Issue No. 113 (2016)
Theme:B Zone Art
A.T: Utopia Group,Jin Yangping,Li Bo, Double Fly Art CenteRr,Nut Brother,Zhou Yilun
A.N: Fang Lijun,Ding Yi,Liu Dahai,Wang Min,Xu Aiguo,Song Yige
B Zone Art
ACADEMIC HOST: DU XIYUN
Art is beyond art. Politics, economy and culture have always been a close integration with interaction, and we can only see the essence of culture by putting it into the political and economic structure. Clearly marked by “Stars Art Exhibition” in 1979, Chinese contemporary art has been closely related to the ups and downs of Chinese society’ s development since its emergence.
Different from the development history of western modern and contemporary art which completely opens to life after experiencing the formalism booming, Chinese contemporary art by no means starts from modernism and develops in an orderly linear way. The reason lies in the fact that it is a fantasy for the history to repeat orderly when Chinese society opened the door to developed countries after the “Great Cultural Revolution” and the contemporary civilization achievements, which ought to be absorbed successively, emerged simultaneously in sight. Faced with the urgent need of society, it could only be dealt with case-by-case, borrowing and creating according to specific needs. Looking back at the development path of Chinese contemporary art, it is carried out mainly around the relationship between individuals and survival situations. Of course, in the process of expressing the emotions, the effectiveness of art language needs to be addressed, thus promoting the development of the art language.
It is the instinctive needs of life to survive and gain more happiness. Satisfaction degree of life’ s needs becomes the fundamental criterion for individuals to measure a society. With the complex action of multiple forces, Chinese society, which has kept opening up in more than three decades, allows more and more possibilities. During this process, countless individuals’ understanding of situation and needs of life are also growing vigorously in various ways. The benefit games driven by it make the society’ s development full of uncertainties, and new changes incessantly springing up.
In recent years, a chain reaction caused by factors, among which the economic slowdown is the most important, has a profound influence on changes in many fields. The ongoing extensive phenomena, with their great confusion and complexity, are making it difficult to grasp. But for people who are personally on the scene, these changes are reflected in very specific real daily life. Depart from one’ s position in the benefits pattern, different people have different reactions. Those who can get more benefits only by continued opening up will be sensitive to the squeezing survival situation and increasingly solidified society when self-reviewing and looking around. When they seek possibility to break through with the inertia of opening up, they have complex mentality when encountered with the real situation.
Artists are first of all human, and no one can lift his heavy body off the ground by pulling his own hairs. The starting point of contemporary art is to face the fact that rather than avoid it and to express the truth rather than varnish it. These ongoing new changes are also actively reflected in some sensitive artists and are naturally presented as art works. Recent years have witnessed the emergence of many artists such as Deng Dafei (Utopia Group), Dai Jianyong (Coca), Jin Yangping, Nuts Brothers, Jiukou Zouzhao, Li Bo, Liu Weiwei, Double Fly Art Center, Zhou Yilun, etc. These artists recognize that they are tiny individuals, and even mock their own weakness; in the meanwhile, they do not give up the right to express the truth, nor the active search for new possibilities. To achieve effective breakout, they face up to their sluggish survival and trying situation, brew proper expressions from problems, and often deliberately use further intensified “bad taste” for irony. Growing up in an era with more open culture, they are increasingly familiar with the situation of contemporary art in an international context, and also can grasp the diversity of artistic expression more easily, even can shuttle freely between art and non-art areas. On the other hand, the focus of their attention and expressions has always been China’ s domestic situation and problems viewed from their own experiences.
Ruins, bottom, the middle class, private entrepreneurs, employees, freelancers, women…… The focused issues in these works are of vital importance to many people in this particular period. Folk, wild, impendent, assuming, uneasy, anxious, restless, messy, confused, hysterical, bad, bug, bullshit, breakout…… these words correspond with feelings in these artists’ works. The expression of these works often aesthetically agrees with new expressions and vocabulary in other areas and even daily life. If we use “A” to refer to the mainstream, the strong and the serious, then these artists are in B zone. Their artistic ways to actively produce and promote their cultural discourse are here generally referred to as “B Zone Art”.
In a tension relationship where hesitation to move forward coexists with readiness to act, and in a delicate situation where darkness and gloom coexist with clear awareness, such attitude and expression actively get involved and return to the starting point of Chinese contemporary art again.
April 1, 2016
图1 邓大非《黑暗乌托邦2——永远不要表现出沮丧》截图 录像 2014年
Deng Dafei Dark Utopia 2 Screenshot and Video 2014
Introduction: This work was inspired by a poem I wrote in the beginning of 2014 – the Dark Utopia 2. (January 15th2014/Nigh, Dark and Cold/Wrapping the light, yet not accepting its presence/Here I am, outside the fifth ring of Beijing/Desperate, Eradicated/Thou cannot be seen, lonely Snowden/No tears, pity, nor sympathy/Frustration and resentment/Thou cannot express/Outside the fifth ring of Beijing/Here I am, abandoned relentlessly/Surrounded by abysses/Shall I curse the sun?/For casting its black spots on me/NO!)Those sentences went on flames in some corners outside the fifth ring of Beijing in the dead of night. They burned at crossroads, village entrances, dam, road ends, dismantled houses and deserted communities. The poem is full of moaning, frustration and helplessness. It refers to the living area of migrant workers outside the fifth ring of Beijing, a place where people haste around, flocking and living like ants and a place where crimes happen at a high frequency. At daytime it is thrusted with messy and noisy crowds, dirty restaurant and shoddy architectures. It easily falls into oblivion as Beijing, the giant metropolis is expanding all around. Vans carrying sands and cement come and go in great numbers as all things here are temporary and might be dismantled at any time. A Dark Utopia – this is how you address this grey area where everything seems to be at odds with the harmonious society.
Those sentences burns with a touch of romanticism. Fire is the energy of transformation. It incinerates the old matters and endow the poem with a sense of severity. The blazing words in darkness are not merely shouts, but rather, the enormous flames that were devoured by the formidable city, which reminds us of a great man’s work – Single Sparks Setting the Prairie Ablaze(written by Deng Dafei)
图4—7 戴建勇《“六环比五环多一环”#13——窥视西北门村》 艺术项目 2014—2015年
Pictures 4 – 7
Dai Jianyong The Sixth Ring – One More Ring than the Fifth: A Peep into the Xibeimen Village Art Project 2014 – 2015
Introduction: The work, hosted by Floor #2 Press, is an art investigation program into the administrative villages in the fifth to sixth ring of Beijing. The Xibeimen village belongs to the Dongba County loated in the northeastern part of Chaoyang District. The Dongba County is adjacent to Louzizhuang County in the east, Pingfang County in the south, Tai County in the west and Jinzhan County in the east. It has a total area of 24.6 km2. There are 9 village committees (Their names are Qikeshu, Shandian, Xibeimen, Dongfeng, Houjie, Jiaozhuang, Dongxiaojing, Juzifang and Sanchahe) within the county governing 25 natural villages. It has a resident population of 20 thousand and a mobile population of 50 to 60 thousand. The northern part of Dongba County, a single stretch of Xibeimen, Dongfeng and Houjie villages, is the most densly populated area. Dai Jianyong decided to carry out the art program there after negotiations with the program committee. He spent over 10 days observing the villages, from December 2014 to January 2015, the coldest period in the northern part of China. He has taken photos and videos continuously for 24 hours and spent his daily lives in the villages.
Dai Jianyong was born in Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province. His net name is Brother Paralysis. He graduated from college of fine arts of Shanghai University in 1999. This young photographer now works and lives in Shanghai.
Dai’s project Tai Chi Images has went on for 10 years. Starting from 2006, Dai created a lot of shootings every day that aims at interpreting the modern life. Those photos were shot regardless of light and shadow compositions. A Peep into the Xibeimen Village is the first shooting project after Dai’s return from New York. It is consistent with the New York style of photography and mainly manifests the daily lives of the migrant workers. However, Shots and Cameras that features the image of villages from a strong contrast to New York.
图8—10 刘伟伟《众泰》 艺术项目 2015年
Pictures 8 – 10
Liu Weiwei ZOTYE Art Project 2015
Introduction: ZOTYE is a company. It is a self-organized institutions of the taxi drivers. There are now over 12000 taxis and more than 30,000 taxi drivers in Xi’an, whose rights are often challenged. In the beginning of 2015, 95 Xi’an taxi drivers started ZOTYE, each of them contributing 30,000 RMB yuan and becoming the shareholders. Although these drivers acquired the business license through strenuous efforts, they are not yet allowed to go into operation. In 2015, Liu Weiwei, while in Chongqing, was invited by the Xi’an Art Museum to join the “Young Artists Program” in Xi’an. Several days after his arrival, Liu noticed the rigorous events of the taxi industry there. He immediately decided to shoot a documentary featuring the taxis driver’s story of right protection, which took Liu two weeks of work. He went to the driver’s rent place and the second-hand car market in the suburb areas with a walking DV and an iphone. He also went the court and recorded taxi drivers learning about law and protecting their own rights. One of their practices is to file applications to government agencies and banks, asking for information disclosure. A total 1500 pieces of applications were sent. Liu Weiwei was born in Shandong Province in 1988 and graduated from Sichuan College of Fine Art. He now works and lives in Huangjueping in Chongqing. He never thought of earning bills from his action arts.
8. Working Place of ZOTYE. Picture of Liu Weiwei Shooting the Documentary
9.Screenshot of the Documentary of ZOTYE
10. On July 9th, ZOTYE was shown in Xi’an Art Museum. The taxi drivers were watching the documentary in the museum. This is a part of their journey for right protection, and is also the first time they set foot on an art museum.
图11—12 刘伟伟《射击》 录像 23分21秒 2014年
Picture 11 – 12
Liu Weiwei Shooting Video 23min. 21sec. 2014
Introduction: The major content of the video: Liu Weiwei interviewed three workers in a refrigerator manufacturing plant in Guangzhou and invited them to practice shooting in the suburb.
图13 九口走召《洞穴壁画》 空间装置 2015年
9 mouth Cave Paintings Space Installation 2015
Introduction: He will finish a masterpiece without images. A word game that is similar to caves. Like his photos works, this novel-like graffiti will lead the visitor into a personal and clandestine world. He tries to break away from the inertia during creations. In this work he became a novelist, or, a narrator who hopes to transform every individual story into the internal structure of spaces, which also includes the spectators. He pays much more attentions on words, texts and the movement of writing. The obstacle of meaning and recognition naturally constitute the non-text feature, which is images for the spectators on the spot. We see Russian on the window, these are poems, through which you can look into the distant places.( written by Li Zhenhua )
图14—16 九口走召《Masturbation》系列 图片 2014年
Pictures 14 – 16
9 mouth series of Masturbation Pictures 2014
Introduction: Woman is the subject and carrier of Jiukou’s works. His photos lives on women, yet it also overrides them. This subtle relation originates from the most primitive worship and explorations. The Masturbation Series unleash the power of women to the greatest extent during such explorations. Women’s masturbation is not regarded as a typical case in the patriarchal society. It is more ignored than being prohibited. However, one thing that cannot be forgot is that everyone has the right to seek pleasures.
Jiukou-Zouzhao, or known as 9 mouth, is born in Jinzhou in 1988. He now lives in Beijing.
Jiukou treats photography as the means of expression and the artistic language. He records the awakening of women’s self-conscious driven by lust and interacts with the real world. Jiukou is also known in many other fields apart from photography, writing and modeling.