Special Issue s


Su Yang 杨苏

Su Yang 杨苏 is a Chinese artist who lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Yang holds a Ph.D. in Visual, Asian Cultural, Gender and Sexuality Studies from The University of Melbourne in Australia, a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the State University of New York at Buffalo in the US, and a Bachelor of Arts in Design from Tsinghua University in China. Currently, Yang is a Faculty in Creative Practice at The University of Melbourne.

Yang’s multidisciplinary practice conveys her feminist investigation on female representation and her sense of social responsibilities for contemporary social issues including anti-racism, de/anti-colonialism, and social justice. Yang works across painting, photography, video, and short film.

My current studio project ‘Invisible/Visible Hands’ includes my performance recorded on video and a series of oil painting. This project is to question the changing dominant standards of female aesthetics that made, are making, and will continually make us (women) feel we are not good enough and not beautiful enough. I hope to advocate a more inclusive idea of beauty through my art. I borrow the metaphor “invisible hands” of the unobservable market force that was used by Adam Smith in his book “The Wealth of Nations” and make it a metaphor for the invisible ideologies that encourage women to conform their appearances with the ideal beauty in consumerism and marketing.

The invisible hands (ideologies) become the visible hands (surgeon’s hands or anyone’s hands) that physically change women’s appearances. The invisible socialized ideas of female beauty become visible impulse upon to change women’s bodies. I was inspired by many facts and news of women who underwent failed cosmetic surgery procedures in the many facets, for example, the suffering body, the subsequent trauma, and the risks of inflammation. No offense to the people who have done cosmetic surgeries. I’m not judging them, and I understand they have their own choices. I focus on the theme of female representation, female beauty, and cosmetic surgery because it relates to each of us.