YuLiang Liu, better known online as Cyber YuYu, is a Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist whose work comments on the relationships between identity, society, and exclusion. Utilizing his own image, he directly confronts and exposes the types of gazes and subjects that have traditionally been granted the privilege of representation throughout art history, and draws explicit attention to those that have been intentionally suppressed.
SuperRare Content Strategist Oli Scialdone interviewed YuYu about power, pain, appropriation, and his new collection, “GAG.”
Oli Scialdone: In your artwork, you recontextualize pieces from the Western canon by inserting yourself into the frame. Can you tell me a little about what it means to juxtapose yourself with these works?
Cyber YuYu: Professor Jun once wrote in the context of my work, “a queer and post-colonial rewriting of the loving, desiring, warlike body, which deconstructs the visual representations at the foundation of hetero-centric Western cultures,” and I have never felt more understood before. For centuries, art has been a matrix of fabrication, reinforcement, and embellishment of social norms, norms that often saw danger in representation and intentionally excluded people like me. Through my practice, I position myself as an intruder, a character that does not belong yet somehow tricks the viewer to believe it has always been there, to pinpoint those manifestations.
Looking back to when I first started exploring this method, I realize I wasn’t fully aware of the conceptual layers I could develop with it. At first, it seemed like a protest, a way for me to navigate living in a new environment different from what I was accustomed to. Having just moved to Germany from Taiwan, where I was born and raised, creative expression seemed to be the only outlet I could use to express my emotional frustration. Art offers a unique way of communicating universally—even without being able to properly speak a language, you know you can be seen and heard.
As the first cultural shocks started to recede and I got the chance to delve deeper into the fundamentals of the issues I was exploring, it became apparent that I was not just looking to denounce or criticize the norms that regulate our behaviors, but instead, I am more intrigued by the idea of inventing alternative and provocative identifications to resist dominant patterns and narratives. In juxtaposing myself with these works I have found a balanced way to disturb perceptions and provoke reactions, but in parallel, to study and understand the culture of the place I live my life and build my career. For some, it might seem as if I denounce the cultural validity of those works, or the historical significance of the artists behind them. In reality, I have an immense amount of respect for the artists’ crafts, I am in love with the works I am re-interpreting. And part of this new interpretation is an homage, an attempt to bring them to today and allow them to re-flourish, centuries after their initial creation.
Reposted from: superrare.com