Yi Ying: The Fable of Body
The work of Han Xiao are phtos about the haman body, which may be called Imaging Art. Han Xiao asks whether his transsexual operation or cosmetic surgery could be considered as contemporary artist work. The answer is “Yes”,but with certain conditions. Han Xiao knows such conditions,namely transforming action to the visual expression. Without visual images, we could not judge such action.Though his action itself is visual, he transforms a body to another one with different value which are firstly appeared visually.
The features of Imaging Art seemingly record fabricated facts truly through three methods ,namely direct recording fabricated facts ,representation construction and tansferring imagae.Firstly, the artist design and fabricated facts are recorded and transmitted throngh images .Such concept resemmbles the action art or performance art.However, the focus lies in the subjectivity of the photographer.Lens is the extension of subjtct’s body ,while the fictional facts represent the is the result of body intentionality. Secondly, images show the true presentation.Actually, images are not fact or the are displayed on the appearance of truth, but the image is not the case or real itself.Both world outlook and ideology indicate the comprehensive imaination.Meanwhile ,both of them need to be interpreted in a comprehensive and pictrorial manner .Each image is an ideology.Thirdly,in the sight society,producing images is not a kind of art creation.Similar to symbols,images indivate the meaning of vreation.Through context transposition, artistic teansfer reveals the intrinisic meaning of producing.Here ,it is not genneral artistic creation,but transfering cultural symbol.Etiquttte is the action symbols and symbol is the static Etiquette. Etiquette emphasizes the self-identity of social status,while teansfer is a kind of inteoducing heterogeneous symbol and a values displacement.
Han Xiao’s works are all related to the above three aspects. Firstly, the object of images is a certain action. Without fabricate, such action is beyond common sense and judgement. Experience presentation is the focal point of action art, which doesn’t identify the fact itself, but feel the experience from the facts. Such presentation resembles the process of cosmetic surgery and transsexual operation presenting in images that would strongly stimulate the consciousness of audiences. Objects will be separated from their originality. Audiences will associate objects with themselves. Secondly, images are a kind of representation, and even a real representation likes photos. The reality of photo presentation is undoubted, while stories behind images are crucial. Images record the surface of objects and the surface doesn’t reflect the seesnce of objects. However, the essence doesn’t refer to cause and effect covered up by the surface, but punctum and fraction—unknown power relationship and cultural regulation. One photo can be regarded as the work of Han Xiao. Although this photo is neither shot by him nor a processing action, it is an action result. A man is transferred to a woman through the transsexual operation. The transsexual is so beautiful that implies both visual effect and ethical puzzle. The construction of representation is always attractive phenomena. However, more attractive phenomena, more potential will be beyond the represetation itseolf. This involves in the third aspect—transferring image. Thansfer implies the transformation of meaning. Image becomes a symbol and narrates another thing. This is the most important meaning of Han Xiao’s works.
Both plastic and transsexual surgery change human bodies. Body is a natural offspring. Natural is originally the object of a subject, while the subject is a human. Body is a subject carrier and natural representation. Different from animal’s body, human body has consciousness and initiative. The initiative relationship between humans and the world is carried out through human body. Body neither simply exists physically nor spiritually. Body existing physically and awareness existing spiritually reside inseparably in the body. Body is not purely a natural object because consciousness and awareness are related to the world. After body affecting nature, body leaves marks in nature. Meanwhile, the consciousness and awareness of body counteract body. When body touches the world, the world touches body too. The world and the subject cast on each other. In interaction with the world, body is passive. Although dynamic body firstly and actively touches the world, the world exists before the body. Once consciousness and awareness touch the world through natural and simple body, the world existing before the body would affect body. Body is gradually changed to the world’s body and then loses its nature and purity. For body is constructive ordinary people don’t know their primitive body. They consider the body of social construction as the natural one. During the growth, the natural property of body is gradually concealed by the world. However, the body language doesn’t disappear. The system of body and society would be unified so that body becomes a part of a society. This is also the sufficient construction of body. Or otherwise, there are unbridgeable chasms. Under certain conditions, chasms would transfer to confrontation to change the body or the world. The symbol system of the world is appointed and regulated, and formed in last decade centuries before individual body existing. However, such symbol system applies to .Homogeneous individual body and the mandatory rules of the world impose on all human beings. It is the case of gender construction. Women are constructed by men as women. Due to different bodies, women apperceive the world differently. So under the natural conditions, human would become different gender subjects and be developed according to gender. Why women are women is not the free choice of the body, but constructed by men. We presume the world’s rules are formulated by men. Women body would become the objectification of men.”A girl will doll herself up for him who loves her” is a viewpoint of men. Gazed by men, women change a body part to adapt to the need of the rules. Of course, the subject consciousness awakened would widen the bridging chasms, with a request to return to the original body or change formulated rules. The natural status of body would be changed by the world’s rules. Body is suppressed, so is spirit depend on body. Is it possible for body to return to its essence? In the gender body, gender identity is always blurred somewhere. The gender awareness doesn’t refer to sole gender body. Such body would inevitably conflict with the world’s rules during the growth, either be a male or female. Unconscious sexual impulsion would be suppressed. In the reality, it demonstrates as discrimination, marginalization, discipline and obedience.
Here, we come back to Han Xiao’s photos——a site of plastic surgery, a contrast image before and after transsexual surgery…Both plastic surgery and transsexual surgery are related to body change. The former changes body’s natural condition, while the latter is about a body returning to its nature. However, neither motivation is called by nature, but a confrontation with discipline. Superficially, Plastic surgery pursues beauty, but against the rule that nature itself is beauty. The beauty standards are essentially not nature. We can only change the body to respond the world’s rules because the discipline of beauty can’t be altered. The latter contains double meanings. If the society could treat gender difference equally, the body doesn’t need to be changed. It can freely exist in the natural condition. Sex change implies the body’s compromise discarding its existence and transferring to a person in line with the world’s requirements. On the other hand, it means a return to nature. While a body appears as a gender, its nature may be an opposite one. To counteract the discipline, body returns to the original and nature body covered. For body sex change may experience different discipline and for him releases double pressures of nature and discipline. Men return to their human nature.
A photo is an ideology, superficially, we see its "imaging" world, but this is only an entrance to the world. We can see the trauma of the body and see Han Xiao’s flair.However,with such complexity meaning,we hardly understand this phpto.As to a photo ,more valuable less function.Therefore,the function of Han Xiao’s photo could be ignored. We should enter their meaning world ,face body trauma,transcend disciplinend body ,and ponder on the possililty of a return to nature.