Sisyphus' Canvas - Video Installations by Yawen Hu

Sisyphus' Canvas - Video Installations by Yawen Hu

Sisyphus' Canvas - Video Installations by Yawen Hu

This work is a transition from paintings to video works. I was painting four big paintings and I had to go to the studio to paint them. I didn’t want to be restricted to the place I work. I thought why not bring the canvas into the outside world and see what the environment would do to the canvas.

 The first filming began as an exploration. I carried the canvas out and didn’t make plans for where to go or what to do. We filmed along our ways. We ended up in this decayed industrial storage location and factory in red hook. And I improvised actions with the canvas as an immediate response to the environment.

I was stunned by this interior that was like a palace for old used industrial gadgets to rest as sleeping beauties. It was otherworldly to me and I was so thrilled about this accident discovery that it terrified me and at that moment I was there, I felt this place was like a disguised trap that allured me to keep going and swallowed me eventually.

I continued to let improvisation take the lead of this series of work. So of course, not every time was successful. There were times I just wondered around on the streets with my canvas in Queens, I thought there would be breathtaking hidden corners waiting my discovery but that wasn’t always.

 While making these videos, the time I was carrying the canvas was a true labor. The weight became heavier and heavier, I felt myself as Sisyphus, redeeming my sins of my nature attraction to suffering. In the end, I wanted to bring this level to an extreme, almost as a Sadhu, I carried this act as an punishment. The last piece was to carry the canvas and walk back and forth until I fall. I wanted to see the physical decay in myself with time in every ten year. If I walked for a few hours till I fall in my 20s, maybe an hour in my 40s, etc and eventually a few seconds in my 80s. But reality is always different from expectations, when I was walking at the beach, I realized there would be no way for me to fall or lose balance unless I passed out or be dead. So I tripped myself after two hours.

Filmed by Yingyu Liu, Eun Kyun Jung, Ho Chan, Chenan Hwang, Mingyue Zhang, Xinyu Zhang.

Narrated by Sarah Sunday.

Written and edited by Yawen Hu

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