I am writing to you with thoughts, concerns, and butterflies filled up my heart. For the thinking and making of my works, poetics is the key concept. Poetics, as the art of poetry writing, speaks to me with its power to open, to question, and to set off contemplation, as I embrace it with my own theoretical and artistic approach.
Poetics, with its metaphorical nature, is mystic and dualistic. Imagery and metaphor are the foundation of poetry; they open up possibilities to the symbolic and abstract, where dualism instead of binarism reigns. Through poetics, the dualistic state where contradictions coexist and complete each other is achieved, an effective way to dissolve the binarism prevalent in society that causes separation and isolation. To me, materials and forms are poetic imagery, like the material of bone ash as a recurrent symbol throughout my works. Bone ash, as the striking reminder of death, is embedded with rich conceptual, historical, and cultural meanings. As the remnant of cremated bodies, it renders the sense of both mortality and permanence. Its presence, therefore, indicates both loss and possession, creating the mixed feelings of longing and belonging. It comes from sacrificial rituals in Ancient Greek, finding its way to reside in a little corner of our house. It creates the shine in fine porcelains, from which Chinese people eat their daily meals. It fertilizes the ground; from the dead is new life born.
Poetics also resides in sensual materiality. The sensual quality of materials, to me, is the foundation of visual art. It is direct and immediate, with a spontaneity that goes ahead and in spite of thoughts. It stimulates reactions, physically and conceptually, making the conceptual poetics possible and perceivable. Sugar intrigues me with its sweetness, as I explore its materiality in various works. I could feel saliva wetting my mouth at the very sight of those glittering sprinkles, with the impulse to touch, lick, and taste. I play with them raw, blowing them scattered and hearing them rustle in Con-Fusion; I let crystalized syrup write on paper, leaving those words sweet but unreadable in Composition; I grow crystals on ceramic pelvis, those pointy little things making so sweet a home in Home Sweet Home.
From the sensual to the conceptual, poetics sets off contemplation. In the world of over-simplification, where the mystic and encompassing nature of the world gets dissected and defined, where the dissection and definition causes separation and opposition, contemplation frees and connects people. It opens oneself up, creating an image of love, in which “the boundary between ego and object threatens to melt away.” It calls for a special urgency in our current situation of chaos, disease, and social injustice and unrest, where oppositions get intensified and opposers get agitated. Poetics challenges people out of their defined structure of thinking, constantly asking one to step out oneself and to connect with the Other. Poetics, for me, as for the French philosopher Georges Bataille, is “to substitute for the individual isolated discontinuity a feeling of profound continuity.” Poetics is love.