At dusk, day and night alternate. In the dim twilight, the lights of the city are gradually switched on. This is the moment we experience every day, when human resists the circadian rhythms caused by planetary orbit and the darkness that clouds the vision. This is the negativity of nature that has been a part of human since time immemorial.
In Jiang Yuhang's work 'As a Spectator', he uses photography to document these works of land art created at dusk. Dense beads of light form seemingly living structures, appearing in the bleak wastelands and shores of northern China, emitting dim lights that interpose in the twilight hours and grows. Some are like vines covering fences and walls, others are like gurgling streams stretching beyond the distant horizon. The exhibition also revolves around the theme of interposing dusk, in the dimly lit exhibition space, illuminating these landscape photos depicting the lights’ interposing, thus opening up a discussion on the ontological relationship between human and nature.
These works create a kind of landscape of contradictions, where the lights are arranged in a form that is different from the lights of the city, which are governed by human science and culture, but more like natural mimesis, grouped together in life-like forms. In this way, these dim lights take on a paradoxical ontology that lies between nature and human culture. The lights and the dusk thus create a subtle dialectic: how are we to understand these landscapes? Do the lights intrude into the dusk? Or are the lights part of the dusk itself?
Such thinking leads us to the larger question of whether the human culture represented by these lights and nature itself are two opposing sides, or whether they are an inseparable whole in themselves. It is in fact a question of perspective. We always perceive things as objects and ourselves as a particular detached spectator. Whereas in fact such a perspective often does not exist, the essence we recognise is also the essence that must be about ourselves. Nature exists as a necessary infinity, and human as indeterminacy and negativity within such an infinity. We can hardly say that we fundamentally see the human being who transforms nature as external to it, but in fact as part of it, and that our essence is in fact the essence of nature.
In this way, in Jiang Yuhang's works, these landscapes represent the dialectical unity of human negativity and the infinity of nature. Through land art and photography, he has created a thought-provoking twilight landscape that allows us to think about nature and culture in many ways.