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Piercing Pain

Author: Chen Wei 2003-01-06

Zhang Qing is strange, but he himself is not strange. The most strangeness about him is like that every time there are several kinds of concurrent strangeness, with equal forces but from different directions, continually conflict with or deviate from one another and eventually result in surprising endings.
In Zhang's art works, almost none of any element is expected, but still everything seems to be understandable and acceptable. His own wishful thought is unlimitedly extended and stubbornly or compulsively implemented in his works, and become a rock-solid realism in language and behaviour. The audiences often avoid it, suppress it, or even ignore it, but still their spirits are imprinted. The initial irrationalism finally becomes rationalism because of his insistence in defiance of the outside world.

Playing female roles has been standing in the breach in Zhang Qing's art practice. However, to those who think this is similar to the strategy adopted by those male artists look feminine, there's nothing more to say. What matters is that Zhang Qing's interest is not in disguising himself as a woman, as apparently he is only interested in cosmetic which contains vagueness or even vulgarness. What Zhang actually loves is not playing the female role, but presenting the beauty of cosmetics. He does not care if the audience reveals his disguise; instead he is more willing to let audiences appreciate his heavy or light makeup. Moreover, he insists his interest in 'bisexuality', and this is how he came up with the idea of using eels in his previous works. He is infatuated with the existence of bisexuality, sexuality to be exact, and even has illusion that science and technology will help humans evolve to be bisexual some day in the future. Certainly, our attitude and view on this problem do not matter to him at all.

Besides female role playing, Zhang Qing is also interested in crime and even self-torture. His problem is that every time he makes one definition, he will cancel and redefine it. Instead of being cool or overactive while affronting crimes, he pretends to be casual and likes to present and sticks to aesthetic details for long. Taking one of his previous works for example, he asked nurse to use piercing gun to get him 12 piece holes on his ears and nose. The bloodstain around those tiny holes shows the strength of self-torture, and vaguely contradicts with behavioural crime. For a moment, audiences may wonder what on earth he is actually infatuated. The piecing pain? The freshness of bloodstain? Or the form of putting rings after piercing?

Standing-by to release those unexpected pain during process, such ridiculousness always runs through his works, and eventually becomes the overall impression on his works. After playing female role and being pierced with 12 holes, Zhang Qing hops around with a tiny needle to prick those balloons hanging on his back, and the entire scene is filled with ridiculous vagueness. With simple task and goal, he is earnestly against purely ridiculousness. Using own body as a base point, an arc goes round and round like blood vessels, which makes Zhang's all unexpected and isolated elements come into existence.

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