oedipus refound - enigma of birth
  • united nations is challenged by two conceptual sources: myths of the human body and multicivilization. the artist believes that these two factors have been generating new human perspectives and subverting our traditional practices. in reaching the end of our modern society and facing the new millennium, we are committed not only to cultural conflicts such as west versus east in bil / geo / cultural transitions, but even more significantly, we become increasingly amazed and frightened by our bio-science and genetic research which now has the potential to confront us with an artificially generated new species, including an “artificial human.” we are driven by our nature even as we call into question the ethical and moral characteristics of that nature.

    since 1988, i have turned my artistic focus to the human body and its primal substance. the first of this series of art works is oedipus refound. with in this series, i have chosen to work with particular human body materials which convey highly charged cultural and political significances and taboos. while i understand that any kind of artistic medium has no unique identity today, by elevating the material human body, it has been my intent to transcend it to an extreme global level. oedipus refound #1: the enigma of blood was a collaboration involving sixty women from sixteen countries. each woman contributed the used sanitary napkins and tampons from one month’s cycle with deeply personal writings regarding menstruation. this piece has generated astonishing and thought-provoking critiques and controversies; it also crosses cultural borders as people have described it as “hitting the core of human existence.” following oedipus refound #1 were oedipus refound #2: enigma of birth, oedipus refound #3: enigma beyond joy and sin all of which used whole human placenta as well as ground placenta powder (collected through a friend working in a maternity hospital in china). i categorized them into normal, abnormal, aborted, and still born placenta and pure placenta powders. these pieces narrate a polarized multicultural concern. the use of this material addresses highly charged issues in the west, but in china, its significance is elevated as the placenta is a precious,medicinal substance. in a discussion of this body of work johnson chang wrote: “ unlike the use of other impersonal materials, human substance in itself has rich cultural and symbolic connotations. as such, not only does it refer to the work as signifier but is itself the signified.”

    enigma of birth #1 (oedipus refound series)

    a site-specific installation commissioned by modern art msueum, oxford, england, 1993

    human placenta powders(normal, abnormal, aborted, still born)produced according to chinese ancient medical methods.

    4 baby beds, wax


  • united nations is challenged by two conceptual sources: myths of the human body and multicivilization. the artist believes that these two factors have been generating new human perspectives and subverting our traditional practices. in reaching the end of our modern society and facing the new millennium, we are committed not only to cultural conflicts such as west versus east in bil / geo / cultural transitions, but even more significantly, we become increasingly amazed and frightened by our bio-science and genetic research which now has the potential to confront us with an artificially generated new species, including an “artificial human.” we are driven by our nature even as we call into question the ethical and moral characteristics of that nature.

    since 1988, i have turned my artistic focus to the human body and its primal substance. the first of this series of art works is oedipus refound. with in this series, i have chosen to work with particular human body materials which convey highly charged cultural and political significances and taboos. while i understand that any kind of artistic medium has no unique identity today, by elevating the material human body, it has been my intent to transcend it to an extreme global level. oedipus refound #1: the enigma of blood was a collaboration involving sixty women from sixteen countries. each woman contributed the used sanitary napkins and tampons from one month’s cycle with deeply personal writings regarding menstruation. this piece has generated astonishing and thought-provoking critiques and controversies; it also crosses cultural borders as people have described it as “hitting the core of human existence.” following oedipus refound #1 were oedipus refound #2: enigma of birth, oedipus refound #3: enigma beyond joy and sin all of which used whole human placenta as well as ground placenta powder (collected through a friend working in a maternity hospital in china). i categorized them into normal, abnormal, aborted, and still born placenta and pure placenta powders. these pieces narrate a polarized multicultural concern. the use of this material addresses highly charged issues in the west, but in china, its significance is elevated as the placenta is a precious,medicinal substance. in a discussion of this body of work johnson chang wrote: “ unlike the use of other impersonal materials, human substance in itself has rich cultural and symbolic connotations. as such, not only does it refer to the work as signifier but is itself the signified.”

    enigma beyond joy & sin (oedipus refound series)

    a site-specific installation commissioned by the wexner center for the arts, ohio, usa, 1993

    human placenta powders(normal, abnormal, aborted, still born)produced according to chinese ancient medical methods.

    a white sheet stained with blood and sperm from first episode of sexual incounter, 4 metal beds


  • united nations is challenged by two conceptual sources: myths of the human body and multicivilization. the artist believes that these two factors have been generating new human perspectives and subverting our traditional practices. in reaching the end of our modern society and facing the new millennium, we are committed not only to cultural conflicts such as west versus east in bil / geo / cultural transitions, but even more significantly, we become increasingly amazed and frightened by our bio-science and genetic research which now has the potential to confront us with an artificially generated new species, including an “artificial human.” we are driven by our nature even as we call into question the ethical and moral characteristics of that nature.

    since 1988, i have turned my artistic focus to the human body and its primal substance. the first of this series of art works is oedipus refound. with in this series, i have chosen to work with particular human body materials which convey highly charged cultural and political significances and taboos. while i understand that any kind of artistic medium has no unique identity today, by elevating the material human body, it has been my intent to transcend it to an extreme global level. oedipus refound #1: the enigma of blood was a collaboration involving sixty women from sixteen countries. each woman contributed the used sanitary napkins and tampons from one month’s cycle with deeply personal writings regarding menstruation. this piece has generated astonishing and thought-provoking critiques and controversies; it also crosses cultural borders as people have described it as “hitting the core of human existence.” following oedipus refound #1 were oedipus refound #2: enigma of birth, oedipus refound #3: enigma beyond joy and sin all of which used whole human placenta as well as ground placenta powder (collected through a friend working in a maternity hospital in china). i categorized them into normal, abnormal, aborted, and still born placenta and pure placenta powders. these pieces narrate a polarized multicultural concern. the use of this material addresses highly charged issues in the west, but in china, its significance is elevated as the placenta is a precious,medicinal substance. in a discussion of this body of work johnson chang wrote: “ unlike the use of other impersonal materials, human substance in itself has rich cultural and symbolic connotations. as such, not only does it refer to the work as signifier but is itself the signified.”

    enigma of birth #3 (oedipus refound series)

    a site-specific installation commissioned by the kroller miller museum, the netherlands 1996

    4 baby beds contain human placenta powders(normal, abnormal, aborted, still born)produced

    according to chinese ancient medical methods.  


  • united nations is challenged by two conceptual sources: myths of the human body and multicivilization. the artist believes that these two factors have been generating new human perspectives and subverting our traditional practices. in reaching the end of our modern society and facing the new millennium, we are committed not only to cultural conflicts such as west versus east in bil / geo / cultural transitions, but even more significantly, we become increasingly amazed and frightened by our bio-science and genetic research which now has the potential to confront us with an artificially generated new species, including an “artificial human.” we are driven by our nature even as we call into question the ethical and moral characteristics of that nature.

    since 1988, i have turned my artistic focus to the human body and its primal substance. the first of this series of art works is oedipus refound. with in this series, i have chosen to work with particular human body materials which convey highly charged cultural and political significances and taboos. while i understand that any kind of artistic medium has no unique identity today, by elevating the material human body, it has been my intent to transcend it to an extreme global level. oedipus refound #1: the enigma of blood was a collaboration involving sixty women from sixteen countries. each woman contributed the used sanitary napkins and tampons from one month’s cycle with deeply personal writings regarding menstruation. this piece has generated astonishing and thought-provoking critiques and controversies; it also crosses cultural borders as people have described it as “hitting the core of human existence.” following oedipus refound #1 were oedipus refound #2: enigma of birth, oedipus refound #3: enigma beyond joy and sin all of which used whole human placenta as well as ground placenta powder (collected through a friend working in a maternity hospital in china). i categorized them into normal, abnormal, aborted, and still born placenta and pure placenta powders. these pieces narrate a polarized multicultural concern. the use of this material addresses highly charged issues in the west, but in china, its significance is elevated as the placenta is a precious,medicinal substance. in a discussion of this body of work johnson chang wrote: “ unlike the use of other impersonal materials, human substance in itself has rich cultural and symbolic connotations. as such, not only does it refer to the work as signifier but is itself the signified.”

    Enigma Of Birth #4 (Oedipus Refound series)

    a site-specific installation for the alternative museum, new york, usa 1996

    1 large metal bed, 4 baby beds contain human placenta powders(normal, abnormal, aborted, still born)produced

    according to chinese ancient medical methods.


  • united nations is challenged by two conceptual sources: myths of the human body and multicivilization. the artist believes that these two factors have been generating new human perspectives and subverting our traditional practices. in reaching the end of our modern society and facing the new millennium, we are committed not only to cultural conflicts such as west versus east in bil / geo / cultural transitions, but even more significantly, we become increasingly amazed and frightened by our bio-science and genetic research which now has the potential to confront us with an artificially generated new species, including an “artificial human.” we are driven by our nature even as we call into question the ethical and moral characteristics of that nature.

    since 1988, i have turned my artistic focus to the human body and its primal substance. the first of this series of art works is oedipus refound. with in this series, i have chosen to work with particular human body materials which convey highly charged cultural and political significances and taboos. while i understand that any kind of artistic medium has no unique identity today, by elevating the material human body, it has been my intent to transcend it to an extreme global level. oedipus refound #1: the enigma of blood was a collaboration involving sixty women from sixteen countries. each woman contributed the used sanitary napkins and tampons from one month’s cycle with deeply personal writings regarding menstruation. this piece has generated astonishing and thought-provoking critiques and controversies; it also crosses cultural borders as people have described it as “hitting the core of human existence.” following oedipus refound #1 were oedipus refound #2: enigma of birth, oedipus refound #3: enigma beyond joy and sin all of which used whole human placenta as well as ground placenta powder (collected through a friend working in a maternity hospital in china). i categorized them into normal, abnormal, aborted, and still born placenta and pure placenta powders. these pieces narrate a polarized multicultural concern. the use of this material addresses highly charged issues in the west, but in china, its significance is elevated as the placenta is a precious,medicinal substance. in a discussion of this body of work johnson chang wrote: “ unlike the use of other impersonal materials, human substance in itself has rich cultural and symbolic connotations. as such, not only does it refer to the work as signifier but is itself the signified.”

    enigma of birth series #5 (oedipus refound series)

    4 baby beds & glass boxes  contain human placenta powders(normal, abnormal, aborted, still born)produced

    according to chinese ancient medical methods.  


  • united nations is challenged by two conceptual sources: myths of the human body and multicivilization. the artist believes that these two factors have been generating new human perspectives and subverting our traditional practices. in reaching the end of our modern society and facing the new millennium, we are committed not only to cultural conflicts such as west versus east in bil / geo / cultural transitions, but even more significantly, we become increasingly amazed and frightened by our bio-science and genetic research which now has the potential to confront us with an artificially generated new species, including an “artificial human.” we are driven by our nature even as we call into question the ethical and moral characteristics of that nature.

    since 1988, i have turned my artistic focus to the human body and its primal substance. the first of this series of art works is oedipus refound. with in this series, i have chosen to work with particular human body materials which convey highly charged cultural and political significances and taboos. while i understand that any kind of artistic medium has no unique identity today, by elevating the material human body, it has been my intent to transcend it to an extreme global level. oedipus refound #1: the enigma of blood was a collaboration involving sixty women from sixteen countries. each woman contributed the used sanitary napkins and tampons from one month’s cycle with deeply personal writings regarding menstruation. this piece has generated astonishing and thought-provoking critiques and controversies; it also crosses cultural borders as people have described it as “hitting the core of human existence.” following oedipus refound #1 were oedipus refound #2: enigma of birth, oedipus refound #3: enigma beyond joy and sin all of which used whole human placenta as well as ground placenta powder (collected through a friend working in a maternity hospital in china). i categorized them into normal, abnormal, aborted, and still born placenta and pure placenta powders. these pieces narrate a polarized multicultural concern. the use of this material addresses highly charged issues in the west, but in china, its significance is elevated as the placenta is a precious,medicinal substance. in a discussion of this body of work johnson chang wrote: “ unlike the use of other impersonal materials, human substance in itself has rich cultural and symbolic connotations. as such, not only does it refer to the work as signifier but is itself the signified.”

    enigma of birth series #6 (oedipus refound #3)

    a site-specific installation for the center gallery, rhode island university, usa, 1993

    human placenta powders(normal, abnormal, aborted, still born)produced according to chinese ancient medical methods. a white sheet stained with blood and sperm from first episode of sexual incounter, 4 metal beds