional and social dynamics within the space they inhibit. With the accumulation of markings, the surface becomes the very embodiment of identity.
Both tattooing and graffiti fulfill complex functions, and are a way of tagging and claiming ownership over a space. Their ink is a proclamation of identity, calling attention to and reminding the viewer of the identities contained within the bounded space. Both the activities of tattooing and graffiti are a form of transgression, a radical invasion of private space, the body and, collective public space.
Graffiti can be an anti social gesture of transgressing the anonymity of public space but there are other more sociable and poetic functions for placing images and text on a wall. It can be the simple need to give information, to transform a space into a notice board, to socially educate through well meaning propaganda. It can also be the last act of desperation to communicate to the wider community, an expression of loss, grief or longing, the proclamation of love, or the unrequited desires of an anonymous or jilted lover. In this sense the surfaces of a wall become a site of public poetry.
Gao Yuan’s photographs are portraits of cultural phenomenon, of the prevailing milieu that her human subjects live and move in. In photographing these spaces of proclamation and transgression Gao Yuan reminds us of our human preoccupation with identity and the relationship between identity and visible appearance. The French philosopher Lacan theorised that the development of the sense of self develops out of the ability to see a mirror image in a reflection. These photographs are like a mirror reflecting back to us our social identity.
Michael Wright MA is Co-Programme Leader of Fine Art and a senior lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. He is a consultant on publications for Dorling Kindersley in association with the Royal Academy of Arts and has authored a number of arts publications on photography. His fine art research is focused on the interface between drawing, photography and time based practices and a concern with methods of intervention in spatial and narrative sequences. He has exhibited internationally and participated in symposiums in Britain, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Holland, China and the USA.
Born in 1962, Living & working in New York City
1997,New York Film Academy, course work
1989,University of Japan, Graduate School of Art, MFA in Photography
Selected Group Exhibitions ：
2007 Classic Beauty Throckmorton Fine Art, NYC
2007 AIPAD the photography show at Throckmorton Fine Art at the Armory, NYC
2007 International juried show visual arts center of New Jersey
2006 Field of vision: Beijing new art project at Gao Brothers gallery Beijing, China
2006 "History of women’s art" Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NYC
2005 "Field of vision New York" digital art show, The Lab gallery, NYC
2004 SOHO photo gallery competition group show, NYC
2003 Art incubator inaugural art exhibition, Ethan Cohen gallery, NYC
1989 Work selected for JPS group show, Nikon gallery, Tokyo, Japan
Selected Solo Exhibitions：
1996 "Reflection" Taipei photo gallery, Taiwan
1995 "Tattoo Portraits" Seibu gallery, Hong Kong
1994 "Secret Identities" Elite gallery, Taipei
Honors & Awards
Work selected for international juried show Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 2006
Winner of SOHO photo gallery competition NYC work on view Oct 5-30, 2004
Work selected for JPS photography competition 1989
Taiwan National student photography Award 1983