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Morrison Gong: Give Me Pleasure or Give Me Death

Born in 1997, Shenzhen, China. 
Currently lives and works in New York, US. 


“I use my camera as a tool for control. I moved to the United States when I was 18. The foreignness of my Chinese identity created friction, and my work exposes and utilizes the pain that is symptomatic of this friction. By looking through a lens instead of my naked eyes, I unlearn and relearn my languages, my carnal lust, and the world at large. I place nude bodies within natural environments, as well as around Chinese cultural artifacts. The nature represents the origins of beauty and vivacious flux. The artifacts are mementos of civilization and anthropocentric experience. The documentation of bodies is somewhere in between: a living desire for the flesh frozen in time. I exploit these specific sets of illusions the photographs offer, by constructing fictitious reality, by implying the ephemerality of youth, and by questioning the notion of beauty. How do we determine if an object deserves our aesthetic attention? I often return to George Santayana’s ideas on the materials of beauty. Beauty originates in the sphere of sexuality; it is essentially pleasure objectified. The fabrics of emotions sourced from aesthetic experience rub against each other, and my photographs tremble as they stop to isolate the world’s constant writing of erotic symbols. Eros cannot exist without fantasy. Fantasy cannot exist without an atopic other. The collaborative aspect of my work disrupts narcissism and highlights the transformative nature of eros, the pain and pleasure from its erosion of self.” — Morrison Gong

Through its exploration of transformation, vitality, and vivacity, Give Me Pleasure or Give Me Death (2021) portrays human relationships with nature from a metaphorical perspective. In their work, Morrison Gong, by enabling and illustrating this matter, unearths and investigates the affected thoughts and feelings of both themselves and those they photographs. Morrison Gong uses photography, video, and performance to extract erotic forces rooted in myth, origin-stories, subversion, and animality.

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Edited by Nikolaj Ahlefeldt