The A-Z Series continues. Meet the artists part of Young Blood Initiative, the ‘A-Z series’ will give our readers to get to know a bit about the artists and their inspirations.
Kicking off the A-Z Series with London-based artist, Bettina Fung!
A for…. Animation
I love animation, my degree was in animation. The thread (not that there needs to be one) throughout my artistic practice from the beginning till now is movement, which is pretty integral in animation, but it is the thought that animation is playing with frame that really opened my mind and to different ways of creating.
B for….Bucher Heidi
I first saw Heidi Bucher’s work I first saw Heidi Bucher’s work in Nottingham Contemporary (UK) and it was her process of creating these plastic skins of rooms that I was captivated by. She would first carefully apply gauze and liquid latex on the space (usually in old buildings), caressing the walls or floors by hand with the liquid latex and just before it dries hard she would peel these skins off these rooms and resulted in these ghostly skins that captured impressions and residue of the space and makes me think about memories and the thought of what the rooms had experience and seen in the past.
Here is a video of her in action:
C for… Collectivity
I am interested in how we can survive and thrive together collectively, instead of being in competition with each other.
D for… Drawing
Artist Bettina Fung. The Space Between The Lines, a performance drawing created in 2016. Photo by Andre LL
E for… Empathy
F for… the Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain
G for… Gysin Brion
Brion Gysin (1916-1986) had many innovative ideas and clearly contributed to the 20th century avant-garde. He was a multifaceted artist who inspired many from the Beat Generation and mostly known for his association with William S Burroughs. His paintings and calligraphic abstractions that drew from Japanese and Arabic scripts are captivating and gorgeous, but they are not merely decorative or Orientalist, in these works Gysin treated written words as the abstract language of painting and attempted to fuse writing and painting into a single complex system of mark-making. He connected the notion of a grid to Kabbalistic magic, and other forms of storage and representation of knowledge such as the punch-card arrays of early computers. He pioneered the cut-up technique, which Burroughs took up on and the concept of permutated poems. On top of that, he co-invented the Dream Machine, a drug-free trance-inducing device constructed from a light source inside a perforated cylinder rotating on a turntable.
Here is a video of him doing his thing:
H for…Hsieh Tehching 謝德慶
“Doing art, doing life, is also doing time” and Hsieh is someone who is really good at passing time. I was inspired by the determination that was required in his yearlong performances and his work taught me how art could be a way to understand life.
Here is a video of a talk he did in 2018:
I for… Ink
Shige doing his thing. Image from CardinalGuzman.wordpress.com
I am a fan of tattoos and the art of tattooing and am interested in its history and its different meanings and rituals. I am fascinated by drawing on the body and how it distorts lines. When I grow up I want to be a tattooist. I also think it is a great way of collecting artworks. Having said all that, I actually still don’t have a tattoo yet due to overthinking and I feel that I cannot learn this art form (and I don’t know who is willing to teach me) until I have tattoos. One of the tattooists I admire is Shige (picture above) from Yellow Blaze in Osaka, whom I have seen work live. His tattoos are lively and captivating.
J for… Jam Sessions
Artist Bettina Fung. Invoking Resonance, her two hour jam session with Nico Morcillo at Un Festival Vrrrr 2016, France. Photo courtesy of Hifiklub
I enjoy drawing as if I am improvising with an instrument, playing lines instead of notes. I have a strong relationship with music and have jammed with musicians in the past, where I drew as they improvise with me.
K for… Kungfu
I practice martial arts and am learning tai chi quan, praying mantis and xin yi lui he quan.
L for… Lorde Audre
From “Your silence cannot protect you” to “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”, Lorde’s writing is empowering.
M for… Mongolian throat singing
It is pretty awesome when you can produce multiple pitches simultaneously.
N for… Noodles
I love eating noodles. Laksa (a spicy noodle soup from Southeast Asia) is not just a favourite but has an interesting origin. Stemming from the Peranakan culture it is the embodiment of cultural exchanges. Its name is also interesting. Recently I learnt that the word laksa has a Persian origin, where lakhsha meaning “slippery” in old Persian, was apparently also used to describe noodles. There is a theory that suggests that noodles is a Persian invention and it would appear that there are many noodle type dishes across the Middle East, Central Asia and Europe, all with names that sound very similar to lakhsha, for example the Russian lapsha, the Jewish lokshen, the Afghan lakhchak, the Lithunian Lakštiniai and the Ukrainian lokshina.
O for… Occult – the hidden things, mysterious things, things that are not on the surface, invisible but could be felt.
P for… Professors like Ien Ang, who is a professor in cultural studies. Her work in identity politics, migration, ethnicity and nationalism helped me think a lot about my identity and being in-between two cultures, born in one and grew up in another.
Q for…Queens of the Stone Age
R for…Riot Grrrl
S for… Silence
“There is no such thing as silence” as John Cage pointed out, but if we don’t take it so literally, there are many ways to think of silence. From the awkward tension between people when there is nothing to say to a way to resist manically talking at each other, silence welcomes listening, creates space of stillness that allows us to reconnect to ourselves. Silence can be calming, a sanctuary. However it can also be heavy, harming us in situations where we remain silent and not speak our minds.
T for… Tentacularity
In Donna Harraway’s words: “The tentacular are not disembodied figures; they are cnidarians, spiders, fingery beings like humans and raccoons, squid, jellyfish, neural extravaganzas, fibrous entities, flagellated beings, myofibril braids, matted and felted microbial and fungal tangles, probing creepers, swelling roots, reaching and climbing tendrilled ones. The tentacular are also nets and networks, it critters, in and out of clouds. Tentacularity is about life lived along lines — and such a wealth of lines — not at points, not in spheres. “The inhabitants of the world, creatures of all kinds, human and non-human, are wayfarers”; generations are like “a series of interlaced trails.”
I really like that she mentioned lines and like the imagery she created, human and non-human crossing paths and coexisting together.
U for… Uncertainty
Learning to make friends with uncertainty is important.
V for… Violet
As to “The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.” by Tennessee Williams in “Camino Real”, this line is also on his gravestone. It was my friend who told me this quote and it stayed with me. I like how something deemed as delicate has the power to break through these hard and cold rocks. This phrase reminds me of patience and compassion over stubbornness and cold heartedness.
X for… Xbox One
For relaxing times! I do enjoy playing video games, particularly independent ones. I am really excited by the massive scope games have for storytelling.
Y for…Yang Edward 楊德昌
I am a big fan of his work, particularly the epic almost 4hours long A Brighter Summer Day.
Z for… Zine-making
It is a pretty fun way to play, collaborate, to express, experiment and communicate with each other.
To find out more about Bettina, check out her website here.