February 5th, 2019 marks the Chinese New Year, which brings our attention to the Pig.
According to the Chinese Zodiac story, the first God in heaven – Jade Emperor decided the
order of the years by the time when the 12 animals arrived in a race to the great meeting.
The Pig came in last because he overslept.
Legend has it that just as the emperor was about to call it a day, oink was heard from a little Pig.
It is likewise no one noticed the presence of the pig when they first arrived at the gallery wall titled: “The curious pigs”.
“There are NO pigs in the pig art?” one viewer mumbled.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein
“Seeing is believing” may not always be true in this digital age we are living in, perhaps this
the statement was long discovered by scientist Einstein.
“Objective reality is an illusion: it is beyond what we can perceive.”
Not merely is Einstein the first one to point out the reality of what we see is not always what they are; long before the digital age, Galileo Galilei also wondered if our lives are lived entirely in our heads.
“I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on reside in consciousness. Hence if the living creature were removed, all these qualities would be annihilated.”
How much of our lives are lived in our own heads? Do we measure visual the same way we measure our unconsciousness, memories, dreams, emotions, and sensations? What is Reality?
If these statements are true, the real question to us, whom are living in the digital art age,
should really be– How the viewers should visit art with their senses instead of viewing art
with their eyes in the century where “seeing is not believing”?
But how do we do so?
After all, we are “used to” centuries of “seeing” art with our eye.
“The Curious Pig” is a *commercial fine art series created by Chinese American artist Anita Yan Wong.
It consists of a total of five pink toned washed out photos, featuring five famous pigs without showing the Pig itself.
By asking the question – What comes to our mind when we think of the Pig? The artist found out that first pictures and ideas that come to a person’s mind are not the reality or the actual animal itself; it is instead stories and behaviors from our imaginary pigs from storybooks, films, and pop cultures.
Wong says, “The Curious Pigs celebrates the human curiosity and imaginations through investigation of the subject – Pig.”
Each photograph features a pig product that is widely consumed in the world but is rarely recognized by anyone as a product made from Pigs.
The fainted pink wash effects in these photographs indicate our fainted memories of what reality lies. The artist created this art series in celebration of the Pig year and “as a new good habit of this new year” – to challenge the viewers not only view art with their eyes but to sense art and look into a deeper reality.
So, what are our perceptions of pig?
Why does pig – an animal that is intelligent and curious in nature, in reality, symbolizes laziness and greed in many different cultures or good luck, wealth, and fertility in another? Is reality merely an illusion and our understanding of the world all by-products of our imagination?