All events in spacetime exist together, with the events that haven’t yet occurred being as real as those in our immediate past (A.E.I.S.E.T.W.T.E.T.H.Y.O.B.A.R.A.T.I.O.I.P)

OCtober 23 – november 10 2023

stArt.rv (Reynolda Village)

by Yan Cheng (’19)

In my latest exhibition, All events in spacetime exist together, with the events that haven’t yet occurred being as real as those in our immediate past, I continue to delve into the intricate interplay between time and space, challenging the notions of representation and perception of ‘reality and the present.’ Through a diverse range of mediums, including video, ink, and graphite, these artworks beckon viewers to transcend the confines of linear time and embrace the idea that all moments coexist within a timeless present.

Inspired by Einstein’s theory, which elucidates the warping of spacetime by massive objects, this exhibition invites us to question the conventional boundaries that define our reality. It encourages us to view the world through a lens that recognizes events yet to unfold as equally real as those in our past, echoing T.S. Eliot’s poignant words, ‘Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future.’ It prompts contemplation of the notion that all events, past and future, exist in an unbroken and continuous present.

Central to the exhibition’s theme is the concept of time dilation, which challenges our conventional perception of time. It reveals that time is not a constant, but rather a dynamic entity that can stretch and contract based on one’s relative motion or proximity to massive objects. Time is a fluid concept, and this exhibition delves into the fascinating implications of this phenomenon on our understanding of existence.

By exploring these ideas through various artistic mediums, my aim is to engage viewers in a thought-provoking journey that transcends the boundaries of traditional temporal and spatial understanding, inviting them to reconsider the very essence of our reality.

These explorations challenge conventional notions of reality and the passage of time have been profoundly influenced by my personal journey and a series of experiences that have shaped my unique perspective on time and space.

My lifelong fascination with water and the sea has played a big role in my artistic journey, pulling me into a different way of perceiving the world. The waves’ ever-changing shapes and the way they slow down time in my perception have left an indelible mark on my artistic sensibilities.

These fragments of motion and layers that I perceive in the waves serve as a profound inspiration for my work. When I create videos that capture these moments, I strive to convey the way time seems to stretch and fold upon itself, mirroring the way I see the sea. It’s a visual representation of the connection I feel between the gravitational forces shaping the waves and the fluidity of time, as they intertwine and shape our understanding of existence.

In addition to my love for the sea and my fascination with time dilation, I’ve discovered a way to train and trick my perception to see the world in different streams of time and motions, often segmented and reshaped. This realization has expanded my artistic horizons, allowing me to experiment with novel ways of interpreting reality, both physically and psychologically.

The circular shapes in my art, inspired by atomic structures, reflect the interconnectedness of these experiences. I believe there are meaningful connections between the intricate reality of the atomic world, the mysteries of time dilation, and the fluidity of human perception. These connections bridge the gap between science and art, offering a unique perspective on the interplay of forms and how they function.

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