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TANG Maohong: The Magical World

Author: Huang Du Translator: Ivy Liu 2008

TANG Maohong's video works include countless fragments which all relate to different visual games such as politics, childhood, internet, eroticism, history, gossip, violence, body, fantasy, she, he and it. We can feel the artist's imagination and the charm of his artistic expression from the image of every fragment. Born in a small town of Guangxi Province in 1975, TANG Maohong believes himself to be an experimental animation artist. He began to live and work in Shanghai from 2000 after his graduation from China Academy of Art.

In 2000, TANG Maohong completed two performance artworks Photosynthesis and Walk. In 2005, he started the creation of experimental animation. Orchid Finger, a three-channel video installation, is his first work of this type. It also marks his first time to express "nonsense" by video, because it is regarded by the artist as the media which is even wider, more abundant and capable to convey his own idea. In Orchid Finger, three round frames are placed side by side in a screen. No relation is found between the contents which are played repetitiously in the frames. And the images can also become solo works when drawn out of the trio. The animation is infused with all sorts of strange and unusual sense of magic: girls with long tails, giant snails, a rabbit mating with an elephant, masked man with rabbit's ears and gorgeous mushrooms. This extraordinary imagination brings surprise and expectation to viewers and leads them continuously to pursue the profound meaning behind these images.

TANG Maohong usually likes searching and downloading images from the internet, but his interests vary constantly even from day to day. His second experimental animation work Sunday was completed in 2006. The source of materials all comes from the ready-made images on the internet, but it is not a feasibility study report of image reproduction. He gave up the method of questioning and making reasons within artworks, but selected and revised images randomly; and he chose a lazy and negative way to think about art. Different from Orchid Finger, Sunday is a work which juxtaposes five round frames in the screen. The increase on quantity results in images having more power and a bigger sense of space. It continues the style of Orchid Finger, which still contains the fragmentary images. The dynamic images rush towards viewers before they have time to react and they are all fanciful and humorous images which possess a sense of obsession and oppression. In both Orchid Finger and Sunday, music plays an important role on emphasizing the video's atmosphere. TANG Maohong invited his artistic friends to compose the background music. The music in Orchid Finger and Sundaywas completed by JIN Feng and LIN Di respectively, who endowed the works with a sense of fragmentation and disorientation.

Therefore, TANG Maohong's strange and wide imagination is unfolded wonderfully in his hand-drawn animation artworks Orchid Finger and Sunday.Accompanied by the drum which is full of the sense of rhythm, many sets of absurd images and disordered stories spring up naturally and steadily: colourful mushrooms, exquisite flowers, towering aloft pagodas, a faceless crowd and orgiastic animals are displayed in the three or five-channel work projected within the round frames. These images not only express an unusual and dreamful world, but also create a real implication. It is the unique language employed by TANG Maohong, his subjective imagination as well as weird interpretation of the world with immense diversification, which as a whole constructs an image of a surreality full of magic, fantasy and experience.

Proofread by Andrea Keller and Sachiel Yuu

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