Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What really matters?

Having been living in Shanghai for more than 20 years, I am getting quite indifference about the lives of other people, especially those who live in indigent areas or have comparatively humble jobs. Two weeks ago, I had a visit to M50 and saw two exhibitions——one is painting show from artise Weiyi, the other is an installation of Fang Fudong, recommanded by out instrctor.

Ladies of The Carnal World is the theme of Wei's exhibition. Tracking back in time and locations, Wei presents the huge historical contrasts of the same individuals in different time frames, an object of realism on which he has been working for years.

Like many other artists in China, he is greatly influenced by the tradition of revolution and factors before 1980s. For images such as soldiers and red cravats which embody revolution often appear in his paintings. Also, his attitude is kind of desperate, which is well illustrated by his painting series.In his work, he depicted young people, but they always wear miserable expressions as if they are not promising.His anti-heroines presented in the “Ladies of the carnal world” are all sex workers whose childhood were normal even delight. But through the contrast, he revealed the painful life of those prostitutes. This is the reality, brutal but hard to be defeated. The heroines walk from the past into the present, taking a similar path from fancy to reality.

I believe that many students in our class have already seen the installation East of Que Village just like me. I am always attracted by such theme as the struggle of people or the life in far away places.

After seeing the exhibition, I do feel I have something to say:

First, video is of course more intuitionistic than pictures and photos and as a result it is more likely to attract view’s first attention. In this exhibition, Yang uses six large screens to create a image wall in front of us. We are half surrounded by the screens so in order to see what was going on we have to more around our head and make full use of our eyes. This idea makes audience be part of the exhibition. While moving my head, I also tried to get what the creator wanted to convey.

Furthermore, the dogs as well as the people in the video just do some simple acts. The dogs fought against each other and the people driving tractors works in the field. The repetition of those images made the video a little bit tedious. But as long as I was fully absorbed in meditation, the noise made by dogs and tractors sounded like hypnagogue. They came from my right, my left and my front, made me feel as if I was with those things in rural areas of China.

And, modern artists of China pay a lot of emphasize on the indigent life of those country people. They depict the brutal life famers have to face and the rough environment which hinders them to pursuit a better life. We can say that Yang’s exhibition is full of humanistic care, but as far as I am concerned, it should be bolder and more incisive to reflect the conflict among people, between people and their surrounding as well as among animals.

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