Capsule Shanghai is pleased to participate to the Viewing Room of Frieze New York 2020 with a solo project by Chinese artist Gao Yuan (b. 1986).
Presented in the Viewing Room is Gao Yuan's latest animation effort, the dreamlike animation titled Cloud of the Unknown (2017–2019), and a selection of new paintings that form the background of the short movie. Gao Yuan's artistic practice is centered around the complementary relationship between animation and painting, illustrating the temporal associations between the two through homogeneous imagery and rich symbols. Gao Yuan's long-term commitment to creating animations with paintings as backdrops is evident in the length of time it takes to produce each animated film. As such, her previous animation, Lunar Dial, was realised over 6 years (2010–2016). Now, Gao Yuan is embarking on another ambitious project–her first feature-length film. The works on show at Frieze include paintings incorporated as backdrops in the animation Cloud of the Unknown. Furthermore, on display will be new paintings realized specifically for Frieze NY that will be later added in the feature-length film currently in the making.
The project sheds light on her specific laborious working process from writing the script and realising the painted scenes to the digitalization leading to the execution of the movie.
Comprised of individual paintings, Cloud of the Unknown glows in a hazy twilight as it follows the narrative of the main character through peculiar experiences lingering between dream and reality. Closely collaborating with her partner, Anita Pan–composer, sound technician, and now actor in Cloud of the Unknown–Gao Yuan creates fictitious stories mirroring specific time periods of her life. Her works serve as literal time capsules, each encapsulating hours of intense labour to produce each animation, but also intertwined with the internal, lived life.
Through Gao Yuan's command of narrative, colour, and the surreal, she is able to create a personal yet intricately nuanced understanding of one's relationship to dreamscapes amidst the constant flux in questioning one's idea of reality.