Yuwei Pan

I am an organizer, creative technologist and communications strategist. 

I make the unimaginable and invisible into the tangible and believable, and to invigorate radical re-imagination of our future.

Contact me

“An artist's duty is to reflect the times.” — Nina Simone.

“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth. We are civilization’s radical voice.” — Paul Robeson

Next, please 

40x27’’ Poster

Robin Rhode
Stone Flag
I first encountered Robin Rhode’s work in MOMA’s New Photography, which is an annual collection of works that reflects the diversity and vitality of contemporary photography. The artist Robin Rhode grew up in rough neighborhoods in Cape Town, South Africa, which is where he currently carries out many of his projects. As a youth living in post-apartheid South Africa, Rhode was deeply affected by hip hop, graffiti, and how people did art using limited resources: chalk on the ground or walls.

There are three key themes in his work that inspired me for this project. First, Robin Rhode utilizes sequencing to develop a narrative and a sense of motion in his work. Reminiscent of Eadweard Muybridge’s motion studies of the 1880s, Rhode stages photographs that shows different stages of an event. For example, in his 2014 Stone Flags series, he used a sequence of 9 photographs to

show a person waving a flag that is made out of bricks. By altering what is on the wall or ground, Rhode creates a suspension of belief that the photographs are depictions of real life, as it resembles more of an animation. In my work “Next, please” I employ a similar technique to show the progression of the modeling poses: at first the poses look innocuous, and slowly they turn submissive, flirtatious and borderline sexual.

The second theme is the flattened space in Rhode’s work. He collapses the wall, the props and the person into a two dimensional shallow space. The figures in my work are also suspended and trapped in this two dimensional white space. With the numbers 1-22, the compilation of poses becomes a scientific diagram or an educational poster. But the contents of the diagram are far from “educational”: it imposes on the viewer the rigidity of the beauty standards in the fashion industry.

Lastly, the performative aspect of Rhode’s work serves to critique social conditions in South Africa. He often uses his own body or the bodies of youths who live in the neighborhood to showcase both the vulnerability and strength of young people in Johannesburg. I worked as a model in New York City, doing print, fashion and runways. It feels very different to be in front of the camera instead of behind it. As a photographer pressed the shutter, I was expected to rotate through a series of poses in a matter of seconds. Usually I begin with standard poses, but they usually spiral into poses that I am more and more uncomfortable with, usually with the direction of the photographer. 

I had to imitate poses on posters of sample poses that I was given, and I appropriated the format for this project and created it myself. Another part of the modeling experience of marketing myself as an Asian model because it is a “trendy” look. Agencies would sometimes ask that I wear something “exotic” and Chinese. Therefore I decided to wear a silky Qipao in this work, which is a traditional dress I wear in China for special events. The last poses resembles reclining nudes from western paintings like Olympia and Venus of Urbino.