Yaya Yajie Liang’s work explores the metamorphosis of the body itself and the potential of becoming animal. From the legendary banished beast to the interpenetration of biological space and represented space with body, Yaya interrogates how humans’ analogic mapping to and from animals (within imagined, lived, or taxonomic intimacies) casts a trans light back on the human to help us reconsider the prescribed definition of ‘humanity’, and bleeds ‘animality’, the ‘stuff’ of animal nature that sticks to animals in zombie humanism, back onto the humanness’s texture.
Taking inspiration from Agential Realism, Yaya views painting as a movement that is constantly repeating the ‘becoming’. Shifting restlessly between abstract and figurative modes, she uses improvisation to kick-start new paintings, allowing unplanned initial strokes to help dictate the works’ subsequent direction. With the collapse of a single central system of representation, the unruly encounter between diverse centers, superimposed perspectives, co-existing moments, and materials are produced and reshaped in the process of painting. Taking the risk of implanting harm, Yaya intensively invests in the agency of inanimate material. By transforming paint into flesh, her painting interrogates the cracks within the specific binary of animate and inanimate.