Within Vein: Prick and Prune
One Channel Video (Video Still)
The Great Lubricator: The Power of Image – The Image of Power
Societe Generale Gallery, Alliance Française de Singapour
Wang Ruobing and Nadiah Alsagoff
‘Within Vein’ consists of two artworks: ‘Prick and Prune’ video by Nadiah Alsagoff and photograph ‘Transfusion’ by Wang Ruobing.
‘Within Vein’, a term borrowed from intravenous infusions or drips, explores the human experience of power, fear, love and death through the living ornaments - plants. In ‘Prick and Prune’, the living ornament is the cactus covered with sharp modified branches – thorns. Drawing from her daily experience working with plants in a retail nursery, Nadiah records her performing the actions of touching the threatening thorns of a cactus - a bleeding invitation with fear and fascination. As for 'Transfusion', the living ornament is an old tree. The photograph captures the resettlement of the tree being transplanted from its original place to the city centre of Chengdu (China). A drip with essential nutrition is attached on the tree to ensure it would survive in the new environment. This is a common practice in China, that the ancient trees are transplanted from countryside to the city, to beautify and increase the cultural value of the site at expensive cost.
The cactus and old tree 'Within Vein' visually through the documentation of physical pricking either voluntarily by the artist Nadiah or forcefully by the China landscape designer. They challenge the habituated eye and engage the viewers in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion.