Hao Guo hates the system. He wants to change it but is less optimistic than that, and too lazy. He wants to turn things upside down, even if it is only a 3D rendering of himself. He has to keep moving, avoid standing still, turning grey and walking dead. He is all about the systems of power that enslave us and examining these. His work is all about the idea, it is conceptual and complex.
James Deutsher will make art about pretty much anything. It is a way of looking at the world and examining the conditions under which we live. It is a way of making sense of the world on an inward and collective level, about the together-ness of things and the distance between things. His work stands as some symbolic idea of the way the world exists, open and free, full of tyranny and coke and possibilities and the turtle he had as a child. It’s not about making a definitive statement, but meditations on the logic of the universe and the individual.
Together Hao and James like to have tea and make work about how they relate to each other, how they navigate the system, the world and the universe. At the point that they began working for a show in Singapore with p-10, both artist where considering the conflict between individual will and the greater systems we are born into. James had been writing and trying to think about freedom and Hao had been reading about Wang Xiaobo’s pig.
In a 3D animation created on Hao’s MacBook, James and Hao engage in an endless snowball fight, naked and with no penis. The struggle is frustrating and perpetual, they are two humans living out some kind of pre-conditioned necessity to destroy each other or be destroyed. Neither uses imagination to try to beat each other but they both feel an unrelenting impetus to destroy what is similar to them. What’s been taken away and why does this game seem so ingrained, hereditary? Maybe this is the beginning, primitive stage of their evolution, and as more complex, insidious forms of oppression and control emerge (maybe one will then beat the other), they will develop an ego, a penis and an imagination. Is this the sacrifice?
They have collected over 300 images of peoples faces from the internet. The face of Damo Suzuki next to Charles Darwin next to Osama bin Laden next to Deleuze, everyone they could think of. It is about accessibility and openness and confusion and ego and the society. It is like the internet as some cosmic tool that takes everything back to the open form-less nebula. It is about how the global operates and hierarchy and what has been before and what is to come. How an individual makes his way, how the collective works and how they are in this world.
Hao and James have combined their practices quite systematically for a large text painting that reads ‘HERO’ in Mandarin. James has painted the background like the view of form-forming in deep space. It gives surfaces a sense of infinity and connects objects on this planet with the galactic expanse of the cosmos. As people, we exist because of the distance between our earth and the sun, the delicate atmosphere that encases us and the relatively calm activity of out immediate solar system. Hao has painted his ‘HERO’ work before. He paints ‘HERO’ in red on a canvas, and tilts the canvas to one side. He then repeats this action- painting the character four times and tipping it towards the four sides of the canvas. This is a metaphor for the uphill battle of the hero, the state of the human condition. The struggle for what? We might know what we are struggling against, or what we are fighting for, but this perpetuallity of the human machine, well, we must navigate out own way and make anew those things which define us.