Wednesday, November 12, 2008
"Upside-down Buddha/Arrival at Good Fortune" Chen Zhen
Chen Zhen sure had a lot to say, especially with his alter ego. All in all, I felt that this article was quite philosophical if anything. All that he said seemed to have great meaning, nothing too exact, much of it representing what he had said before concerning the Chinese "talking in a roundabout way...the Chinese don't look at issues directly, and don' state things directly." All of the things he said, I found quite true. I agreed with what he said regarding people to look outside their own little world. Don't conform to what everyone else is doing. Explore and see what is out there. Make connections that you normally would not make and be aware of your environment. When Chen Zhen was talking about whether or not he saw himself Chinese or not, I felt that I could relate. Though I was born in the US, and he only left China, I still felt that what he was saying was quite rational. For me, am I Chinese, or am I American? To be honest, I have a lot of American pride. But what it boils down to is that I still am Chinese. That is my genealogy. I just found his way of thinking to be interesting because I never thought of it his way. We are yellow, but at the very same time, that does not limit us to just being Chinese, or of other race. This is what I feel I have discovered coming to China, but sort of the vice versa way. I came here as, more so, an American. But now I have discovered my Chinese roots. It's hard to explain on my part but what I am trying to say is that this movement to a different environment has opened my eyes, or made me think differently, much like Chen Zhen. It is a different experience. This is how I saw what Chen Zhen was saying, at least on one of his points. The Transexperience, though my experience is at a much lower level than Chen Zhen's. What Chen Zhen is saying, to me, is not a new idea. It is just something that everyone knows but don't really realize they know it. All that he is saying makes sense. It's interesting, yet at the same time, a little obvious.
Chen Zhen seems also to be highly two sided. He takes into account the Chinese perspective and the Western perspective. By him mentioning this in the interview, he makes it a point to show everyone that he does not lean more towards on one side, such as the part he mentions the importance of context to the Westerners as well as the Chinese. Chen Zhen also mentioned something interesting about "misunderstanding." That I liked because I seem to always misunderstand things, especially art. What stimulates art is not the understanding of it, but this misunderstanding of it, thus generating more creativity and move to study and create.
What caught me most of guard with this interview was his analysis of China in more of an economic/international relations point of view. It wasn't that I was shocked that he mentioned this, just that I thought that he wouldn't. I was pleased to see that he did. It backed up everything he said much more concretely, at least for me. Chen Zhen, I feel, is completely right regarding the fact that the economy is the basic level of development for Chinese culture right now. That is partly why China has changed so much in so little time. It is these changes that cause "short circuits" for artists. So many contradictions, so many problems, so many benefits. All these are forming right in front of everyone's eyes.
I was sorry to find that Chen Zhen had passed. He seemed to be a very wise, and knowledgeable artist. One, who instead of seclusion, tried to discover as much as possible, such as his desire to learn Spanish, as he mentioned later in the interview. Everything he does as an artist most certainly is based off of his experience and observations. It's very interesting to see what he would have done, what he would have been able to accomplish if he were able to continue.