Franklin Furnace Fund Recipients 2020-21

Xiao Yang (Amherst, NY)

Project Description

The work is determined to exploit the series of paradoxical performative actions to reveal an inconsistency in our present reality. It aims to employ the bodily language and enunciation of the metaphorical words while exploring the misuse of mundane objects to substantiate the current circumstances of the information asymmetry occurring in China. The current circumstances created unquantifiable internal trauma from individuals to the collective consciousness, precipitated by the coronavirus outbreak as the external trauma. The sake of focusing on this shuddering truth is due to the lingering aftermath the pandemic calamity which remains to be seen. This work is constructed by two components which occur simultaneously over the course: the physical body to be objectified as an instrument with a task to operate a series of a repetitive actions while a machinery apparatus to operate a task in the same repetitive form, until the both of the bodies meet the physical threshold. The predominant concept of the work focuses on the lack of social justice in an authoritarian regime, as it shows problematic internal information asymmetry; people in different departments don’t share the same information. With similarities to contract theory and economics, the information asymmetry from the perspective of social justice constitutes one party being an information monopoly. The exertion of misusage of mundane objects is driven by the Freudian theory of the compulsion to repeat, and the notion of trauma in Lacanian theory, which also continues the pattern of the AUTOTRAUMAPOEIA series.


Xiao Yang is an intermedia artist whose performance series of works utilize nonlinguistic, bodily communication to explore the physical threshold of one’s own body that challenges the social discipline; while the concurrent painting installation series aims to recontextualize the industrial and chemical material into an artistic medium. Both of her ongoing series explore the concept of metaphor, linguistic versus non linguistic representation, symbolization, and a sense of boundary. Her work has been focused onto fostering a dialogue regarding the mechanism of collision, conflict, irruption versus the coping mechanism within the notion of trauma. The works also decode the deeply psychological connotations of the mundane objects as Yang explores their (mis)usage within her repetitive actions. Therein, the attempt of her to invite viewers to voyeur the disturbing interactions between living and non-living beings reveals in the recontextualized circumstance. Yang’s works are often presented as video installation, abstract paintings, images, and on-site performances.

Yang completed her BFA with an emphasis in Painting and Illustration at DAEMEN COLLEGE in 2016. She’s been residing in Buffalo, NY, USA since 2009 where she completed her MFA at the UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO in 2019. She is currently teaching at Visual & Performing Art Department at Daemen College. Yang’s work has been exhibited in, BuffaloArtStudio of the Trimania event, Tower gallery, Buffalo Artspace, El Museo, The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, Eleven Twenty Projects. Burchfield Penney Art Center. etc.

Image Descriptions: Image caption:these are still-photograph documentation of two live performances that copes with the Lacanian concept of symptom: AUTOTRAUMAPOEIA