Hongjie Yang: I focus on work that examines the dichotomy between nature and culture. I look at intervention and non-intervention, as intervention itself can be seen as part of a natural process. Many of my works search for a new class of aesthetics which transcends the divide between the power of human and nature. This parallel yet seemingly contradictory use of forms and materials allows mystery to rise. The works are like an archaeological dig, a discovery of something ancient which at the same time projects forward; like a snakelike rock repeatedly shedding its skin to create a newer, more refined version of itself.
It is through transformation that we find enlightenment. In my view, nature as we know it is coming to an end. We humans are, and always will be, a part of the whole natural system. There are forces which move in opposition to one another, often set into motion by our own actions, but these forces are contained within the larger system of growth and decline, life and death, light and dark, order and chaos – the dualities of existence. It is the convergence of these forces that is revealed through my work.
In the past 12 years I lived abroad in many cities and visited many countries. I feel lucky that I am able to experience a world with cultures, ranging from a nation of immigrants to Europe’s rich history, with its different languages and cultural backgrounds. In the European design scene, you can meet talented people from all over the world with amazing personal stories. Both East and West have played big parts in my life – and in understanding both of them I find inspiration. These experiences made me as a person and a designer, and I am still evolving. After a while, I stopped seeing design as a set of skills, rather it has become something very personal, a part of me. A journey of self-discovery.
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