IN THE WORK OF CHINESE ARTIST YING WEI, MATHEMATICAL ALGORITHMS AND EASTERN PHILO-SOPHY SEEM TO HAVE A SHARED GOAL
CARMEN HUST | ARTICULATE #23 | APR 2020
Chinese artist Ying Wei (b. 1974) wants to create artworks that allows him to face death. In the opinion of Ying Wei art is philosophy. According to Wei, aesthetics in the traditional sense is superficial and mediocre. After feeling the boredom and absurdity of life, Wei tried to find a new meaning of life to establish the value of his existence. Wei needed a new way of seeing the world. He tried to use art to construct a brand-new, his own Worldview – an independent philosophical space.
Wei has been engaged in digital film and television creation in the Chinese official media for a long time. When he inadvertently saw a model created by an American artist using 3D printing in 2015, Wei realized that this was an opportunity to create a new world – Using digital art to make sculpture can break the mindset of traditional painting and sculpture, and may have the opportunity to produce a brand new artistic language. Wei quit his official job around 2016 and fully got himself involved to his experiment.
Due to the experimental approach, most of the work of Ying Wei have emerged on their own. Since it is an experiment, he tries to create it in a cynical way similar to Dada — rejecting all traditional sculpture techniques and modes, giving up artificial control as much as possible, and trying to experiment with various fractal geometric formulas by computer. At this time a magical world emerged. Starting from the meta-morphology(元形态Metamorphism）, the mathematical graphics algorithm can grow a model structure far beyond human imagination, showing a very high energy density.
From the perspective of traditional Chinese aesthetics, it is perfectly natural! Thus, software algorithms make Ying Wei the god of the rolling dice! Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) stated that "the thing itself is unknowable". Ying Wei realized that human subjective will just prevent human race from touching the true world.
“Only by crossing ourselves we can produce real innovation. When we all know the world and understand the world, the brain must have a logical framework to help us better understand this chaotic world. But at the same time, once this thinking mode is formed, it will also affect our view of the world. Formed a fixed inertial thinking. This way of thinking in turn limits our creativity. Innovation is to break this wall in the mind. Crossing ourselves means transcending the way of thinking.”
When asked about how Ying Wei chooses his subject, he explains that he’s got a point: the method is the purpose. Like Zen poetry says, “No road is Zhaozhou” (where there is no way there is a way). His themes and methods are related to ancient Eastern philosophy, especially Zen. The founder of the Behance Asia team Ivan Pesic said, "Ying Wei is the master of digital zen". In his works, mathematical algorithms and Eastern philosophy seem to have the same goal. It is a mysterious beauty iteratively generated from a high-dimensional perspective, which makes people realize a mysterious power. What Ying Wei wants to do is to explore the origin of the universe, liberate people from the traditional rationalism and the suppression of social order, and experience the most primitive will of life without being limited by human instinct. Human species is just a natural phenomenon. Wei states that we do not belong to humans alone.
“We, like every grain of sand, originate from stardust and belong to the entire universe! We must be free from narrow humanity and humanistic arrogance, transcend our own experience limitations, transcend the subjective world, reach the world of the thing itself, and realize it like the Buddha. Only then can we lead to true freedom!”
Talking about the key elements in creating a good composition, the real problem isn’t related to beauty. According to Wei, art must have the power to change people's thinking! Simplifying the concept into breaking a person’s simpathy（three views in outlooks of world, life and values). That is to be able to shake and re-establish the logical framework of others' thinking.
Talking about the key elements in creating a good composition, the real problem isn’t related to beauty. According to Wei, art must have the power to change people's thinking! Simplifying the concept into breaking a person’s simpathy（three views in outlooks of world, life and values). That is to be able to shake and re-establish the logical framework of others' thinking. Make people accept the rules of the game you have established, or you will always be a second-rate imitator. The essence of creation is to create oneself. It is in the constant creation that the artist polishes his soul and completes the meaning of his life. Each of us is a complex and independent individual. As long as we can truly think independently, dare to break old habits, and be loyal to what we love, we must have originality and not be demanding, he explains. Ying Wei is utterly inspired by the Rumanian sculptor Brancusi (1876-1957), the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti (1909-1966), the German painter Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945), and the Chinese artists MiDi and XuWei.
The Polish multimedia artist Piotr Rymer on Behance also inspired him quite a lot. According to Wei, each artist is a small universe, and the works are just illustrations of their spiritual universe and marks of thought. What we can see forever is only a patch of light (a small part of precious things). What's more important is how we construct our own small universe. If you only have works but don't build a complete philosophical universe, your works will not have real power, he explains.
This article about Ying Wei takes part of magazine, ARTICULATE #23. Read, download or order your print version of the full publication below