Interview: Yu-Ching Wang
Luca Curci talks with Yu-Ching Wang during MIXING IDENTITIES, second appointment of CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2023, held in Venice, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Yu-Ching Wang’s recent works focus on exploring the social and cultural elements in the environment around her through the lens of her identity as a foreigner in the U.S. Like a social investigator, based on objectively observing the living environment and society, then she makes her artworks through subjective thinking. She collects information and clues from the outside world, such as abandoned objects in the parks and some seemingly unrelated events that happened in New York City in the same month, and associates them with her thoughts and personal experience about her race and her cultural background.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Yu-Ching Wang – To me, art represents freedom. Through it, I can express myself authentically without conforming to societal norms. In the realm of art, there is no absolute right or wrong; rather, the key is to remain true to yourself. At times, art can feel like an unplanned encounter, with my creative process beginning through a spontaneous and coincidental inspiration. These serendipitous moments are what make art so enjoyable and exciting for me, and I welcome them with open arms.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
YCW – My current project, titled “Pigeon Language”, is a video and performance piece inspired by the identity of New York City’s pigeons. Interestingly, I was recently informed that pigeons actually originate from Europe, which surprised me and made me realize that they, like me, are foreigners and immigrants in this city and country. This connection led me to view pigeons as more than just birds; they are individuals with unique identities, just like myself and other people in this city. Through my research, I discovered that the majority of pigeons in New York City are rock doves (Columba livia), originally from Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia. I find myself wondering if they still hold memories of their European roots and native languages. To explore this idea, I converse with them in European languages that would have been their mother tongues 1600 years ago, documenting our interactions as both a performance and a video work. My role in this project is that of both recorder and performer.
LC – Is there an unrealised or unrealisable project, even a crazy one, that you would like to work on?
YCW – A couple of years ago, I attempted a project that unfortunately did not come to fruition. While I would like to give it another go, the current environment and circumstances are vastly different, leaving the idea simmering in my mind. During my time as a graduate student, there was an elevator at my school that consistently displayed the wrong floor number. Despite this issue, no one attempted to fix it, and we all silently accepted the misinformation each day. This experience served as a poignant reminder of how society often blindly follows the mainstream and authority, even when they are incorrect. To address this issue, I devised an idea to find a young girl who held a status contrary to social authority and have her speak out against the faulty elevator. I was able to find a seven or eight-year-old girl, but unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to get to know her well enough or explain the instructions clearly enough for her to understand. Consequently, a year later, the elevator was finally fixed, and
it displayed the correct floor numbers.
LC – How is your creative process?
YCM – When creating art, I enjoy experimenting with a variety of materials, media, and subjects, which means that I don’t have a fixed creative process. I make a conscious effort to maintain my curiosity and remain open to everything around me, which allows me to find inspiration in even the most mundane and everyday details. Typically, something will catch my eye, and I will begin to explore its potential through making associations with the environment, cultures, society, and life. This process of discovery and exploration often leads me down unexpected paths, resulting in unique and exciting works of art.
LC – Do visitors’ suggestions enrich yourself and your art?
YCW – Yes! Definitely! As an artist, I find it valuable to understand my work through the perspectives of visitors, as they can offer new insights that I may not have considered before. Additionally, I believe that artworks are open to interpretation, as each individual brings their own unique life experiences to the piece, resulting in a dialogue between two different lives. This dialogue can lead to fascinating discoveries, as visitors may uncover elements in my work that I hadn’t even considered. Ultimately, I find the exploration of the unknown to be a thrilling and rewarding aspect of creating art.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
YCW – The idea of MIXING IDENTITIES is one that resonates deeply with me, as it allows for a diverse and inclusive interpretation that aligns perfectly with the concept of my artwork. In my recent works, I have been exploring the social and cultural elements of the environment around me, drawing on my own experience as a foreigner to inform my creative process. As a sort of social investigator, I observe the world around me objectively and then use my subjective thinking to create artworks that explore the intersection of culture, society, politics, and my own personal experiences with race and my cultural background. To generate ideas, I collect information and clues from the outside world, such as abandoned objects in parks or seemingly unrelated events that have occurred in New York City during the same month. I then combine these disparate elements with my own thoughts and observations, creating a unique and layered artwork that speaks to the complexity and diversity of our world. Ultimately, my goal is to create art that is both thought-provoking and accessible, inviting viewers from all backgrounds to engage with and interpret my work in their own way.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
YCW – My video work, “Neighbors”, is being exhibited as part of MIXING IDENTITIES in March. This piece explores my unique relationship with the individuals who work in the space located directly below my studio in the Pfizer building in
Brooklyn, New York. Due to the presence of three holes in the floor of my studio, I was able to see the space below and the individuals who worked there, although we had no direct verbal communication. I began a series of actions designed to interact with the space and the people below, using specific objects and actions to convey messages and information. For instance, I sent candy through the holes as a friendly gesture, used a periscope to observe the space below, recorded the sound and image of the space to gain a better understanding of its environment, and even sent a portrait of myself to introduce myself to the individuals below. Additionally, I sent them a cup of coffee, as I observed them drinking coffee in the mornings. I documented all of these interactions using a camera in my studio. The word “neighbor” in this piece refers to both the individuals who worked in the space below and the physical space itself. Although we never had direct face-toface conversation or contact, we were connected in a unique way due to the unusual architectural structure of the building. By breaking down the barriers of language, culture, ethnicity, and social identity, we were able to establish an authentic relationship based purely on human behavior. This relationship was particularly meaningful as it brought together two groups of people who would otherwise have no intersection in society, including art students and laborers, foreigners and citizens, and individuals of different races and ethnicities!
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
YCW – Yes. As a first-time participant with ITSLIQUID GROUP, I have been impressed with the opportunities they provide for artists, including exhibitions and interviews. I believe that these opportunities are invaluable for any artist seeking to share their work with the wider world.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
YCW – The ITSLIQUID Platform is an excellent resource for anyone with an interest in the arts. As an artist, ITSLIQUID can offer a unique opportunity to showcase your talent and reach a wider audience. Meanwhile, for art enthusiasts, the platform offers an exciting opportunity to discover a diverse range of amazing artists and artworks.
LC – What are your suggestions about our services? Is there something more we can provide to artists?
YCW – As an artist based in New York, I believe that with more extensive online promotion, ITSLIQUID could generate more awareness about the exhibitions and the ITSLIQUID platform. I believe that expanding the reach of exhibitions through an online promotion is a fantastic way to connect artists and their works with audiences all around the world!