#Han Yang : The Message (Paris/London)
“In art and dream, you can use abandonment” wrote Patti Smith. Perhaps life is too dark to be lived as it is, that without romanticizing it, without embellishing it, we risk abandonment, the real one. Create your refuge from scratch, images as soft as the world is brutal and as beautiful as reality is hard. Create more quiet images in a world saturated with visual production. If art and creation is a space to let go of its guard and speak of the beautiful, perhaps abandonment can become a tool, without being a fatality, that rest and violence can be somewhat muted. Surely the few details in societies that the profusion of faces and information, is to provoke this silence, this strange calm in front of the images of Yan Hang.
And then there is the dream of being an artist, of creating, when we know that this refuge may not be strong enough to protect us from the outside. The dream of living to create, to surrender to this passion.
This interview talks about all these dreams, everything that is hidden in watermarks behind an image, about abandoning oneself to one’s dreams and giving them a form. Do we dream for ourselves? For whom? Do we surrender to art more simply than with another? Wouldn’t technology allow those who didn’t have the luxury to be left behind?
Use abandonment and make a gift, art, beauty or sweetness.
Hello! We are so thrilled to have you here with us. Could you present yourself ?
I am Han Yang, a visual artist and fashion photographer, based in London. I graduated from MA Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Currently I am pursuing a PhD with practice-based research in fashion photography and AI technologies.
When did you start photography ?
I was born in a photography family. My parents are photographers. I took photos the first time when I was fourteen.
How do you find inspiration? Do you always have a precise vision of what you want to create ?
I like to watch some literary reviews and movies, and I also like to go to museums and galleries. More often, I get the inspiration from life for my shoots. For example, meeting a special scenery on the side of the road, flowers, shops, spaces, decorations and so on.
Yes, mostly situation I am very clear what I want to create.
Would you say that intuition is important for an artist?
Yes, intuition is very important for an artist.
Why about fashion makes you so passionate about it ?
Because I can create a dream in fashion. Sometimes we can't express our ideas by words , fashion can help me express it. Fashion is an attitude, an opinion, a desire to live.
There is something very dreamy about your work : is it a way for you to romanticise your world and escape reality ?
Yes, I think so.
In three words, how would you describe your art?
Romantic, delicate, storytelling
Your project “non-human” seems to interrogate the relationship of humans, technology and nature : what is this topic interesting for you?
"Non-human" is the subject of my current research. My interest in it is that the development of technology has forced us to think more about the relationship between human beings, the natural environment, the earth, and social culture. I've always been interested in the impact of new technologies on visual media. Joanna Zylinska, reacting to the “masculinist gaze of domination and occupation ‘seeing everything from nowhere’”, stresses the need to embrace the nonhuman perspective as both a concept and a mode of being in the world, which would allow humans to see beyond the humanist limitations of their current philosophies and worldviews, as “[even] the most human-centric and humanist photography therefore bears a nonhuman trace” (2017). I'm imagining exploring my infinite possibilities in this worldview beyond human limitations.
There is something truly moving in your project “vulnerability” : is art a way for you to show rareness?
-> Art can help us express what is in our hearts, and of course it has this characteristic and value of "rarity". It is a window as well a mirror that allows you to see the outside world and also allows you to understand your inner self.
In my "Vulnerability" project, I am trying to understand human beings are unable to resist external damage due to the exposure of the body and the inside under the cultural and political system of strong social construction through the deformation and fragility of the human body. As Judith Butler wrote, "Body implies mortality, vulnerability, agency: The skin and the flesh expose us to the gaze of others, but also to touch and to violence".
You told me that you never think of the reception or message that you want to send to people, why?
I'm not saying that I don't think about what I want to convey when I create my work. As Roland Barthes once said, "The work is born, the author is dead." I agree. Once the work is created, the concept and temporality of the work itself are spatially dead. Each recipient's understanding of the work has a completely different feeling and experience. It all depends on the recipient's own educational background and cultural environment. What I convey and what the audience sees are two different concepts. I don't specifically want to convey anything to the outside world, I just express myself through fashion and visual forms.
Do you think that our generation is a creative generation?
Yes. The creativity of each generation will vary according to the changes in the development of society, but there is no doubt that our generation has its own creativity.
Do you think that art can only be « beautiful », without telling any stories?
It's a broad question like what do you think art is. Beautiful to the extreme, it is still an art.
I know that your parents told you to not base your career on art, what would you say to a young person willing to choose this path?
Believe yourself, do it what you love and do it for yourself, but also think about the story and concept behind the picture. With my work I want to encourage women and minorities to create.
What gives you hope today?
Courage, Faith and Perseverance
Any music suggestions?
I prefer more nostalgic and narrative music, such as Hotel California, I have really been touched countless times.
Any recommendation of artists that you love?
Chinese sculptor Xiang Jing, French artist Pierre Huyghe, and Rebecca Allen, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin.
Thank you very much Han Yang !