Solo Exhibition: Surrounding
Place: Shangyuan Museum of contemporary art, Exhibition hall, Beijing, China
Portal to a world behind the art works
Exhibition review by Irina Ideas
Surrounding: Embrace, reaching to the core
We exist in the flux of change, between the two worlds, two machines, one is called nature, another is called technology, and the latter hurls forward, grinding, bringing us on it’s back, that offers so much comfort, as we go oblivious into the unknown.
This collection of artworks is about this very topic, reflecting upon the experience of nature, sometimes leading us towards the inability to feel nature because there are too many shields, too many screens, too much history between the outer identity and the inner core. As the technology, originally learning from nature, gradually became an alien on this planet, a visitor that conquers, constructs, deconstructs and finally wonders what is next, humanity also absorbed this sense of alienation, not only between technology and nature but also between each other. The invisible lines deeply seated in every branch of tree are slowly observing but also teaching us while brimming with life, and it seems that now that we are completing the construction and deconstruction circle with technology, this might be a hint to a cure, to go back to the core despite all the distractions of the outer world. Each side of this gateway contains a guardian lion, an archetype from the past, deeply rooted in Chinese mythology, guarding not only against outside but also against self, because it is in the deepest layers of our beings that a truth resides backoning into a harmonious existence inspired by the ecosystem that gave birth to life.
To aim at the center, igniting something that can only burn if space and time are aligned in the celestial machine. Upon observing this collection of Qingzou Wei one immediately gets association to a Flammarion engraving. A piece historically very important because it represents an awakening, reaching towards the invisible gears, an inquiry of the mind, a triumph of the power of observation. A turning point towards reason over dogma, likewise in this body of work, while technology is raging with it’s coldness, freezing everything around us, surrounding us with metal, we need to find the humanity within to connect back to what we are.
Symbolically we travel through past, starting with the fire that leads us to the wood, which feeds the fire, juxtaposing the symmetrical objects, perfectly representing circle within a circle within a circle with the irregular, more human shapes. How contrasting is the human nature, from building the original gravity center towards the symmetry, in the age of industrial, manipulating the environment to the absolute shift towards the irregular shapes, now we find ourselves as we mastered those regular shapes, the patterns found in trees brings us close to our humanness,
The choice of material is also highly communicative and alluding to the original essence of the experience of being human. The installation piece floats, tells us to listen, hear the inside and outside, breath together with nature, while the past represented in the glass and wooden pieces talks to us about the construct that built the pillars of the civilization. Frozen in the dimmed glass, yellowed by time, how everything has it’s expiry and yet we preserve it through the yellow gaze.
The glass as an element has a significant position in Qingzou Wei’s art because there are three pieces that capture the light, the illusion of our eyes, the only work that focuses onto the color and is still consistent with the theme of nature, the wooden elements. The veins of this planet, the lungs of our experience on Earth, we shape and reshape the trees only to find them persist in existing.
Finally we reach the gateway of this collection in the different looks and positions of the guardian lions, embedded in forms as opposed to colour, as they observe the observer, motionless and frozen, but yet effective because it is the time spent in dedication that makes something has significance and they played a significant part in the self preservation, shielding against evils and today it seems that the shielding may be directed at the coldness of technology that we all feel.
The most metaphysical aspect of this exhibition is in finding the vein that nourishes the core, the original idea of a human experience, the observation towards the nature. Just like a tree that leaves the footprint behind, through the tree lines it makes, so does humanity leaves the trace, built through years of trials and errors, traveling from one end of the spectrum to another, counting the extremes, building upon itself, reinventing and now that we have let the arrow of technology fly, we must guide it to the center, a noble and human future we all want to be a part of.
About Qingzuo Wei
Wei Qingzu, originally from Shandong, China, completed his studies at the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts in 15 years. A young apprentice on the road to art, now lives in Beijing/Hangzhou.
Looking upon Qingzuo Wei’s work from this perspective and several months that has passed since the exhibition took place, I can say that the spectrum of concepts is incredibly wide. At first it seemed disconnected to jump from representational guardian lions rooted in Chinese mythology to the glass work augmented in light hinting at the future, while the element of fire ignites the ever present wood. One of the first tools a human started to shape in the constellation of elements that built this civilization, it is probably one of the last, because now finally it is taking a life of it’s own. We are aware of the veins that pulsate through the tree of wisdom and a tree of life, one being very wise and powerful but sometimes destructive and the other, a life that pulsates, exists, breathing in and out. There is something very humane but at the same time active in this collection, it is not only an observation, but an impulse to go ahead, take an arrow, aim towards the meaningful future.
Exploring the work of artist Hilma af Klint, with all the mystical, occult, metaphysical that she has been tapping into, indirectly going deep into the art that would have later be defined as abstract art. She innovated without even being aware of it and was was the world, unaware.
Exploring the world of Petar Lubarda, seeing through all the way to building block that the stone is
This is a story, a personal impression rather, of a great artist Petar Lubarda with his roots in Montenegro, with trunk in former Yugoslavia’s Belgrade and Paris and branches, leaves, fruits and flowers in the World. He reaches deep into the history and yet gives us something completely new, a way to look through the prism of the stone that becomes a bone that becomes a structure that becomes an architecture. An architecture of the cosmic journey that we all take on this planet becoming one with the stone that made us and at the same time we become appalled from time to time when we notice the glimpses of the core. We live in the world so dominated by the ruthless ruler called beauty that often times we live in the superficial layer that the underlying truth frightens us. We have learnt to ignore the depth to such a degree that we follow the footpath of positive psychology, from one landmark to another, to avoid abyss at any price, the abyss of the unknown that the subconscious mind knows.
Louise Bourgeois is crossing the boundaries of any of the definitions and exploring and emphasizing on the prevailing forces of the subconsciousness of the 20th century
Louise Bourgeois graced this planet with her presence spanning almost a century, during which she created a wide range of artistic pieces in different languages of materials and expression. She is one of the artists of 20th century who always came back to the psychology, self observation, getting back to the core, finding essence in the childhood memories and events.