The Revival of the Snake
10 channel video installation
This work tells the end of the story of a soldier going into exile. On a sunny winter's day, the icy ground is stared with snow and life seems as peaceful as the weather. A soldier, escaping from a battlefield, comes to this deserted place which is plagued with the smell of death. He is wandering, attempting to leave this uninhabited world. The only option left to him, however, is walking, ceaselessly and endlessly. What is waiting for him? A hibernating snake is startled awake from its nice dreams and then sees a human, eyes blindfolded and hands bound on the back, kneeling on the freezing ice-covered lake. Who is sentenced to death by the sound of gunshots reverberating around the mountains?
Below is taken from "YANG FUDONG" (2007) by Marcella Beccaria
The Revival of the Snake (2005), is Yang Fudong' s most dramatic work to date. A monumental video installation, it consists of eight plasma screens, two large video projections, and stereophonic music, presented in a darkened space. Though the narrative is fragmented, a story emerges about an escaped soldier, possibly a prisoner of war, or perhaps a deserter captured and punished by his own army. Alone, he struggles to survive against the backdrop of a hostile winter landscape. The only other human beings in the film are the participants in a funeral, a sad procession in a desolate setting. Observed from a distance by the protagonist, the event seems to foreshadow his own likely fate. In keeping with Yang' s characteristic style, the editing ignores temporal sequence and factual logic. The artist does not seem to be concerned with simple mechanisms of before-after or cause-effect. Instead, he focuses on the contrast between the individual and the community, stressing the lacerating effects of isolation. The cinematic shots, the repetition of the screens in the installation space, and the specially composed soundtrack all work together to immerse viewers in a compellingly emotional environment, palpably conveying physical and psychological fragility of the human being.