Dark Side of the Moon at CAFA, Beijing, China
Dark Side of the Moon (2013-2016), three ongoing series of works named after the Pink Floyd album released in the 1973, pulls the viewer in with its encyclopedic inventory of imagery and intricate details demanding closer inspection. At the same time, this complex body of work pushes the viewer out with each square inch of its compositions transmitting unique visual information yet denying categorization and blurring boundaries between the so-called real and the imagined. As the first soundtrack Vu experienced upon immigrating to the United States during his childhood, The Dark Side of the Moon album signifies both an experimental approach to music making and the sense of foreignness and exoticism of American culture that the artist experienced for the first time.
Created in Beijing, Dark Side of the Moon East (2015) showcases a departure from the black and white monochrome compositions of earlier works. Works in the East series introduce orange, yellow and red elements as well as circular photographs of man-made machinery and equipment and nature scenes, all mounted on aluminum. These photographs, positioned to resemble scientific dioramas or information webs, provide additional contrast to the abstracted forms encompassing the multiple layers of each work. Detailed drawings of red and white striped parachutes are repeated throughout the series to portray the iconic 1960s, Apollo-era capsules that were once used by astronauts for their re-entry to earth. The juxtaposition of light and dark, organisms and machinery, loosely painted forms and mathematically precise silkscreen underline the complex often-contradictory roles of technology–its ability to both create and destroy.
The East body of works presents an iteration of the series consisting of eighteen works that each corresponds to another work in the West series. The pieces are twelve hours apart—literally, half a world away—and titled in pairs. When coupled together, the works become magnetic poles and the geographic space between them becomes part of the work. They shall never meet—each becomes the other’s dark side, the unknown, without hierarchy.