For me, art offers a tantalizing encounter with a subject that is willing to spar with you.
A painting is a space that pushes back against you with a kind of gentle resistance, but which can be oppressive nonetheless.
In all the works that I consider to have been well crafted, I feel my body and thoughts churn, rise up, and expand along with this space, like a balloon inflating:
I nudge the volume as it swells, tenuously, while the work gradually
grows and takes on a tangible shape.
Sometimes I can feel myself being repulsed.
As my body and thoughts come up and press against this swollen, balloon-like volume,
I begin to sense my physicality for the first time, as if I had struck or bumped into something.
Making a work is akin to walking across a tightrope with an abyss gaping beneath you.
I have to make an extremely strenuous effort to not fall off the rope:
it is only through a supreme act of will that I manage to finish the piece without losing my balance.
Just like how the reflection in the mirror is both myself and something removed from me, I feel that a finished painting is both a reflection of myself, as well as a foreign other detached from me.
Through these reflections, I sense my own bodily contours taking on a sharper definition.
For me, to draw is neither to impress an image onto a surface, nor a matter of giving oneself over to the contingencies associated with my materials as they unravel on the canvas.
For me, to accept the contingency of others is also to grapple with and learn to accept one’s own physicality.
My body reacts instantly to what happens in the real world at the moment that the image in my mind takes shape on the canvas.
This process is as much a dialogue as it is a struggle, or a game, or a collaborative endeavor.
I try to draw, reflexively, so that my consciousness doesn’t catch up with my hand.
I don’t make an attempt to chase after some finished image, nor do I look back to ponder the lines that I have already drawn.
I always approach the canvas or paper as if I were furtively pushing my body against a tensely stretched membrane.
When I work with wire, resin, or neon, this tension is abruptly manifested in my own body.
This is also the moment when the form of the work becomes complete.
At first, all I do is to poke roughly at the material, and try to bend it, sometimes violently:
it doesn’t always bend to my will, so to speak. (Imagination and expectation travel on a trajectory parallel to reality.)
Then, all at once, a form that cleaves perfectly to my own space emerges, and my body senses a pushing back similar to what I feel with my paintings and drawings.
As soon as I meet this resistance, the material and the space it occupies that used to be soft and supple seems to congeal and harden, and I am no longer able to intervene.
It is almost as if the work has now forsaken me: there is now a membrane-like barrier in between us. I remove my hands, and step back, so that this membrane can remain tense and inflated — and so that I may continue to feel the work pushing back against me.