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A lot of ash – A lot of dust

Author: Lu Leiping 2005

A lot of movement a lot of videos a lot of installations a lot of paintings a lot of photographs a lot of films a lot of curators a lot of artists a lot of theories a lot of art museums a lot of dollars a lot of masters a lot of collectors a lot of exhibitions a lot of opening days a lot of journalists a lot of spectators a lot of Jin Feng a lot of performances a lot of alcohol a lot of pretty girls a lot of Zhang Qing a lot of music groups a lot of secret service agents a lot of art centers a lot of Shao Yi a lot of foundations a lot of sculptures a lot of Tang Maohong a lot of new medias a lot of styles a lot of Zhang Ding a lot of opinions a lot of days a lot of fucking a lot of vertigos a lot of ash, a lot of dust…

Group Exhibition: a lot of ash - A lot of dust (Videos & performance)
Curator: Lu Leiping
Artists: Jin Feng, Tang Maohong, Zhang Qing, Zhang Ding, Shao Yi
Date: 2005 June 2nd, 18:30 – Exhibition last for 3 days only!
Where: BizArt Art Center, 50 Moganshan Lu, Bldg. 7, 4/F


A lot of ash – A lot of dust

In Chinese the word hui has many meanings -- ash, dust, grey ... all which possess an neutral and low-pitched orientation, a tone which A lot of ash – A lot of dust tries to express. 'A lot of ash – A lot of dust' just like a self-evident sign, which shows an inornate attitude of naturalism : it is to focus on the artworks themselves, instead of giving up any great idea and extra structure, peeling away anything unessential. The artists have to  introspect, reflect and criticize themselves, rather than paying more attention on thinking about how to be compatible with an exhibition subject. In fact, it is a hard self-groping process that means the artists have to be courageous, stripping their false exterior, making their inner thoughts, reflections and experiences transparent and bare, trying to create their own language and unique expression from their personal practice and explore. Sharing this philosophy, five artists Jin Feng, Shao Yi, Tang Maohong, Zhang Qing, Zhang Ding and Shao Yi gathered here.Having been an university teacher for many years, Jin Feng's artwork often criticises the hypocrisy of education system. In his piece 'Top institution' , each subject, shown in a hierarchical pyramid, says the same slogan : 'Make the Professional Arts & Crafts College the top art design institute in Shanghai !' It is an idealistic sentiment that at the same time points out the ironic reality of the situation.Tang Maohong's rich imagination is shown by his short animated video "Orchidaceous-Finger (theatrical gesture)". He describes this piece as his "Personal Pop Art". This piece is rounded framed like a Chinese traditional birds & flowers painting with multifarious scenes of mushrooms, flowers, pagodas, etc., growing from or interacting with people randomly. There are full of fantastic images and disorder plots to be composed into a magic surrealistic world which between real-life and illusion, between Chinese tradition and future.Although much more performances previously, Zhang Qing lately has been focusing on video, exploring the contrast between fiction and reality. Here he presents two pieces. In the first video "Integration", white window-like squares appear at random on a black screen, slowing forming what appears to be a real city skyline. The second video "Knots" shows earthworms at an unique angle squirming and tying themselves into knots, which recall our memory of his pervious performance work, in which there was 20 people through a huge cloth tunnel to tie the tunnel itself into knots. Both of the two "knot" pieces was derived from the obsession of linear object, but here, the artist tried to use the reality of life-form contrast with the virtual video o present a paradox.In his video installation "Pry", Zhang Ding interviews two men, one a young idealistic and devoutly religious Muslim, the other an old man whose demeanor is sexually charged. Through these interviews, we are confronted with the question: Is fate predestined? These two interviews give a very candid glimpse into the privacy of their subjects. Zhang Ding says, "I am like a thief, prying into two boxes: the first one is a colorful chest that holds fancy gowns and a melancholy woman's voice. The other is a white box that holds the sacred Koran, wherein the young's problems weigh down on it with no possible solution."In the period of the preparation, Shao Yi is the most dramatic artist. In fact, long before the exhibition, no one knew where he was. People thought he would not participate in the exhibition but he suddenly appeared right before the opening. He says, "Everyone thought I had disappeared but actually, I've been here the entire time." He came prepared with a new piece, a Zen-like performance called "Absence". In this piece, he sits before a mirror, continuously kowtowing before his reflection for 48 hours, for the duration of the exhibition. For Shao Yi, these actions are no different from the religious meditations that he practices at home. If that is the case, then who is Shao Yi kowtowing to? Who is in the mirror? Is it the self, is it Buddha? Or maybe Buddha is the self, and the self is Buddha?In the Catholic requiem Dies irae, it says: The day of wrath, that day which will reduce the world to ashes…" On Ash Wednesday (actually called the Day of Ashes), Catholics have a cross drawn on their forehead with ash. This ceremony begins the period of the Lent Fast, during which a person gives up a bad habit, and purges their soul of the negative implications of such habits. We are not Catholics but the idea of ashes as a catalyst for the cleansing of the soul and stripping of false ideas are things we share. This is what this exhibition attempts to achieve, a pure and clean state free of pretensions and spiritual pollutants.

Lu Leiping, June 2005



Works list:

Jin Feng
Top Institute, Video, 2005

Tang Maohong
Orchidaceous-Finger (Theatrical Gesture),Animation(Three Channels), 2005

Zhang Qing
Integration, Video, 2005
Knots, Video, 2005

Zhang Ding
Pry, Video installation (Two Channels), 2005

Shao Yi
Absence, performance, 48 Hours, July 2nd (18:30) - July 4th (18:30), 2005

Related Exhibitions:
A Lot of Ash - A Lot of Dust

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