Yang Fudong: Beyond God and Evil review
Time Out says
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There’s something not quite right in Yang Fudong’s glitzy Chinese historical movie. You can see the wires the fighters are flying on, the rails the cameras are moving on, the places where the set ends. A camera keeps cutting in front of your view of the action, people with smartphones keep walking into shot. It’s a mess.
Screened against floral wallpaper and on small screens through this darkly lit space, Yang Fudong’s videos act as diaries of a project where he filmed a Chinese epic as a series of durational performances in a museum. The horses being ridden are fake, the dialogue is stilted and museum visitors keep getting in the way.
The artist is exposing all the guts of movie-making, but is laying bare more than just cinema. By being so brutal and naked, he’s showing how narratives are constructed, and how identities are built out of that faked authenticity. If your vision of the glorious past of your nation comes from books or movies, this shows how easy it is to fake all of that, and how easy we are to manipulate as a result.
This is a critique of authenticity, of identity and belief, and it’s really ruined ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ for me.