Yingguang Guo began her photographic career with Reuters, China Daily, and other media groups. Moving on to the artistic world, her creations revolve around social problems in contemporary China: women on the shelf, arranged marriages, and pseudo-intimacy between the husbands and wives who are the victims of such marriages. She uses image creation to express emotions that connect to her past. Her combination of photography and printmaking aims for melancholia, delicacy, and abstraction.
The Bliss of Conformity' examines complex relationships, focusing on arranged marriages throughout China. The subtle physical wrinkles and creases, together with the metaphoric red line-symbolizing intangible interpersonal ties and compelling matchmakers in China, invite us to join her in visualizing echoes of individual stories that may strike a chord in the viewer. In discovering the pseudo- intimacy and hidden nature of such marriages, she raises public awareness of the extent of so-called couples trapped in multi-layered relationships.
The Bliss of Conformity uses a pseudo-intimate relationship between husband and wife as a starting point to talk about arranged marriage and "left-over women." The language of the photograph is employed to deconstruct and analyse ideas of the contemporary marriage. Printed and recorded material and a handmade book express the multi-relational concept.
My experience and emotions have brought me here. I have been described as a leftover woman myself, and faced pressure from my family and society. Socially, I represent a group of people with the same experience. At Shanghai People's Park matchmaker's corner I observed parents who spend their weekends setting up dates for their sons and daughters. Their basic information is written on paper afixed to umbrellas and trees, or placed on the ground. A mother used a clip to attach her daughter's information. This repeated process left a deep impression on me. I could feel the pain, in my opinion, that the information on paper represented. It was no longer simply paper. It felt like a person hanging, just waiting to be picked.
"The skin is seen as isolating the external and the inner medium," a theory combined with visual creation to describe how the physical traces of the paper's surface can reflect the common experience of private and public life. " (Albrecht von Haller)
So I chose to describe how physical traces on paper reflect the common experience of private and public life, a subtle not easily perceived pain. At the same time I set up a multi-level relationship by way of a handmade book - time, space, real and emotional expression. The design of the book, hidden in the sleeve, uses the same information and photographic images of natural landscapes to establish a dialogue. This traditional technique helped me convey the subtly melancholic mood, and the sleeve images made a visual contrast, explaining the origin of the melancholy. While reading the book might seem a cumbersome way of expressing the concept of "relationships", in doing so, the viewer is invited to feel their complexities. At the same time, the impact of the installation on the audience will provide a different viewing perspective and form of participation.
Artist: Yingguang Guo
Curator: He Yining