View from The Unconscious

Naormi Meiija Wang, a Chinese-born artist based in New York, is deeply interested in Freudian psychology and human nature. She works in various media, most often with the human body, which she distorts, overlaps and ultimately reveals in dream-like states. Her recent work is centered on three areas – photography, moving images and video installation – but she is equally capable when working in other media, such as drawing, painting, print, jewelry design and fashion design.

The body, the genealogical origin of the ego according to Freud, is Wang’s main focus. All emotions are expressed through its manipulation. All the elements of her work are based on a what she records or remembers of her deep dreaming after she awakes. Each movement and frame presented is a signifier of a signified (a la Saussure): a detail originating in her unconscious mind.

Her images are dream-like. They represent reality and fantasy in much the same way the unconscious mind merges fact and fiction during deep sleep, sometimes making it difficult for us to discerns one from the other. And just as some dreams stay with us during the course of a day or days, her work carries the same emotional impact. They reach us at an unconscious level where emotions go uncensored.

When we view an image or watch a video installation created by Naormi, we are transported to deep mysterious realms and, as in psychoanalysis, left to construct an interpretation of what we see and feel based on all the experiences we bring to that moment. Freud might argue with Jung about her work, Jung describing her pieces as “divine” in their interconnection of past, present and future. Are they holy or mad aberrations? Evil or innocent in their origin – a question Freud might ask.

Like the best craftsman, every detail in her video installations come together with precision and balance, including music and dance, to create the magic of the unconscious with its non-linear narratives. Nothing is fiction and nothing is real. Our minds strive to organize and interpret the thoughts and feelings aroused by Naormi’s work, just the way we make sense of what surfaces from the unconscious, while dreaming or during the course of psychoanalysis.

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