Mesmerising the Grotesque: the short films of Andrew Huang

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October 13, 2012 by hattersleysmith

In Andrew Huang’s extraordinary cinematography ‘certainty’ is discarded, his beautiful short films pivoting around conception of the self and the way the senses distort internal landscapes, creating an eerie sense of illusion and displacement, even from one’s own body.

‘Doll Face’ is a chilling five minute short in which a robotic becomes fixated with an unreachable image of a heavily made-up woman on television which ultimately destroys the machine as it strains to gaze into those big black eyes.

The final image is of the remaining smashed fragment of the blinking face, revealed as mere porcelain; nothing lies beneath.  The film is nothing short of terrifying in its absurdity and subject, illustrating the dangers of an obsession with emulating the cosmeticized media-fabricated illusion.

Yet here the virtual is never far from the surface, it is in the bizarre ‘Solipsist’ that Huang comes into his own with a film which simultaneously excite, repels and bewitches, exploring the notion that only the belief in the existence of the self can be certain and that true knowledge beyond one’s self is impossible.

Huang’s special effects awe and confuse, creating a visual spectacle both incredibly surreal and grotesque.

In the opening episode two girls become enmeshed within a techni-textured swaying cocoon of epiphytic threads to become a sort of textile coral reef; before we jump into a deep-seascape of swirling squid-like creatures that dart, unfold, multiply and spin through darkness, punctuated by the vibrant colours and electric pulses.  The scene shifts as two men emerge from the black, appearing  as though in a duel before their brightly painted faces and bodies cave in like a sand pit and unite in an explosion of multi-coloured grains which trickle from the living coral sculpture.  In the final moments, the piece erupts in a frenzy of movement, colour and light, much like a dream spirals into chaos before one wakes.

There is nothing about Huang’s work which falls short of mesmerising.

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