Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Qiu AnXiong's "Nostalgia"

The exhibition at Bund 18 was something that I completely did not expect. I thought that the gallery was going to be paintings of Chinese words and characters and pictures of mythic animals just like how I imagine any other Chinese art gallery to be like. I failed to realize how much art in general has developed over the years, especially the category of “contemporary art.” Qiu AnXiong’s exhibition, “Nostalgia,” combines his newfound love for his homeland while putting into perspective of what it is to be a human being on this planet. A lot of the nostalgic feelings he has for China comes from the time when he went to study abroad in Germany. AnXiong longed for his native land and began to study more about his culture. The more he learned, the more he appreciated the place that he came from. I feel that the videos that he created after coming back to China in 2003 are his new reawakened attitudes toward the country. In the information packet, it says that “in the medium of film, where both time and space are extended beyond the common experience, it is the power of looking into the distance that stirs the imagination.” In his films, he tends to show us a lot of the rural and underdeveloped parts of China that we normally associate with the country—farmlands, factories, and unpaved roads. However, in these short film clips, he gives us hope and optimism that one day these places will become much more. In the water video that was shown on the ground, the droplets of water represented life that was on the horizon. If you look closely after a few minutes into the clip, flies start buzzing around giving us the feeling that the region was not as dead as we thought it was. In the work called “Snow,” AnXiong shows us a snowy day on a farm. No matter what the weather condition, farmers still have to tend the fields and the fields still have to produce. Perhaps he’s showing us the greater theme of learning to deal with our temporary hardships and obstacles that we feel we cannot overcome in life. We must be able to see the “vast expanse of sky and sea” and be able to look at the potential we have. The same goes for the potential of these deserted areas that may one day become the next metropolis.

1 comment:

Matt said...

The part that caught my eye in your post was where you described the snow video. It was just neat to compare what you thought to that of Yvon. Just interesting, who knows what the artist was actually feeling at the time.