ShanghART Gallery 香格纳画廊
Home | Exhibitions | Artists | Research | Press | Shop | Space

Article by Sun Xun: The Time Vivarium I

Author: Sun Xun 2015-04-22

Many years later, I’m still not sure whether I can find such a mountain inside my memories: not grand enough though, with a few plants growing on the sunny side of the mountain, most of them were short pines and cypress. And on the dark side of the mountain, you can see lots of spotless and rough rocks where quite a lot bristlegrasses emerged randomly. There were a couple of little bright yellow flowers among those grasses. Take a glimpse of it, you’ll find nail-sized grey butterflies and chalky white ones flickering inside a huge field of starry yellow flowers. Vaguely,  you can see several hillocks covered by weed. Piles of white papers, exposed to much sun and rain, scattered around the hillock. There were also several hillocks that were quite huge and tall, wrapped up with black soil and they give subtle smell of earth. On the top of the hillock, there was a half piece of brick, beneath it, a yellow papyrus slouched. This was a new tomb, while other shorter tombs were dumped, since a skull was still visible aside the grass. Grasshoppers, sharp-headed and with pink wings, flew from the hollow eyes of the skull accompanied by sound of flap. It is said that only in rare coincidence will you find dark purple ganoderma, growing in a twisted way, beside a grave. Such kind of ganoderma, if cooked as soup, was regarded as a panacea for women. Since it grows near the coffin, it is called an “extreme Yin stuff”, thus such thing is not suitable for men. But nobody knows what would happen if it is fed to a man. Several pools in the mountain were weakly connected to the artificial reservoir miles away. In rainy days, number of mosquitoes would probably decline by half. But it was quite unpredictable in dry season because those tadpoles seldom turned into frogs or toads. Back of the mountain inhabited five lamas, who used to live half way up the mountain in the Lama Temple similar to the Potala Palace. However, the temple, out of repair for long years, underwent a big fire and collapsed by half and only statues of Buddha remained the original situation. So the lamas had to live in villagers homes by turn down the hill. In usual, they kept chanting with gestures, except for some time that they help with farming. The backyard of the temple was a big land planting beans. Every summer, the sound of donkeys, grasshoppers and cicadas fell and rose one after another. All those insects that enjoy buzzing loved to stay in the beans land. Generally they had a pair of invisible wings, one of which carried a little round pattern like a mirror, but it’s not on both sides. In fact, insects make sounds not by mouth, but by using one wing to hit the “mirror” on the other. There are old people saying: If insects can rub the “mirror” until it reflects, then they can survive in the winter and even able to speak human language in the next spring.

After five lamas left the temple, animals in the mountain moved there, including crows, owls and wild cats coming from nowhere. They inhabited behind the statue of Vajra who was holding a lute. Three other statues were all destroyed by a big fire. Only this one survived, but left black and carbonized throughout the body. Above the statue, the ceiling was broken so there was a leakage of sky where eagle-like kites could be seen hovering over the temple. Opposite the Vajra was a statue of Sakyamuni, originally painted in clay with gold outlines. However after the temple collapsed, no one fixed it any longer. The statue had lost its superficial gloss but looked more modest and merciful, in a kind of purified beauty. The back of the Buddha statue was worn enough to form a hole. A red fox came to inhabited in the hole everyday after the sun went down and left on the other day’s morning. Villagers said they often heard voices of chanting from the temple accompanied by spots of gleam, but they couldn’t find anything wrong the other day. Since there were quite lot rumors of ghosts through the village, nobody cared too much about it. They just avoided going to the temple gradually. Only several cattle wondered from the temple downward the hill.

On the peak of the mountain, was an inscription of Tibetan Buddhism engraved on a cliff. Tantrism was spread here via Mongols. The inscription seemed to be White Tara. Back of the rock was a line, carved: Mao Zedong thought and Yimatu Mountain Lasts Forever! The line had once been painted red so some brown spots remained. The structure “毛”(mao) was more like “七”(seven)now. Beside it, were some jujube trees, through branches full of thorns; you can see a bottomless hole very far away. The rim of the hole shared the same line with the horizon, above it was the the sky. Faint purple mist faded from the middle of the hole to the sky, followed by glamorous cobalt blue permeating into one’s heart straightly. Higher, was boundless white which was enough to make people believe such a myths: a white dragon slipped into the hole by chance and turned into numerous silky smoke. The smoke combined the sky with various trains and buses. You drag these trains and buses from somewhere very deep beneath the earth, and then chain them up along the big hole in the space we stands. Among the them, some were made in Soviet Union, some in Japan while others were made in Shen Yang vehicle factory which was painted quotations of Mao in red on the body of the trains and buses. The compartment loaded mine, dirty fossils, trilobite, nautilus, turtles and eremochloa ciliaris, rusty rifles and hand grenades. A story happened a long time ago burst out without polish. The experience of space and time suddenly fell apart as we stare at the huge hole before us. Men’s consciousness was never limited that much.

By the hole’s side was a huge cone, all black, its tip was upward to the sky. Some giant chimneys were close to the cone. Grey smoke was leaking from it, a gust after a gust, and finally turned into clouds. Squint your eyes then you can capture a wide field of “matchboxes” scattered around ---- you see a city. Everything happened in this city was rooted to the biggest open coal mine and the biggest power plant of Asia, or should we say, it was coal mine and power plant that built the city. Yimatu Mountain is the highest mountain of the city. The huge cone was actually a spoil heap. The spoil pile was a part of the mine coal mine that can’t be burnt; they existed ever since the mine got exploited. The procedure of exploiting an open coal mine was from surface to deep down the earth. Thus, the spoil heap piled up according to the pace of exploiting within decades and was reaching out to the sky as “spirit of history” so far.

Related Artists:
Related Exhibitions:
Sun Xun: The Time Vivarium


© Copyright ShanghART Gallery 1996-2024

沪公网安备 31010402001234号