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Revolutionising Art with Wearable Sculptures and Avant-Garde Narratives:
An IZLAND Exclusive Interview with Moyu Yang

Moyu’s multidisciplinary art seamlessly merges sculpture, set design, performance, film, and fashion, creating immersive narratives inspired by daily life and personal experiences. Her "Presence" series, inspired by self-healing and women's physiological structures, features interactive, wearable sculptures symbolizing female empowerment. Balancing diverse artistic disciplines, Moyu’s work evolves naturally, enriched by collaborations with other artists. Her innovative use of materials like latex and 3D printing enhances her thematic exploration. Upcoming projects continue to build on themes of female strength and personal connection, influenced by her life and surroundings.

Written by Amy Woodroffe
26.06.2024

Moyu Yang

Izland Interview: Moyu Yang

Moyu, your work spans across various mediums including sculpture, set design, performance, film, and fashion. Can you share with us what drives your multidisciplinary approach to art?


The way I'm working on my project is based upon my educational background in fine art alongside my knowledge of film creation within my major during my bachelor's degree. I'm always trying to tell a story through my work and give audiences a full experience to process my art. Each work, through different mediums (like set design, lighting, andchoreography), attempts to achieve different outcomes and lets people better understand my project and the story I'm looking to convey. Throughout my projects and exhibitions, I like to combine this integration of mediums to create a greater effect on a person's emotional and sensory response to what they are seeing, hearing, or touching. Furthermore, when you step back to review the work through a wider lens, it still provides a clear picture, pathway, and idea behind the logical development process.

 

How do you balance your work across different disciplines to create a cohesive artistic expression?
 

For me, this expression in my artwork just happened very naturally. Every project has taken inspiration from my daily scene and the environment around me. These elements happen in a very authentic way and naturally dissolve into my artwork; gradually, the cohesive artistic expression has been strengthened through each project. I balance my work across a variety of artistic disciplines, such as my background in film, which has influenced my creativity in telling a story and setting a scene for exhibitions in relation to set design, lighting, and choreography of the people involved. My interest in fashion as an artistic discipline can be seen through my love for sculpting, where my recent work shows art pieces that not only represent aspects of the female bodily form but also act as wearable sculptures to coincide with one's outfit of choice. In addition, I would say that drawing and photography have also influenced my work as a discipline of art and are vital in forming the ideas behind each new project. Throughout my Master's, I was further inspired by the other artists around me who specialized in different disciplines as they helped influence my art process, and our collaboration for exhibitions has allowed my freedom to express a range of thought processes to come to fruition resulting in a more cohesive artistic expression.


Your work has been described as exploring the limits of the human body and consciousness. What sparked your interest in these themes?
 

Originally, it came from my own daily self-practice. The book "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolie mentions a meditation method for self-healing: lie in bed and completely relax your body and devote your full consciousness to a certain point in your body, allowing consciousness to flow through you. Sometimes, I strongly feel the energy of life in various parts of my body, letting my consciousness flow through each section like a wave repeatedly. Through repeated practice, I see my inner body as an integrated energy field; this is a "Presence" state. It was also the first step that encouraged me to focus on my body and mind and practice self-cultivation. It is this experience driver that drew me to the theme central to the Presence series and expresses my self-cultivation experience through visual entities

 

Let's discuss your Presence series. Can you describe your process for creating a piece? What steps do you take to transform your ideas into tangible art?
 

Last year, I read a book called "Body by Me" by Sheila de Liz. This book examines the elaborate and unique physiological structure of women and the common physiological health problems that may occur amongst them. The section of the book explaining the anatomy and process of the female uterus and reproductive system intrigued me the most, which led to my pursuit of more knowledge on this topic of the body and its biological functions, including my own. 
 

After drawing many sketches and analyzing my own body structure and posture, I tried to create a form of wearable sculpture to symbolize the unique reproductive structural system of women and the physiological reaction behind it. The aim of this piece was to create something that interacted with the body in a wearable sculptured medium that any viewer can try themselves. It is intended to represent the visual qualities of the female body; whether it is seen as weak or strong is up to the interpretation of the person viewing my art. One may see this sculpture and see it represents all life and the strength behind every person, or perhaps one may interpret this piece as fragile; the sculpture itself, as well as the reproductive system of women and the topic surrounding their identity and conformity to social norms (constraints it puts on women to procreate), are both fragile. The next step in my process is the production of 3D models and the selection and use of materials that conform to the 'gender' theme, such as latex, a material considered to be sexualized throughout society. The result is a complete visual presentation in the form of tangible, wearable art. 

 

How do you hope your Presence series impacts viewers, and what kind of reaction have you received so far?
 

In Artsect Gallery's "Reveal the Boundless Subtle," I exhibited my first three pieces of the Presence series. Hanging from the ceiling in the gallery, Presence 001 was presented, allowing audiences to wear it if they so desired.  When the artwork allows viewers to interact with it, it gives people more of a chance to really experience my work.  In their moment of identification with the other, they remain themselves in a way that is symphonic and echoing between body and spirit. Compared with other sculptures I exhibited in the gallery before as an object, this interactive work in the exhibition space has more opportunities to communicate with the audience and open up their imagination while forming a new sense of communication with myself and the people experiencing it.
 

I believe my work in this series has had an impact on the viewers and will continue to do so in the following exhibitions where my series will continue. It is putting power back into the hands of women who have long been objectified by a male-dominated society. This series, instead of objectifying women in a derogatory way, looks to show objects that represent the magnificence of women and their power in a positive light. The feedback I've received so far has been so lovely that it gives me more inspiration to create more meaningful work and contribute further to the UK art community; I want to give more opportunities to other artists to display their ideas through further self/co-created exhibitions here in London. It's important for us all to support each other where possible, and that is one thing I love about the UK; it's so inclusive and supportive of expression, which doesn't exist in the same way back in China. 
 

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Moyu Yang

Collaboration seems integral to your practice. Can you discuss how collaboration enriches your creative vision and process?


Collaboration has always allowed me to see different perspectives through other artists' working methods. As each artist cultivates their own unique vision and field of expertise, the collaboration process becomes a rich exchange of ideas. I'm able to share and combine our concepts, leading to a fusion of creativity. When the final work emerges, it embodies diverse influences from different artists, achieving a harmonious balance and integration. This process not only broadens my creative horizon but also enhances the overall quality and innovation of the work.

 

Can you share any memorable moments or reactions from visitors to the exhibition?
 

In Artsect Gallery's "Reveal the Boundless Subtle," I exhibited my first three pieces of the Presence series. Hanging from the ceiling in the gallery, Presence 001 was presented, allowing audiences to wear it if they so desired.  When the artwork allows viewers to interact with it, it gives people more of a chance to really experience my work.  In their moment of identification with the other, they remain themselves in a way that is symphonic and echoing between body and spirit. Compared with other sculptures I exhibited in the gallery before as an object, this interactive work in the exhibition space has more opportunities to communicate with the audience and open up their imagination while forming a new sense of communication with myself and the people experiencing it.
 

I believe my work in this series has had an impact on the viewers and will continue to do so in the following exhibitions where my series will continue. It is putting power back into the hands of women who have long been objectified by a male-dominated society. This series, instead of objectifying women in a derogatory way, looks to show objects that represent the magnificence of women and their power in a positive light. The feedback I've received so far has been so lovely that it gives me more inspiration to create more meaningful work and contribute further to the UK art community; I want to give more opportunities to other artists to display their ideas through further self/co-created exhibitions here in London. It's important for us all to support each other where possible, and that is one thing I love about the UK; it's so inclusive and supportive of expression, which doesn't exist in the same way back in China. 

 

What’s next for you? Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re excited about?
 

I have not set a specific task or theme for myself as I am influenced by my own life and surroundings as time moves forward. As mentioned in the previous statement, I usually try to visualise the spiritual field hidden in the inner unconscious world, then with use of various mediums, transform these ideas into a more natural physiological result which conveys my artistic language in a new way.
 

The use of each kind of media in my exhibitions, such as music for sound, lighting for visuals, and materials for touch, helps to change people's sensory balance and produce different psychological effects and ways of recognizing and reacting to the external world. I can't predict my direction for this work, as this depends on the direction of my life and the changes in the environment in the next few years, but of course, I will try to explore new materials and how to combine them with my current use of 3D printing and latex materials, to complement my main material and create a stronger and more unified style and vision to my artwork.

 

And lastly, what upcoming projects or exhibitions are you currently working on, and how do they build upon your previous work?
 

I haven't got a planned exhibition lined up currently, as I have only just exhibited 'Existing in Shadowland' at Artsect Gallery. However, now that the six pieces of my Presence series are complete, I intend to showcase them further in other exhibitions curated by my connections and friends within the London art scene. A lot of work went into my last show, which included 18 artists of various talents. To organize and create such an event takes a lot of time and attention to detail, therefore, I feel the next one needs even more thought and time put into it to truly consider what I want the exhibition to represent and which artists I would like to include who will contribute to the overall quality and intended theme.
 

To follow on from this project and still build upon the theme of the power of women and its effect on my own life, I am currently experimenting with a new process called plaster casting. My mom often sent me snacks from China that I used to have as a child, and this project focuses on re-creating this snack in a sculpted form. I would often find myself eating this snack here in London when I was very tired or feeling upset. It always reminded me of my hometown, my connection to my mom, and her absence from me over the last four years. It is a symbol that keeps me strong and reminds me of the power I've received from my mom; this drives me to succeed here in the UK, collaborate more with the art community, and contribute all I can to the people around me while encouraging creativity through their work.

Click to follow Moyu Yang: @m0m0999999999

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