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We Lost the War before the Battle Began

Author: MIAO Zijin 2018

During the night before the opening, a group of Chinese journalists visited our exhibition, and one of them asked whether we were still installing?
I gave a relaxing answer saying that everything is ready.
It is quite difficult to question whether our exhibition looks unfinished according to her feedback. Actually, the comment from a fresh eye reminded me of my previous discussion with Yunyu Ayo Shih who was intrigued by an architectural concept of pending. The artist attempted to reflect a both vulnerable and solid moment before the materials functioning. It situated in-between construction and removal, while pointing to the flow of a specific period of time.
During the opening, someone from an English magazine said that the show was interesting, but would never happen in UK, since the uncovered ditches were too dangerous to be included in an exhibition.
Inspired by him, I replied that the warning “MIND YOUR STEP” written at the entrance of exhibition space could be replaced by “MIND THE GAP” painted between the train and the platform in London’s tube stations.

Richard Kuan changed his original proposal when he got to know that Yunyu Ayo Shih was about to clean the pipes and the ditches of S-Space’s heating system. Therefore, Richard Kuan kept shooting the working process of Yunyu Ayo Shih everyday, and such companioning relationship generated recordings which could represent the way we stay with each other, collaborate, and share the time-space naturally. Richard Kuan went to the technology hub Zhongguancun in the daytime, and visited open source forums at night in order to solve various technical issues. Finally, he figured out how play his videos in those disassembled machines. The audience looking at the view finder sticked on the floor, the LED screen fixed to the iron frame with a ring-pull and a magnet and the DIY player installed on the window turned out to be performative to our surprise.

One month before the opening, Lin Aojie asked me did our exhibition have a theme?
I said, no, we did not have a subject matter in a conventional sense.
He commented that each artist could do whatever he want separately.
I was like, I recapped my curatorial concept aimed at relationship production (which was the theme), but, never mind, the artists and I had already decided to cross out the title of the curator with the red lines.
During the opening, almost all of the visitors asked me where was the work of the third artist Lin Aojie participating this exhibition? Everyone ignored the curatorial framework composed of four chapters, while each chapter was shaped by two artists talking to each other.
There were several copies of Aojie’s Book on the bookshelf, the cover of each Aojie’s Book sketched a tacit smile. Aojie’s Book were in juxtaposition with the catalogues of Aojie’s preferred ShanghART artists on the right-hand side, and those … lol lol lol you see what I mean on the left-hand side.

There was a photo of Aojie and Lorenz we placed in the office secretly (originally, there was a photo of Lorenz). The photo frame was knocked down by the staffs for many times, but no one was aware of what was wrong with it.

Well, the curatorial is dead. Long live the artistic.

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