Blithe Tragedy

Ran Huang &

In opposite roles of conqueror and hostage, a man carrying a black banner is leading his bound victim through a forest. The clothing that both characters wear intensifies the impression of a gruesome fairytale. The subjugator wears a prosthetic nose, protruding menacingly and hinting at the possible sexual violence that might have triggered these events. The victim is half naked, wearing a metal muzzle, a bondage of silence and subjugation.

Yet the video's second location, an empty and pristine interior, suddenly introduces a reversed hierarchy of power. This time the subjugator, unconscious or even dead, is tied to a chair. He has lost his nasal appendage, wearing instead a bondage helmet. Now unmuzzled and unbound, the former victim walks around freely with confidence. A peek into an adjacent room shows a pile of dead bodies, all with some form of muzzle on their faces. It suggests how the victim might have ended up, but something has gone awry in this power struggle.

Ran Huang leaves the possible explanations behind the screen, making the viewer ponder the way the events may have unfolded. However, the closing image of two cockerels in a cage, the one attacking and killing the other, serves as an encapsulating metaphor for Huang's parable of sexuality and violence. (Olena Chervonik)

About the video

Title Blithe Tragedy
Year 2010
Videonale VIDEONALE.13
Length 00:14:52
Format 16:9
Country China,
Language No dialog
Courtesy the artist
Specifications color, sound, single-channel video

About the artist

Ran Huang
  • 1982 in Xichang, Sichuan, CHN.
    Studied at the Goldsmiths College, University of London, GBR, and at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, Birmingham City University, GBR