My art is about the conditional nature of human relationship, and, in particular, of love, attraction, and desire. In our society, which is hierarchical, individuals who lack ideal features or abilities are rejected, abused, and exploited. In the increasingly hyper-competitive and technologically advanced era of globalization, I admire the goddess of the future who will prosper and proliferate, and I pity the gorilla who is unable to compete and doomed to a sub-human existence.
The great noble ideals of freedom and equality are under attack in this era when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Just like in the game of Monopoly, the system is rigged against the poor and the weak, and the situation could get even worse.
When I walk around the streets of New York City, I see homeless people and low-wage workers who are tired, hungry, and in utter despair, and I am unable to help them. I observe myself in a state of apathy; I do not see an immense outpouring of sympathy and grief for their situation on my part.
When I see people whom I deem ugly or poor, I see myself keeping a distance. I do not talk to them or show them my art much, as I would to an attractive person or someone who is well-dressed. And I suspect this is true for many people.
Yes, while I engage in charitable acts from time to time, it is also true that I am selfishly guarding what I have and the time and energy that I spend on other people who might not be as well off as I am. There are limits in terms of how much I can help others who are in need.
Helping others is a noble act, but it is constrained by limitations of time, energy, and money. It cannot be unconditional and unrestrained (or limitless) because of those physical limitations of our society and the world.
For humans, attraction, love, and desire are conditional. It is based on judgment of what the person does, thinks, and has. Even in the case of love between a parent and a child, the love is not unconditional but conditional. If the child or the parent were to commit a horrendous act - even repeatedly, the other of the two would no longer love him or her. Only God's love is unconditional, and God may not be a person.
I would define three main attributes for which there is attraction, love or desire, which are beauty, intelligence, and strength. People who are lacking in these attributes will have less chance of becoming the object of attraction, love, or desire. And without love, there might not be a significant meaning to life.
When I see the people in the streets being abandoned and miserable, I am split between the the noble idea of equality and unconditional love, and the thoughts that they are doomed.
In my art, I bring up the image of the gorilla or a hominid species that became extinct with the advent of the homo sapiens. This constant rejection and process of extermination is going on in our society among us.
People who are beautiful, intelligent, or strong are evidence of all the rejection and competition that happened in the evolution of our species and our society for them to be the way they are. I would like to document the nature of immense inequality, the hyper competitive nature of our society, and the suffering that occurs in the midst of it all.