Exhibition – Indigestion and Digestion
We will reserve an entire passenger railroad car adjacent to the dining car, on the train from Guiyan to Kunming, and set up an ‘Art Car’ there. During this one-day journey that crosses an entire province, we will invite passengers to visit the ‘Art Car’ to view live performances, videos, paintings and slide lectures and to participate in discussions with our crew and artists. Most of the art works and the mediums experienced there will be new to the audience. Modern and contemporary Chinese art has a tradition of ‘coming from the people and serving the people.’ We will be showing slides of the old traces of the Red Army’s propaganda slogans still found on the walls along the road of Long March. These slogans epitomize the ‘Art for the People’ campaign, begun in Yannan in 1942 with Mao, where the ideal of art by and for the people was formulated into a political doctrine. It manifest itself in the Peasant Painting movement and the Workers Art movement and most palpably in the Red Guard Art of the Cultural Revolution.
Yang Fudong, “City Light,” video, 2000
Xu Zhen, “Shout,” Vdeo, 1998
This exhibition is entitled ‘Indigestion and Digestion.’ As passengers make their way to and from the dining car, the center of most social activity on these types of long-distance trains, they will encounter our ‘Art Car.’ We expect that these passengers will be quite surprised when they stumble upon our traveling exhibition and are confronted with a seemingly out of context encounter with art. We have purposely selected provocative works for this leg of the journey, such as Zhu Fadong’s performance Man For Sale – the artist walks in public with a sign on his back – “Man for Sale, Price Negotiable,” Wang Jinsong’s Good Morning Beijing – the artist walks in public spaces while hand cuffed, Yang Fudong, City Light. 2000, Xu Zhen’s Shout (video, 1998) – the artist shouts randomly into a crowd and videotapes the surprised responses, and Yang Zhenzhong’s I will Die (video, 2000) – people of different ages and professions say to the video camera: “I will Die.” The reaction and response of the passengers as they digest what we are presenting will hopefully stimulate a dialogue and contribute to the curator’s and artists’ reexamination of the issues of art and audience. Together we will eat, sleep, live and attempt to truly engage in the lives of our audience. In the evening, the Art Car will revert to a normal rail car, and the artists and curator’s crew will be ordinary passengers. When we arrive in Kunming and after we disembark, the Art Car, as with the nature of the commodity, no longer carries its past, is returned to the people, who will immediately fill it, scrambling for available seats necessary for their long journeys to Beijing.
Zhu Fadong, “Man Lost & Found Ad.” 1993
Zhu Fadong, “Man for Sale,” and “ID card,” Performance, 1994
“Good Morning Beijing,” Performance, 1994
“Newspaper Man,” Performance, 1993
“I Will Die,” Video, 2000
” To Marry A Mule,” Performance, 1995
Zhu Fadong, “#14,” 1995
Zhu Fadong, “For A New Century #123,” 2000
“Brilliant Sunshine Series,” 1999