Out of Position, 1987

Hong Kong 2016
Chi-Wen Gallery
Single-channel Video, Colour, Mute, CRT monitor, Sculpture, 5min 25sec
Out of Position consists of three narrative sections, each opens with a male swimmer who is swimming across the frame. The first section joins the monotonous sound of constantly dripping water with a series of images, including photos of the artist as a child wearing sunglasses and smiling for the camera, other childhood photographs, female nudes, and scenic postcards. Following images of photographs of a baby with his eyes closed, the dripping water sound is replaced with that of disquieting music. The section also includes a descending airplane, internal organs revealed during an operation, the Space Shuttle and a comet, images which foreshadow more intense images in the second section. In order, the second section contains a Robert Capa photograph of a soldier being shot during the Spanish Civil War, a close-up of a Nazi officer, a mother crying at her child's grave, Vietnam War photographs, and violent protests. In the third section, Yuan sets a series of extremely violent images and found footage to performance artist Laurie Anderson's song O Superman (For Massenet), including a 1944 execution by firing squad, execution and cremation by mob justice in South Africa, the skinning of a live chicken, and pornography. Out of Position concludes with a quick succession of several dozen close-up images of eyeballs.

This montage-style, single-channel video artwork covers topics as diverse as the innocence of youth, the evolution of technology and wartime violence from several historical periods to form an extremely lucid critique of human cruelty and slaughter. It is worth mentioning that Yuan appropriates Anderson's popular music as well as static and dynamic imagery from all over the world. Anderson created her work during the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-81 to express her dissatisfaction after the collision of a helicopter and transport plane during a failed rescue attempt orchestrated by the Carter Administration. Examining dislocations between technology and communication in her anti-war song, Anderson wrote the lyrics, “Cause when love is gone, there's always justice, And when justice is gone, there's always force” which is the political critic that Yuan intends with his video work. (by Sing Song-Yong)

Out of Position (1987) has been collected by M+, Hong Kong in 2016.

Yuan Goang-Ming (b.1965) currently lives and works in Taipei. He is one of the foremost Taiwanese artists of media art, and has been a pioneer of video art in Taiwan, a medium in which he started working in 1986. He received a Master’s degree in media art from the Academy of Design, Karlsruhe in 1997. Combining symbolic metaphors with technological media, his work eloquently expresses the state of contemporary existence and profoundly explores the human mind and consciousness. His works, ranging from photographs to multi-media installations, have been exhibited worldwide, including 2004 Liverpool Biennial, Tate Modern, Liverpool, UK (2004), A Strange Heaven : Contemporary Chinese Photography, National Gallery of Prague, Czech Republic, Helsinki City Art Museum, Finland (2005), X-Generation : National Taiwan Museum of Digital Art Collection Exhibition, Engien-Les-Bain, France (2007), Our Future : The Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation Collection, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2008), Singapore Biennale 2008 : Wonder, Singapore (2008), In Between, Asian Video Art Weekend, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2008), the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern Art and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia (2013), Schizophrenia Taiwan 2.0, Ars Electronica, Austria, Linz, CYBERFEST, Russia, St. Petersberg, Transmediale Germany, Berlin, HMKV Germany, Dortmund, Les Instant Video, France, Marseille (2014), Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, Japan (2014), Mobile M+ : Moving Image, Midtown POP, Hong Kong (2015) and 13th Biennale de Lyon : La Vie Moderne, Musée des Confluences, Lyon, France (2015).