Liana Yang – The Innocence Project

When Liana Yang first told me about her upcoming exhibition, I felt uncomfortable. I did not know how to react, a body of work related to pornography in Singapore? Seriously? It seemed preposterous at that point of time but I’m glad it turned out to be more interesting and less provocative (visually) than I thought.

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TOP TO BOTTOM, from (“The Innocence Project“)
© Liana Yang, 2013

In The Innocence Project, the ‘schoolgirl’ is considered – an image often associated with coming-of-age, innocence and men behind computer screens. A tussle forms between the concept of a young girl going about her daily life and the sexualized imagery that mass media (mostly, pornography originating from Japan) has imposed on us. No longer do we see the images at face value when we ponder about the implications of the objectification of young women.

We may consider the reaction of males when confronted with this body of work. What goes on in the mind? Feelings of excitement, lust or guilt? The effect of using photography to transmit the viewer’s inner desires immediately certainly has its sociological impact. Yang addresses these issues with her work, placing seemingly innocent objects (lipstick, nail polish and that suggestive lollipop) next to found pornography. The centerpiece of the series, a Diasec print of a schoolgirl smiling sweetly at the viewer, is made up of smaller images appropriated by Yang online. However, the candy-colored palette of this body of work disguises the darkness lurking underneath, while exposing the tension between the sexes.

Recently, Yang has turned her attention to using sex as visual language. Mostly stemming from her upbringing that all things related to human sexuality is wrong, she approaches the topic not in a brusque manner but one that titillates and tickles the viewer’s mind. Her portfolio can be seen here.

The exhibition is now on at Chan Hampe Galleries at Raffles Hotel till Aug 25.