fluorescent fog: Do Thanh Lang

22 December 2020 - 10 February 2021
Overview

It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings.

- Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Eye and Mind

An imaginary scenario: the artist frees his body from Alberti's Frame - a geometric instrument that determines perspective. He shoots himself into the Void, where neither logic nor horizon nor light nor shadow exists. His body is floating, stretching, thrashing, bouncing, his buttocks hoisting in the air in an attempt to touch the surfaces of his surrounding environment. He utilises the sensorium to feel his flight through space-time. A fog appears as soon as he escapes that blindfold of a Frame, when he is yet to reconstruct a sense of stability. In that ambiguous, liminal space, he learns to lay out new horizons by simulating surfaces and having his subjects interact with those surfaces. They do not follow the principles of the convergence point. They follow his random rhythm.

 

A referential scenario: the artist covers that indeterminate sphere of fog with countless layers of fluorescent paint. These layers - part opaque, part translucent - allow light to pierce through. They coalesce. The subjects Lãng lets emerge from his new horizon are now filled with excitement. They hug, dance, sprawl across those fluorescent layers of paint like citizens of the New, Modern, Twentieth Century World. In those years, thanks to the Industrial and Technological Revolution, the entertainment industry focused on exploiting methods of illumination/projection, and the illusions from which it came. Synthetic substances, colours, and artificial lights relentlessly stimulate the senses, prompting the inhabitants of the Twentieth Century to endlessly notice and perceive their world. That perception, glaringly luminous, blends reality and illusion. When the body reaches its limits of endurance, when the senses refuse to take in more signals, they are paralysed. The artist instantly freezes them in their postures, static to the extreme.

 

A re-produced scenario: the painter slides his fingers across a smartphone touchscreen. He is hunting for floating objects in the world of data in order to replicate them in his fluorescent Void. He whispers to Facebook's algorithm: 'Decode the reading of data in my eyes!' Needless to say, with its sophisticated ability to track and surveil, the algorithm has of course been constantly decoding him, trying to identify the object/subject/scene implied by the movement of his fingers. He whispers to a world constructed by predictive algorithms: 'Slide along with what my eyes see!' Characters/Things/Landscapes, as a result, replicate their own images in the vault of data - the virtual morgue - and slide from the glass screen to the shiny surface of resin, of negative film, of PVC sheets.

- Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran

Works