Kang Yi stripped down to a thong while a young woman gave him love bites. Performance art is almost always controversial. What was the significance of this one staged on a podium at a Guangzhou auditorium?
- “It's a critique of the concept of chaotic love. I hope that my art piece will call out to today's youth to seek out the excellent genuine love and feelings of traditional China.”
A young woman, a student, spent an hour and a half bruising him with her lips. His chest, abdomen and arms were soon covered with hickeys. It is pertinent that he chose to stand in a Christ-like pose. If we use this as metaphor, then he sees excessive expression of love as no different from hate, of being nailed to a Cross, all to save his people.
The report states:
- He also donned tree roots in his hair to signify time and tied three roasted chickens to the plank across his shoulders that positioned his body into a cross-like shape.
Does Time here denote going back to an age where love was mostly devoid of feeling? The roasted chickens covey death as well as sustenance. It is about survival.
Chicken skinning, cooking, carving are as much part of modern-day culinary tradition as they were in rudimentary form in the early days.
By trying to demonstrate what is wrong about such love, Kang is in fact making it seem desirable. He is the centre of that universe where a woman submits to him. His stoic stance is less of a saint and more of a taker. The master commanding that his needs be ministered to. His hot flesh waiting to be bitten into. And his being tied up frees him from having any commitment.
The woman whose lips too would have tired after 75 minutes of such activity is just a tool for his needs. Had the performance shown her writhing or expressing some emotion, it might have been ‘chaos’. Besides, the nature of physical love is subject to how two consenting adults choose to ‘perform’ it. No one is privy to what the traditionalists did in their bedrooms. Chaotic love is not one-sided, unless it is exploitation.
Emotional love is more often about an individual pitted against another. Two people cannot feel the same for each other with similar intensity and the nature of that love will witness varied shades along the way. This does cause turmoil. Tradition cannot save it. If anything, people have been forced into dismal relationships because tradition left them with no option but to follow the rules of the game as reckoned by their roots. This happens in most societies even today.
Kang is merely a revivalist who is using exhibitionism, much like a man enjoying life in a nudist colony trying to sell clothes to others.
(c) Farzana Versey
- - -
Images: Daily Mail