More than 100 years ago, the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure proposed “Semiotics is the study of signs”. This theory in the last century became almost impossible for Western literary and artistic researchers to ignore. In 1967, Roland Barthes published his most famous paper, The Death of the Author, in which he said: “Linguistics provides a valuable analytical tool for destroying authors.” Today, the “appropriation” of texts and the “appropriation of images” have become “tools” for contemporary art creation methods. In Sima Yuan’s work, the texts become visual symbols. This is an experiment that confuses reading and watching, and it is also a game that seems to be effortless.
The image become the intersection point of the time in the process of consumption. It is a specimen of memory that implants and interferes with people’s behaviors toward consumption. In contrast, the consumer list is a combination of paper and printed writing that solemnly suggests the outcome of consumption. The words that disappeared over time symbolize the paleness after the consumption behavior through the images. From the viewing of commercial images to the list of texts for “acquisition” consumption, it is proved by Jean Baudrillard that “advertising embodies the pursuit of man-made happiness.” On the basis of affirmative image temptation, the work Acquisition- (Image) uses a series of ready-made products such as advertisement images and consumption lists as materials. Through these images and texts that can be easily obtained or discarded in daily life, the artist acquires some visual symbol that can negate the “truth”. The French phrases that were typed by a typewriter are folk slangs from the Swiss states. Those who traveled through time and space in the creation of Sima Yuan miraculously met modern commercial images and declared in a certain “hidden” manner: “anti-labor” is the trump card of contemporary art. The permanence of these world-famous sayings confuses the viewing inertia of “images implanted in the brain” and becomes a kind of prophecy for future generations in the accompanying images and consumer evidence. When “acquisition” becomes the result, the interference of the image on the language proves the conceptual function of the language itself and eliminates the original meaning of the images.
Today, the creation of a text is covered by more texts at any time, forming a wave of texts that disappear in a fleeting moment. Hermeneutics often believe that the creation of text is a fragment of the author’s thoughts, and semiotics focus more on the individual details of the text than on the meaning. However, the disappearance of the text presents another implication: the pastime of the text, and the playfulness of it. Sima Yuan pays attention to the text generation on the daily social network (WeChat). She thinks that it is a kind of dialogue of texts between different netizens. She re-edited the “WeChat Moments” written by different people on-line and logically arranged them to form a new text – a kind of poetry made up of “ready-made sentences”. In this arrangement, the destiny of the rapid disappearance of web texts has been eliminated. They are reactivated, full of grafting, translation, misreading, and reinterpret. “Acquisition-(Text)” is such an expression about “remodeling” in everyday life. Words become imagination though reading. In the works without any visual presentation, those absent images get full association in text acquisition. Sima Yuan once again verified the prophecy of Roland Bart’s “The Death of the Author.” She easily immerses art and life in the judgment of contemporary civil society and traditional values. For her, “Art is an endless acquisition,” which is her expression of the super-perceived linguistic symbols.
In this exhibition, artist Sima Yuan hints at Andy Warhol and the Pop Art Genre by presenting the dissolved relationship between the pictures and the texts and also the Campbell’s Soup Cans on the ground which are connected by colored ties. On the shelves are no longer goods, but shopping tickets for consumption. This exhibition, which is reminiscent of the “consumer network”, outlines the temptations and desires of human beings. In Gallery 2, the artist presents a recycling project for used electrical appliances Those used and idle goods, with their aesthetics of the times, show that the meaning of “acquisition” has long been a driving force for the past and the future.