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"Suffering" Body

Die In the Name of Art Author: GAO Minglu Aug,2006

The performance art, Suicide Experience, is about "Suffering" in the name of art.  The goal is not to experience a suicide, but to put the participators' spirits under a virtual suicide situation.  It means that "suicide" is a release of one's living desire.  One example is Wei Guangqing's performance art of Suicide (September 15th to 19th, 1988, Wuhan).  In the announcement, the artist claims that he attempts to "express ego, accept ego, observe ego, and uplift life.  The purpose is to thoroughly develop personality." The artist tries to explore the deeper level of second vision and institution, which has long been oppressed and dissimilated into the society.

Wei Guangqing focused on the pursuit of a profound understanding of human nature in his Suicide performance series.  In the plan of the work, he invites many players to join. The locations are dispersed in different regions of the east suburb of Wuhan. Wei Guangqing regards suicide as the most difficult and complex experience of human beings. So he admires Camus’s philosophy, "Suicide is the only true and serious question of philosophy." In the planning notes of the work, Wei Guangqing first prescribed the performer as the individual, "one" without a name.  He defines the "one" in the following philosophical explanation:

"One is one, oneness is a singular, a symbol, a person, a man, a woman, a living, a deceased, a controller, a controlled, a philosopher, a writer, a critic, a dramatist, a painter, a director, a actor, a dresser, a psychopath, a psychiatrist, a nightwalker, a fantast, a loner, a strong man, a weak man, a spoony, a lovelorn guy, a narcissist, a person of sexual repression, a masturbatory person, a murderer, a victim, a good man, a bad man, after all, who is he indeed?  One doesn't know, and the author of Suicide doesn't know yet."

Obviously, the "One" concerns somebody with a dual personality, bisexual, and insane.  In the performance, Wei Guangqing attempts to represent the situation: the performer enters an unconscious state to experience the dual personality, but his "suicide" remains on the level of a philosophical speech and has not entered the level of life experience, so his Suicide Action is attached to a concept.

------ Wall: History and Borderline of Chinese Contemporary Art, August, 2006, First Edition, P168-171, Publishing House of Chinese People University.

Edited by Lin Sophia Ma, September 2007

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