Yin Yang Handover (2013, ongoing)

The Yin Yang Handover series is a profound interrogation of the politics of power and democracy. Using a metaphor to compare the handover of Hong Kong to China with one of the hallmarks of the traditional Chinese philosophy, the theory of the Five Elements (五行), Phil Akashi engages the viewers in a meditative experience about the global crisis of democracy. In his own language, the artist observes and tries to understand how a “One Country, Two Systems” should become a “One Country, One System”, in a cyclic and harmonious transition, just as one season hands over to another.

 

As a result, the Yin Yang Handover series takes on multiple reincarnating identities, as paintings, art installations, sculptures, as well as a video that raise dramatic questions about the notions of democracy, power, and resistance.  

 

The Five Elements, which are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, represent the tangible activities of Yin and Yang as manifested in the cyclic changes of nature, which regulate life on earth. These elements correspond to energy, also known as Qi () in each season. Water dominates in winter () and nourishes plants and trees (wood) in spring (); wood makes fire in summer () which burns into ashes to form earth in late summer; late summer is the fifth season and is seen as a transitional time (中); earth is the source of metal in autumn (); metal can be melted into liquid or condensed to water. This is the cyclic and natural order.

  

Since the British handover in 1997, the constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping, ”One Country, Two Systems" guarantees that Hong Kong's economic and political systems will not be changed for 50 years. For many observers, the reality is far more uncertain as the due date of 2047 seems to come ahead of schedule. 


"By presenting this poetic yet provocative series, I hope to both challenge the fragile state of democracy in the world as well as to bring awareness about the importance of freedom of speech and pro-active participation, as citizens, in politics and civic life.” Phil Akashi

 

 

 

PAINTINGS


This series of paintings has been created in Shanghai in 2013. Each painting represents one of the Five Elements and is composed of thousands of seal imprints with the Chinese characters of the corresponding season. 

 

Phil Akashi Water

THE RETREAT OF YIN (WATER)
Ink and cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 冬/“winter”,
Shanghai 2013. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm 

  

 

 

 

Phil Akashi The Gate of Growth

THE GATE OF GROWTH (WOOD)
Ink and cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 春/“spring”,
Shanghai 2013. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm

  

  

 

 

Phil Akashi the Warmth of Yang

THE WARMTH OF YANG (FIRE)
Ink and cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 夏/“summer”,
Shanghai 2013. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm

 

 

 

 

Phil Akashi The Truth of Harmony

THE TRUTH OF HARMONY (EARTH)
Ink and cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 中/“middle”,
Shanghai 2013. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm

   

 

 

Phil Akashi The Passage of Strength

THE PASSAGE OF STRENGTH (METAL)
Ink and cinnabar paste on canvas with seal imprints with Chinese character: 秋/“fall”,
Shanghai 2013. 59"x78.7"x1.5" / 150x200x4cm

  

 

 

INSTALLATION  

 

The heart of the installation “The Circle of Time” (2016) is a traditional Chinese circle fan representing the harmonious and gradual integration of Hong Kong with the motherland. The fan is composed of five hundred thousand seal imprints with Chinese characters relative to the five seasons of the Five Elements.

 

 

By hanging an empty bamboo sandglass representing 50 years of time, tied with BDSM leather and rope, on top of the circle fan, the artist infuses a sense of fragility and ephemerality to the political promises, creating a poetic and symbolic sense of emptiness. Since the British handover in 1997, the constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping, ”One country, two systems" guarantees that Hong Kong's economic and political systems will not be changed for 50 years. For many observers, the reality is far more uncertain as the due date of 2047 seems to come ahead of schedule.
 

 

 

Phil Akashi the Circle of Time Installation

 

THE CIRCLE OF TIME 
Ink on fine art paper, bamboo, hemp rope, leather, and metal with seal imprints with Chinese characters: 
冬/“winter”, 春/“spring”, 夏/“summer”, 中/“middle”, and 秋/“fall”. Singapore 2016. 4 x 4 x 3,35 m 

 

 

 

 

 

Phil Akashi Art Installation the Circle of Time

 

 

 

 

 

Phil Akashi the Circle of Time detail

 

 

 

 

 

Phil Akashi the Circle of Time bamboo hemp rope leather

 

 

 

Phil Akashi the Circle of Time paper fan

 

 

 

 

 

Phil Akashi the Circle of Time installation view

 



 

VIDEO