Group Exhibition:a lot of ash- A lot of dust (Videos & installations)
Curator: Lu Leiping
Artists: Jin Feng, Tang Maohong, Zhang Qing, Zhang Ding, Shao Yi
Date: 2005 June 2nd, 18:30 – Exhibition last for 3 days only!
Where: BizArt Art Center, 50 Moganshan Lu, Bldg. 7, 4/F
A lot of ash – A lot of dust
In Chinese the word hui has many meanings -- ash, dust, grey – all of which have neutral undercurrents, a tone which A lot of ash – A lot of dust tries to express. The exhibition has an unspoken yet universally understood language, an organic quality that peels away the unessential and rejects big ideas, focusing its energy on the artworks themselves. The artists have to be introspective, making their inner thoughts, reflections and experiences transparent and bare, stripping their false exterior, all the while retaining their unique voice. The five artists Jin Feng, Tang Maohong, Zhang Qing, Zhang Ding, Shao Yi all share this philosophy.
Having been an university teacher for many years, Jin Feng’s artwork often criticises the hypocrisy of educational system. In his piece ‘Top institution’ , each subject, shown in a hierarchical pyramid, say the same slogan : ‘Make the Professional Arts & Crafts College the top art design institute in Shanghai !’ It is an idealistic sentiment that at the same time points out the ironic reality of the situation.
Tang Maohong’s rich imagination shows through in his animated short “Orchidaceous-Finger (theatrical gesture)”. He describes this piece as his “personal Pop Art”. This piece adapts the characteristics of a rounded framed Chinese painting with a traditional scene of birds, flowers, mushrooms, pagodas etc., interacting at random with people. These fantastic images create a surrealistic world where real life and illusion, past and present, collide.
Usually a performance artist, Zhang Qing lately has been focusing on video, exploring the contrast between fiction and reality. Here he presents two pieces. In the second video “Integration”, white window-like squares appear at random on a black screen, slowing forming what appears to be a real city skyline. The first video “knots” shows earthworms at a unique angle squirming and tying themselves into knots, which harks back to his past performance where twenty people crawl through a huge cloth tunnel, also trying to tie themselves into knots. These pieces explore the friction between desire and reality, the futile resistance against what is inevitable.
Although much more performances previously, Zhang Qing lately has been focusing on video, exploring the contrast between fiction and reality. Here he presents two pieces. In the first video “Integration”, white window-like squares appear at random on a black screen, slowing forming what appears to be a real city skyline. The second video “Knots” shows earthworms at an unique angle squirming and tying themselves into knots, which recall our memory of his pervious performance work, in which there was 20 people through a huge cloth tunnel to tie the tunnel itself into knots. Both of the two “knot” pieces was derived from the obsession of linear objects, but here, the artist tried to present a paradox with the reality of life-form contrast and the virtual video.
In his video installation “Pry“, Zhang Ding interviews two men, one a young idealistic and devoutly religious Muslim, the other an old man whose demeanor is sexually charged. Through these interviews, we are confronted with the question: Is fate predestined? These two interviews give a very candid glimpse into their subjects. Zhang Ding says, “I am like a thief, prying into two boxes: the first one is a colorful chest that holds fancy gowns and a melancholy woman’s voice. The other is a white box that holds the sacred Koran, wherein the problems of youth weigh down on it with no possible solution.”
In the period of the preparation, Shao Yi is the most dramatic artist. In fact, long before the exhibition, no one knew where he was. People thought he would not participate in the exhibition but he suddenly appeared right before the opening. He says, “Everyone thought I had disappeared but actually, I’ve been here the entire time.” He came prepared with a new piece, a Zen-like performance called “Absence”. In this piece, he sits before a mirror, continuously kowtowing before his reflection for 48 hours, for the duration of the exhibition. For Shao Yi, these actions are no different from the religious meditations that he practices at home. If that is the case, then who is Shao Yi kowtowing to? Who is in the mirror? Is it the self, is it Buddha? Or maybe Buddha is the self, and the self is Buddha?
In the Catholic requiem Dies Irae, it says: The day of wrath, that day which will reduce the world to ashes…” On Ash Wednesday (actually called the Day of Ashes), Catholics have a cross drawn on their forehead with ash. This ceremony begins the period of the Lent Fast, during which a person gives up a bad habit, and purges their soul of the negative implications of such habits. We are not Catholics but the idea of ashes as a catalyst for the cleansing of the soul and stripping of false ideas are things we share. This is what this exhibition attempts to achieve, a pure and clean state free of pretensions and spiritual pollutants.
Lu Leiping, June 2005
Jin Feng:Top Institute, Video Installation, 8’, 2005
Tang Maohong: Orchidaceous-Finger (Theatrical Gesture)，Animation（Three Channels）,2005
Zhang Qing: Integration, Video, 5’36’’, 2005 ; Knots, Video, 6’41’’, 2005
Zhang Ding: Pry, Video installation (Two Channels), 18’30’’, 2005
Shao Yi: Absence, performance, 48 Hours, July 2nd (18:30) - July 4th (18:30), 2005