An Essay about My Creation
Everything in the world has its historical dimension of time and space. As a reminder of Chinese late Qing Dynasty, the OldSummerPalacehas experienced both prosperity and desolation. In 1860, it almost became a place of scorched earth after being robbed and burned by British and French allied forces. In 1900, the Eight-Allied Forces invadedBeijing, and theOldSummerPalacewas robbed again. It was also in a desolate situation during the Revolution of 1911, and many cultural relics were stolen. In the period of Cultural Revolution, the landscapes in theOldSummerPalacewere filled up and destroyed . . . . Today it is in a static state. However, its history will continue in the artists’ world.
“A Registration Report of Shanghai World Expo 2010” was passed by the 138th representative assembly of Bureau of International Expositions on December 1, 2005. Besides excitement, there were inexplicable thoughts lingering in my mind.
According to Hong Kong’s newspaper Sing Tao Daily, the world-renowned Christie’s will sell two bonze animals’ heads, the rat and the rabbit by action inParis. They once were the objects in theOldSummerPalace, but had been cut down and stolen by French and British allied forces. It is expected that the deal price will be up to two hundred million RNB. Among twelve bronze animal heads, five have returned toChinaand the presence of the rest is still unknown. So people guess that the rat and the rabbit are probably the last ones people can see in the public. Sixty-seven Chinese attorneys recently formed a public interest litigation group. They have prepared to file a lawsuit inFranceagainst the auction house, as well as the holder of two bonze heads. Their purpose is to stop the auction and get back Chinese national treasure.
in France uction, recourse tors. holder of two bonze hears.rces fromHistory should not only exist in books and literatures; it also needs to appear in our thoughts and reflections. Only in this way, history will be alive.
There has been 4 days left from the auction inFrance. Liu Yang, head of the legal team which claim to get back the animals’ heads, will boarded a flight by himself toFrance. The primary purpose of his trip is to stop the auction and have two national treasures returned to china.
Jacques Ferrier, designer of French Pavilion at Shanghai Expo, recently made a survey in the construction site, a place nearLupuBridge. The French Pavilion will be officially constructed at the end of November. When I am thinking about the thriving construction and the relics of theOldSummerPalace, I have a sense of unspoken uneasiness.
Hugo compared theOldSummerPalaceand to the Parthenon in his letter to Captain Bartlett. He thought that they represented the east and the west respectively, but they could never escape the fate of devastation during invasions. The civilizations that they represent are as brilliant as before and will shine forever.
True patriotism needs no showing off; it is self-evident. It is a sense of belonging and pride, obtained by individual citizens who live in this country with dignity and norms. In history, the nationalism which boasted itself but in fact was empty was nothing but a seemingly powerful fantasy. It behaved like a drunken man, who injured others while also witnessed its own decay.
—From Hong Qingming’s Microblog
Today we are in a severe era when people have lost their sense of memories and moral principles. People’s indifference towards history makes them hold no reverence to history. As a historian Carl once said: “History is mobile and has been reconstructed constantly. It always lives among the past, present and future. It not only refers to the past, but also point to the present and future.” We can not escape history because we always live in the present.
TheOldSummerPalaceis real. Its existence used to tell its uniqueness to the world. And now it is telling about its one-hundred-year history. With time changing, culture develops and politics reformed, the stories that it tells us will also be changing. We need to capture and reflect on its reasons in the present context.
The relationship between conceptual photography and objective photography is dialectical. The real problem is what ideas the artist wants to express. Therefore, the conceptual photography can also contain factors of documentary photography in expressing ideas on the basis of objective reality.
My creation seems like closely related to politics these days, but an artist’s understanding of history and society is not monotonous. It can be independent from both mainstream consciousness and the official art form.
Brokeback Venus has unparalleled beauty, which is not because its form of incomplete. The reason is that it has inherent mystery which gives people imagination. TheOldSummerPalaceis my Venus.
Contemporary art is an art with question awareness. The presentation of current issues is the responsibility of art and the artists.
The relics in theOldSummerPalaceand theWorldExpoGardensas two different historical existences have witnessed and experienced the yesterday and today inChina. They have also anticipated the future. If I associate those two significant and thought-provoking sites together, can I make people re-examine the present world from the perspective of historical changes and existence?
As an individual life with continuity, man has a constantly enriched, deepened, and sublimated process of spiritual growth, which is a historical and cultural process.
Image involves into contemporary art as a carrier and medium. It has begun to be part of the overall narrative of Chinese contemporary art. Photography, new media art, installation, performance art and videos are integrating with each other, with their independent aesthetic value.
In the digital age when there is a huge resource for creation, the important thing for photography is to express the position of their own history and different cultural orientations.