Fei Yang - Artist Statement
I am an Asian scientist and artist living in the US. I use found/mundane objects to create my sculptures and installations. My process references methods of scientific inquiry in fields such as psychology, neuroscience, and biology. I am interested in the more immediate, and less prevalent modes of perception in studio art. When people interact with my work, I want them to have an intimate experience that satisfies curiosity in a childlike manner, where they make discoveries through touch, taste, and smell. Some of these discoveries relate to conflicts that arise from my personal diasporic experience. For example, some of my fondest memories are associated with foods that are inaccessible in the US, making it difficult to share those experiences with others.
For my senior art show, I planned a multimedia installation based on common Chinese fruit lychee, which invites different sensory modes of exploration through sight, smell, sound, and taste. Items relating to the senses would be on a traditional Chinese display shelf. All the modes of representations targeting different human senses come close to, yet eventually fail to convey actual encounters with fresh lychee, leaving the installation a mere stand-in for it. Such experience parallels the difficulty I have with explaining my own encounters with the fruit to others.
The current state of the work is greatly impacted by the COVID-19 situation. After gathering most of the chemicals required for synthesizing the scent and securing lab space/hours, I could not actually make the solution. I lost access to borrowed equipment for photo documentation of purchased lychee flavored items as well. Without adequate recording equipment, I also couldn’t update the audio recording. Also, the handcrafted Chinese display shelf would require a woodshop that I have no access to currently. Without the actual show, I could not offer lychee flavored things for tasting either. Out of the multiple senses I wished to represent in my piece, only one or two partially remained.