Art Lexing presents an interactive installation by mix media Chinese artist Ye Hongxing “Prajñāpāramitā” at EAST, Miami.
Chinese artist Ye Hongxing will be showcasing an intricate design that re-works the traditional ‘Mandala’ symbol and renders it in three-dimensions. A frequent motif in Hongxing’s epic paintings, this installation consists of her signature material -thousands of children’s stickers. The Mandala is placed on the floor and every form and detail consists entirely of these colourful, mass-produced jewel-like stickers. The effect is kaleidoscopic and dazzling – the form shimmers and glitters in front of the viewer. The colour, skill and identifiable childhood material used allows Hongxing’s work to be appreciated and understood by a broad global audience. Trained as a classical painter, Hongxing utilises her skill in colour, perspective and shading but chooses this unusual material, rather than paint, to create an astounding visual impact; but to also implicitly convey her ideas about contemporary culture.
The title of the piece “Prajñāpāramitā”is a central concept in Buddhism and it means “the Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom”. The pagoda refers to the road to enlightenment – your life is your road, and Prajñāpāramitā urges you to transcend beyond impermanent illusions and the preconceived ideas you have been conditioned with, urging you to find your own true path. Audience are encouraged to place toys on the surface of Mandala based on their own interpretation. Hongxing’s stickers are otherwise seen as disposable and ephemeral objects – a comment on the disposable nature of contemporary culture. The sheer volume of the stickers echoes the overload of information that we are presented with on a daily basis. The title of this installation hints at the desire to overcome the illusory ‘maya’ of worldliness and societal conditioning. At the centre of the Mandala is a pagoda cascading with children’s toys. Pagodas were originally designed to house sacred Buddhist relics and writings – Hongxing’s toys are perhaps the relics of a more innocent time. Hongxing’s practice is a comment on the changing landscape of Asia – financially, technologically, culturally and environmentally. The rapid developments in this region have had a profound influence on Hongxing’s work and she seeks to highlight the complexities of this expansion.
The paradox of constructing this spiritual emblem from secular children’s toys and stickers is vividly communicated. The stickers are deftly applied with labour-intensive skill, adhering to the rhythmic concentric circles of the Mandala, and Hongxing’s message is propelled to the fore. If these modern advancements continue at such a rate – what will happen to the traditions and cultures of society? What will happen to spirituality and innocence? It seems Hongxing’s vision for the future is loaded with misgiving but the colour, texture and vitality in her work speaks equally of the wonder and joy in life that should be celebrated and embraced.
- Ye Hongxing, Mandala n' 15, 2013
- Ye Hongxing ,The Modern Utopia, 2012
- Ye Hongxing, Tell Me Why 2, 2016