Camberwell College of Arts
MA Fine Art: Painting
Artist Statement by Yanan Hu My research focuses on expressing my physical and emotional thoughts through the lens of the chronically ill. My work deals with both emotional and spiritual aspects. I suffer from multiple chronic illnesses and I often have ringing in my ears when I am emotionally stressed and under pressure. In my research, I have explored the relationship of disease, the immune system and emotional response. I am curious about the way the human body works, physically, emotionally and spiritually. In my work, the human body is like a mysterious factory, with many functions currently unexplored, such as the epiphysis in the brain, studied by many civilisations and religions, ancient and modern. The Greek philosophers called it the 'throne of the soul', a symbol for the all-seeing eye of God. My work addresses the mysterious forces in the human body and their connection to the universe. I use oil paint for its versatility and ease of modification during the painting process. In my intuitive process, the subconscious mind communicates with the canvas, so the ability to adjust the image is essential. In painting approach and technique, I have been deeply influenced by the work of Francesco Clemente and Philip Guston. The elements of mysticism in Clemente's works and his interest in metaphor, ambiguity and fluidity chime with my work. The conflict between childishness and violence, the cartoonism and painterly symbolic approach of Philip Guston has also been a decisive influence to me. In my paintings, the issue of chronic illness is a key to exploring my inner being, and it is because of this that I have opened up new perspectives on our bodies, emotions and spirits.
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