The dialogue with Zheng Xuewu on the implementation of
Performance in Installation works at Qufu in Shandong Province
As an installation work produced by the use of newspaper, Century Text" is suitable for display in the indoor space, such as art museums, galleries and so on. The aim of the "Century text s trip to Qufu is not to find a new exhibition space. For this work, whether displayed by a box or a long narrow table, or placed in other exhibition spaces, they will only produce different visual effects resulting from the change of the amount and layout methods, just like other installation works made of substances materials, which is not what I expect of this work. I would like to give it life, making it has a real existence value. The original inspiration for this work came from the bamboo in the Spring and Autumn Period, and Confucius in that era became a great thinker in the history. Today, when I visit the Confucius Cemetery, Confucius Temple, and Confucius Family Mansion to which people pay homage generation after generation, I will still suddenly generate a lot of reflection across time and space. The "Century Text" and I are going to carry out a dialogue with the traditional culture, in a "modern times" capacity, with a solemn mood and serious attitude. Qufu is the best place to implement my "performance in installation".
In fact, I did not know that the Government heavily invested in Qufu before the Olympics to transform Qufu into the holy city. I saw a long related report from Sanlian Life Weekly when I came back to Beijing after completed this performance in installation works in Qufu. Just as you feel, I also think that a low level of protection or even no action have already made good historical relics become fewer and fewer, and now more and more historical sense of beauty is destroyed in a large scale by the various well-intentioned but foolish policies . Not only in Qufu, the same tragedy happens in China's many other places. As artists, we have long worried about it, and expressed regret by means of photography, behavior and other forms of works. More of us can only hurry to go to such places where the original sceneries are still left to be seen, with a sigh and regret. What else can the artists do for this?
The Confucius Temple, Confucius Family Mansion, and Confucius Cemetery are all in the same sedateness and privacy, and it is also the same busy outside. When my "century text" and I stay in the above three places, we have been the embodiments of the outside world; quiet down and listen to the voice of Confucius, try to engage in a dialogue with him, and try to connect ancient times and today, traditional and contemporary, quiet and noisy. Of course, we also whisper to the real world out of the sacred wall: hush ---- please be quiet!
I look at this issue like this. First of all, a large number of works do use a variety of Chinese symbols, which is not only our problem, including the blankness of the creative themes and even the likeness of forms which are problems Chinese contemporary art presents in recent years. Chinese modern art probably has many kinds of problems because of only a short history, but it should be noted that we still have a lot of creative arts which have profound cultural connotation. Even though a large number of works make use of traditional symbols, we can not treat them as the same, because there are fairly good works. Just as the Chinese people speak Chinese; it is quite natural for Chinese artists to employ Chinese symbols, whether they are contemporary or classical. Maybe it has a relationship with the works sale, maybe not. Unlike other work, artistic creation has a close relationship with the knowledge of individual artists, their backgrounds and even their characteristics. Whether to use cultural symbols or not should be discussed according to the specific circumstances. Is it necessary? Each artist has a different answer. I think that the evaluation of Chinese contemporary art should not focus on the level of those rubbish works, despite a large number of people at this level. Scholars should pay more attention to those artists with high levels and research value, as well as their works. Only these people can truly represent the Chinese modern art.
In the course of the implementation of this work, I did see a lot of things, but I could not express in a very coherent way. Because in the course of the implementation of the work, most of the time, I was enjoying a vague feeling. From a purely artistic point of view, no matter the century text is placed in what places or which corners in the "three Confucius", they are all so harmonious, and naturally jointly form an installation combination, which was a totally unexpected result! Walking out of the interior spaces in studios, art museums and galleries, the century text has a better visual scene and a new artistic life. It is no longer a quiet material work, but a work owning its soul. From the cultural point of view, the century text is placed in the sacred land, loaded with countless information in today's world and conducting a dialogue and communication across time and space with ancient traditional culture. Like the spectators out of this field, we have a clear picture of todays many fickleness and ugliness, which promotes me to think about the concepts of culture, history, and the like more seriously.