Micro: A Form of Life

Posterity who talk about Tao said, ‘the thing-in-itself has the same root with its function, and there is no gap between the significant and the implicit.’”

                 —Fountain House Collection, Li Dongyang (Ming Dynasty)

Here “Micro” means significant and implicit. Yang, by the significant artistic expression, highlighted the microcosm in the way of superposition and cloning in which the audiences are guided to aware of the subtlest secret of life. These accidental and inevitable mineral pigments, condensed and penetrated on a transparent slide, continually reproduce and divide just like mysterious life. These colored spots are even in nature. At the molecular level, Yang reconstructed the seemingly realistic simulation of reality by decomposition, analysis, control, amplification and reproduction of vitality. It is through this new form of visualization that life can be considered as a series of intelligible life mechanisms at the molecular level. Yang’s studio is like a biological science incubator: all laboratory utensils, such as a needle, test tube, petri dish, stirrer, may be her own painting tools. The artist always explores the hidden changes and relations in life by microscopic observation of the structure of microorganisms. For the reconstruction of technical rationality and exploration of biological science, Yang observed and researched the effective elements of life and reproduction: the life paints with organelles as the ontological language—this amazing, natural perfect functional form is the elaborate arrangement for the achievement of life. Conjecturing the wisdom of the creator, Yang recreated a life form with plants and inanimate minerals. With the rational and rigorous cognition of life science, she reproduces the beauty that technology and system are formed by chance: the elements in life can be separated from the connection of cells, organs, organisms and species so that they can circulate and combine with others. A new epistemological revolution is taking place: a kind of deep biology by which Yang attempts to demonstrate the potential organic laws of closed life system. This exhibition will present the process of experimental creation and series of works to create an aesthetic space with laboratory property.

In observation of the structural characteristics of life units, Yang’s series of works Originaldecomposed and recorded the unit form of life material. She carried out enormous rigorous staining tests and painted the results on a coverslip, the final screening part of the valid specimens preserved. This is a series of works based on the concept of biopsy. In creation, the artist studied the preparation ratio of chemical and biological pigments, and the effects of chemical reactions on coloration, thereby controlling temperature, humidity, duration and metering, so that the drops collide, react, grow on the coverslip. Hence a two-way combination of painting language and scientific observation. The work Test Tube results from collection and decoration of the remaining color adhered to surfaces of a test tube. These residues, after drying up, present a rich change: the texture of evaporation marks the imprint of time. Yang, in a novel way, intuitively presented an ocean of microorganism population that cannot be perceived by naked eyes, and tried to rely on “natural” creation and effect in the interweaving genealogy of information.

Yang noted, in series of works such as Who Will Develop Game Rules and Game, that the game of life and of chance. Between the normal state and the pathological one, various factors of the immune system, just like a reflex arc, automatically battled against bacteria and virus. Stability and imbalance, thus, became various symptoms of life. The artist created “a norm of life”: health leads a silent life in the organism, while disease produces a reaction in the indeterminate pain of various realms. Since hidden, hereditary and susceptible physique, together with the intensification by pathological changes, consisted in reorganization, it is widely proposed a decent, modest lifestyle, i.e. a life process by body-mind control, which will inhibit or stop lesions and reduce the probability of intensification to a minimum. So susceptibility has become a new form of life. Genomic accuracy and genetic screening systems allow a possible, unpopular future accessible to the present so that it can be predicted and optimized.

Yang’s latest work Only By Here boldly created an exotic biological species. The artist transformed his dreams and memories into creative experiences. These experiences detached from the old regular order, mutation, selection and gene drift; accrued to the interference pattern in which Yang own potential subconscious sensory frequency blended. It is in empty that these figures of life were produced by ideas. By the reproduction of microscopic world, Yang broke away from the objective observation mechanism of rigorous scientific structure, exploring the birth in the form of the combination of natural laws and consciousness.

Does biotechnology change how mankind is? What is the organism? With the risk of a new individual and collective subjectivization, the reality was found amongst the significant and the implicit.

About the exhibition

Dates: 2016.11.26 – 12.25

Venue: Space Station

Courtesy of the artist and Space Station, for further information please visit

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