Oscar Wilde had one of his characters announce "I liketo do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments"thereby rendering attention to one's own importance of the self, albeit withhis unique brand of cutting cynicism. This sharp focus on the role of theself has gone through various iterations over the decades since Wilde.
In the50s of last century there was Da Vinci, the 60s saw Ginsberg, 70s had Duchamp,and in the 80s Stephen Hawking. All special figures in their respective fields,and each enlivening audiences with their unique appeal. WithStephen Hawking we had the production of mathematical models of fine thinkingthat helped underpin our knowledge of what we see as we gaze up at the nightsky. His influence in our understanding of the universe has fed a moreenlightened curiosity and spurred more exploration, both being fundamental qualitiesfor artists. The moment when he dragged his sick body to the bed, and reveledin the thoughts that the"black hole is not black" produced ascenario, that breeds intense emotions to evoke; excitement, revelation,sympathy. By the1990s we had begun to see the beginning of a new era, one in which social idolsblended with popular culture seamlessly. And with that there was an advancedcultural background consciously, or possibly unconsciously, walking in theforefront of our ideological consciousness.
The newera has the public act not only as the leader of the group trends, but also asthe impetus for individual consciousness. Under the diverse cultural andartistic contextual atmosphere, artists express themselves more spontaneously,with self-reliance, and introspection. Concurrently we have seen that in thiscontext, being at the edge of the art market does not infer that works arebeyond the cultural atmosphere, but rather that there has been an attempt toforge a purer dialogue between artists, artists and works, and the discoursethat thrives amid such works. In one same space, behind the art workform, there seems to be a "life" dancing vibrantly to its own rhythm.
Do wehave too much to describe but no time to think? too much to watch but no timeto appreciate? EXPRESSION versus INTENTION, is a representation of one kind ofstatement, one kind of attitude of representation and abnormal expression. Theheart of the original sound representation is monologue, is shouting, is screaming...... !Time will eventually begin to dissolve all the initial opposition, butuntil then, it reaches a kind of compromise with tolerance. Consequently,creators and viewers reach a common plateau.
The Artdisplayed at this exhibition reflect the creations that have been formed by avariety of languages, and which as a result are creating a rich vocabulary,from multiple angles of vision and auditory stimulation that were selected byeach of the artists to interpret modern norms. The visual impact for audienceswill be a major experiential factor, but it is an experience that risks beingdistorted by inconsequential reading. Far better to face these pieces directly,and embrace the full experience of the encounter, with the transcendence oftypical, static communication. In this way, through observation, we obtain themost authentic and original perception. This is a form of dialogue that occursbetween viewer and the work, and it goes well beyond the scope of control thatcan be set by anyone one observer. Since we can not regulate it, just let go ofthe need to curtail or control and in this way, we are curious to see howEXPRESSION versus INTENTION!
——Yang Qingqing CarolynLi
Speaking Themselves andDrawing Themselves Exhibition gathered the works of more than a dozen artistsfrom Shanghai and Xi’an. These works are new or the artists’ particular style,and it might be the reason of the exhibition name. I was considering about the“Experimental” in exhibition name, for the modern and contemporary art alreadyhas 30 years history. Chinese contemporary art is often seen in internationalart world and has certain influence. Contemporary art has become a kind of artstyle which is mature and close to classic in China. The so-called experimentalhas declined. On the other hand, from the viewpoint of world, contemporary artalmost has no barrier, it can be anything. Numerous artists, curators,galleries and critics are looking for the birth of a new art species, like theopening of fashion show. Contemporary art no longer has the experimental space.But for Xi’an, I’mafraid we have to play a prequel. Although we are not far away fromcontemporary art on information, under the reality of the facts, the evolutionof contemporary art is still new and experimental (especially for someindividuals).
Speaking Themselves andDrawing Themselves is not a thematic exhibition, only a collection of artists’,but the attitudes of works’ are quite contemporary. Reviewing the “Narrative”modern art and “Social Narrative” after modernism, its appearance is clear—— Icall it “Personal Narrative”. Speaking Themselves and Drawing Themselves isquite appropriate on this point. But there is also acruel “Cultural Jungle” law. Personal broken and meaningless story can notalways impress people or touch the sensitive area of culture. Most of them islike the old man’s nagging or someone’s mumbling to himself. Perhaps each of uswants to write down our own story into the tribe’s epic, and be famed bygenerations. But everyone should be prepared to know, your works are just foryour own memory, just a sense of presence with the name of art. You shouldremain vigilant to be forbidden by society. Then, there might hasanother way, art become personal self treatment (it makes me think the King, mydog, licks its wounds). So there is a quite artistic way, from Albert Camus toItalo Calvino, to Jorge Luis Borges. But it is themselves to different andcomplain the society. They just can not let it go.
This way has a deeppath, the forest is dark and deep. It is the naturally and secretly sing. As anancient prophecy:”if there is a tree fell in the woods, nobody is there, didthe fallen tree make a sound?”
Luckily, the forest isOmbrosa , the guy in the trees named Cosimo.
(the title is inspiredby the Baron in the Trees of Corvino) ——Zhongqiu Su