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Work Survey of Song Tao, 1999-2007

Author: Song Tao 2007-12-05

Artist Statement:

-I was a junior student of Shanghai Arts and Crafts school in1999.
The campus life of 1997 and 1998 was all about playing around for fun, with no big pressure from studying as well. I was doing the homework while playing the things that I was interested in. Every day I was learning new things. When all information reached a point of saturation, I suddenly became 'autistic', unwilling to join any activities and I liked to stay alone by myself. I started to have a great interest in abstract painting, from Mondrian to contemporary ones. Through communications with the artists Ding Yi and Yu Youhan, I understood that it was very necessary for me to calm down and paint by myself, as an act of solitude. From my first work to my first solo exhibition (titled "49368 Square Millimeters"), I mainly worked on the thoughts concerning graphics. The final work was borne out of abstract painting, but much closer to performance, installation or conceptual art.          

-2001 "In Loud Crowds I Dream of Hanging Myself"
The work was shot in Nanjing Road Pedestrian Street and the Bund on the Chinese National Holiday. In this image, a hydrogen balloon was attached to my neck in loud crowds of people. This set of photos expressed my psychology of boredom, I was extremely dissatisfied and disappointed – or maybe the work can be seen as a kind of irony of the sorrow, which I felt at that time.

-  2001-2003 "A Kind of Format"
I started shooting short video pieces on and off from 2001. These pieces were gathered into my first video titled "A Kind of Format". Finally, it was exhibited in 2003.  

-  2003 "Pride"
A turning point occurred in my work from "Pride" to "The Floor". My attitude and feeling towards life had greatly changed. After a period of resistance - to the self and the surrounding state – the feeling was transformed into acceptance and recognition. It was actually a process of accepting and identifying with the self. I found that blind resistance and irony didn't help to resolve any problems. I now felt I should accept this recognition and face things more positively. Only on a basis of identifying everything, can get become creative and keep on working.
-  2003 "The Floor-Life Is Wonderful"
I took a lot of daily photos of friends around, framed the photos about Shanghai as well as the city daily life of Shanghai, and mounted all these snap-shots on the surface of the floor, and made a practically functional floor. Out of the 30.000 photos I had taken, I picked 3.000 that finally ended up covering the floor.

-  2004 Two important partners of mine appeared: B6 and Ji (Bird Head)  
B6: B6 invited me to do some works of video for his music due to his needs of graduated creation. Through this opportunity, we started our first cooperation. We named the work "Three Days Ago", and later we acknowledged this as the first work of the '4.7G plan'. In this work, we established an emotional relationship with our city. We were all young people around the age of 20 at that time, born and grown up here, with our own emotional memory of the city. We started working together from that point.    

Ji Weiyu: In June 2004 he finished his four-year studies in the UK and came back to Shanghai, we were schoolmates before he went aboard, and actually under his influence I started working with photography. We have taken photos together since 2004. Maybe because we hadn't seen each other for several years, we often took photos of each other. Through this opportunity, we edited these photos into our first catalog called "The Beginning of Summer". After finishing the work of editing, we started our formal cooperation and built a photographic collaborative "Bird Head". We edit our photos into catalogs every year and exhibit them every two years.  

- 2004-2006 "From Last Century"
I started shooting the second video "From Last Century" in 2004. In May 2006, the premiere of this short video was in a warehouse where we built a simple cinema, and I named it "YA Cinema". Comparing this video with my first work "A Kind of Format", this work increasingly emphasizes the relationship between the city of Shanghai and people the same age as myself, as well as the short experiences shared by the city and us.  
- 2005 January-May "Some Day"
I took photos of a lawn in front of my door by frequency of every two or three days, finally these photos were framed and molded on a wooden floor about 25 square meters. Because of the seasonal changes, the color of the lawn ranged from green to scorch by one side to the other side. This 25 square-meter floor recorded the time of the first half of the year 2005.  

- 2006 "4.7G-02- Yard"
This was the second part of the '4.7G plan' by B6 and me. In the work of this plan, we all thought we should create the temperament and conception of our work totally different from the first work as far as possible. "4.7G-02- Yard" was started based on this point. In this work, we tried hard to pursue a comfortable and aesthetic feeling from the music and images.
- March 2007, "Four Country"
This is the third work of the '47G plan'. Here, we tried hard to express the concrete impression of local folklife.

In March 2007, "Xin Cun" was formally finished shooting. Meanwhile the plan of 2007 "ugly" also started editing.
In April, the installation plan of Bird Head photo studio was finished and first opened. The photo studio was a four-square meter movable house that can be set up and dismantled anytime. We prepared 20 background boards to be chosen by the audience, and we took Polaroid pictures for them. We released a series of products like postcards, cups, and frames of Polaroid pictures, etc.      

At the end of June 2007, the second solo show "Welcome to Bird Head World" Bird Head was opened. We printed about two thousand photos with glue in back, which was taken in the plan of 2006 and 2007. The audience can stick the photos everywhere they like in the exhibition space. They can also choose whatever background to take photos in the real photo studio located in the exhibition. In this show, we achieved the will of having more communication with the audience, and we think it better explained the meaning of the word "World" in the world of Bird Head.


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