Yifan Gong

Super-short Bio

Yifan Gong, a PhD candidate in theatre and performance studies at the University of Edinburgh, holds a BFA degree with distinction in Theatre and Visual Arts from the University of the Fraser Valley, Canada. He learned filmmaking at Shanghai Vancouver Film School and is now active as a versatile artist, actor, director and academic researcher.

Short Biography

I am Yifan Gong, a current PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh. My PhD is on the theme of strategising the Theatre of One Emancipated Spect-actor using accumulating methods. It is led by the accumulative aesthetics and the political and practical aesthetics of the emancipated spect-actor referencing Augusto Boal and Jacques Rancière. As a practitioner in the flesh, I conduct performative (practice-led), phenomenological and hermeneutic research methods to produce intermedial performances and to research this theme.

I hold a BFA degree with distinction in Theatre and Visual Arts from the University of the Fraser Valley, Canada. I started to take theatre and visual arts courses (painting and analogue photography) in January 2017 and learned filmmaking at Shanghai Vancouver Film School in 2020/21.

My artistic practices so far span devised theatre, digital performance, filmmaking, directing and acting for theatre/screen, analogue and digital photography, acrylic painting, songwriting, post-modern dance and choreography. My research areas include but are not limited to: phenomenology, hermeneutics, theatre and performance aesthetics, philosophy of art, intermediality and intermedial art, XR media and technologies, volumetric capture and volumetric film, practice-led/based research, digital humanism, immersive theatre, devised theatre and psychology of personality traits.

Digging deeper into trans/interdisciplinary art research with the rapid development of science and technology is a necessity for this generation, so I am passionate about integrating new technologies within contemporary art-making. In terms of genres, I often manipulate non-linear storytelling, abstract expressionism and improvisation. \

As well as an E-portfolio, this personal website consists of collections of my significant artworks made so far, including digital documents, showreels and video recordings of live/mediatised performances. Please explore the navigation bars to view more details and descriptions of my art practices.

Artist Statement (old)

Are you living alone? Do you enjoy your loneliness? As an interdisciplinary artist, I am always inspired by my forlornness, depression and anxiety, which in return set the tone of my artworks. Instead of being obsessed with those dark, sombre, gloomy and melancholy feelings in my mind, I enjoy visualizing them via a series of artistic materials and media. My artworks span acrylic painting, analogue and digital photography, theatre performance, choreography, songwriting and film. I always put implications and metaphors of my friendlessness into the details of my artworks, and I usually express my interpretation of despondency through various art forms in an abstract way. I hope that my viewers or audience can recognize my rendering first when observing my artworks and then feel a sense of desolation. Solitude is permanently a popular topic and easily causes mental illness. As long as my works elicit empathy or even just “sympathy”, like “now I feel I am not suffering from forsakenness on my own”, which means by then my audience would comprehend deep in their heart by themselves, my works would have various positive meanings.

I paint with different materials and acrylic paints that are directly squeezed from the tube to make expressive marks, colour chunks and colour chaos. I often extract my aloneness by a brighter blob contrasted with a darker background onto the canvas. The strong feeling of isolation also influences my photography. There are always many small and inconspicuous but solid and real things or moments captured by my camera, and this is how I observe the world. I also express this feeling within my choreography. One feature of my choreography is that the movements always include twisted limbs and convex/concave bodies. There is a performance-making strategy called devising. A devised piece means that its script or performance score originates from collaborative and improvisatory work by a performing ensemble. It keeps an equal significance of each individual while leading to a high collaboration. One advantage of devising as a method to create performances is that when I join a devised ensemble, I feel a strong sense of belonging without ignoring my independent personality. Everybody is separately doing their own tasks under a certain structure, working towards the same goal, but no one is alienated. I not only make devised live performances but also make films referencing my theatre devising experience. Some of my experimental films look fragmented with full of montage and layers, however, there is always an established theme and certain logic within them. Typically, when I was producing devised theatre or experimental films by this approach, I hardly feel abandoned but encouraged. Audience who appreciate my performance works would also perceive the magic of high collaboration and the flexibility of devising. Even if they receive the melancholy psychological expression, they would still recognise the optimistic tendency. Do you still feel that loneliness is making you unhinged? Find my artworks and do not hesitate to join my devised ensemble.


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