Pig Art without the presence of the Pig?
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
– Albert Einstein
“Perhaps one would not notice the presence of Pigs on the first glance of my pig art on this gallery wall, but only if one sees more than his eyes could tell, then he would meet the pigs that are imprinted in his mind.” – artist Anita Yan Wong
February 5th 2019 marks the Chinese New Year, which brings our attention to the Pig.
According to Chinese Zodiac story, the first God in heaven – Jade Emperor decided the order of the years by the time when the 12 animals arrived in a race to the great meeting. The Pig came in last because he overslept. Legend has it that just as the emperor was about to call it a day, an oink was heard from a little Pig. It is likewise no one noticed the presence of the pig when they first arrived the gallery wall titled: “The curious pigs”.
“There are NO pigs in the pig art?” one viewer mumbled.
"Seeing is believing" may not always be true in this digital age we are living in, perhaps this statement was long discovered by scientist Einstein. “Objective reality is an illusion: it is beyond what we can perceive.” Not merely is Einstein the first one to point out the reality of what we see is not always what they are; long before the digital age, Galileo Galilei also wondered if our lives are lived entirely in our heads. “I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on reside in consciousness. Hence if the living creature were removed, all these qualities would be annihilated.”
How much of our lives are lived in our own heads?
Do we measure visual the same way we measure our unconsciousness, memories, dreams, emotions, and sensations? What is Reality?
If these statements are true, the real question to us, whom are living in the digital art age, should really be– How the viewers should visit art with their senses instead of viewing art with their eyes in this century where “seeing is not believing”?
But how do we do so? After all, we are “used to” centuries of “seeing” art with our eye.
“The Curious Pig” is an *commercial fine art series created by Chinese American artist Anita Yan Wong. It consist a total of five pink toned washed out photos, featuring five famous pigs without showing the Pig itself. By asking the question – What comes to our mind when we think of the Pig? The artist found out that first pictures and ideas that come to a person’s mind are not the reality or the actual animal itself; it is instead stories and behaviors from our imaginary pigs from story books, films and pop cultures.
Wong says, “The Curious Pigs celebrates the human curiosity and imaginations through investigation of the subject – Pig.” Each photograph features a pig product that is widely consumed in the world but is rarely recognized by anyone as a product made from Pigs. The fainted pink wash effects in these photographs indicate our fainted memories of what reality lies. The artist created this art series in celebration of the Pig year and “as a new good habits of this new year” – to challenge the viewers not only view art with their eyes but to sense art and look into a deeper reality.
*Definitions of Commercial Fine Art – digital modification from actual Ads
"Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire." Bernard Williams.
The flamed match represents the third little pig, a match is small yet mighty.
So, what are our perceptions of pig?
Why does pig – an animal that is intelligent and curious in nature in reality symbolizes laziness and greed in many different cultures or good luck, wealth and fertility in another? Is reality merely an illusion and our understanding of the world all by-products of our imagination? In celebrating the Pig year, Chinese American artist Anita Yan Wong created a series of artworks
Titles of the artworks in the orders from left to right are:
1)"The three little pigs” represented by three matches (symbolizes intelligent nature of pig)
2)“Miss piggy” represented by face mask sheets (symbolizes beauty in contrast to the pig)
3)“Babe” represented by 2 photography film rolls shaped as the Pig’s nose (symbolizes pigs in film and pop cultures)
4)“Peppa” represented by a crayon (symbolizes the child like sincerity of pigs in many children’s books)
5)“Olivia” represented by a bone china tea cup (symbolizes Cultural social interactions connecting reality to our imaginations and human social behaviors)
Does our imagination becomes our reality? Does it shape the way we see our reality, and therefore, affects the way we see, think and create?
Let your imagination run wild!
Happy Pig Year 2019!
– Anita Yan Wong