THE ENDLESS POLES OF A FUGITIVE: On the Art of Qin Chong Author:Feng Boyi Date: 2012-09-21 Size:
  In the context of a cultural nomad, “migration” is voluntary, involuntary, or forced geographical displacement. This drifting has a direct relation to artistic creation. Migration can also stimulate an artist’s thinking on distances, journeys, and differences and inspire thei

  In the context of a cultural nomad, “migration” is voluntary, involuntary, or forced geographical displacement. This drifting has a direct relation to artistic creation. Migration can also stimulate an artist’s thinking on distances, journeys, and differences and inspire their concrete embodiment in creation. Qin Chong is an artist from Xinjiang, a case study in the circuit diagram of Chinese contemporary art. He was raised in Xinjiang, came to Beijing for school, then lived in Germany, and later returned to Beijing. His life and travels, separations and returns, can be seen as an offshoot of this greater journey. You are the places you choose, you become your art, and your experience is that of a cultural nomad.

  This existence is one of difference, mobility, and uncertainty. This is the idea of physical and spatial displacement, but it is also a sense of life and creation and the generation of narrative language, evoking new ideas about mobility or change. In a globalized world, “trans-border creation” represents a great transformation in third world art centers, which drives a series of changes in the pursuit of creative concepts, methods and the use of cultural resources. The evolution from unified to multi-dimensional cognitive functions implies that space is being displaced towards a goal. In the physical and mental “spatial dislocation” process, this has already become the key to the generation of new creative ideas and the expansion of creative freedom. Because modern art has developed from conceptual art to contextual art, originality has been given secondary status. Qin creates using traditional Chinese culture and Western artistic resources and symbols, borrowing from unique

  ideas and alternative culture to create artworks. This is actually a new creative phenomenon. Critics must evaluate this kind of art and borrow new descriptive forms to be able to master these new development trends. In the past, when we talked about art, we thought concepts gave artworks meaning. Now, we discover the meaning of works in context. These traditional elements become expressive forms. We cannot say that artists create by deriving modernity from certain traditional cultures. “Tradition” should not be the basis for criticism; we need to see the breaks, links, communication, and understanding between the artist and alternative culture. So, Qin’s works need to be judged and evaluated from a completely new perspective. Perhaps these are the changes in the art world brought about by spatial displacement.

  Qin’s artistic creation has many dimensions, which are the special cultural experiences that are the result of spatial dislocation and the contrasting experiences of his later participation in Western contemporary culture and art. His continuous art experiments in installation, painting, sculpture, and performance present the unique aesthetics of material properties. He pays attention to thought and experience linked to an individual’s quiet observations. He continuously researches artistic materials, and explores the continuous purification of medium and language. Qin painstakingly observes and contrasts the two poles of black and white, which embody the internal oppositions, conflicts, and balances and Eastern ideas and concepts. His art drifts within artistic mastery and independence. He has rethought and intervened

  11in the sequences of history and reality. According to his memory and experience of creative subjects, his works’ internal tensions are placed in a rather cramped living space. Between the two boundless poles of history and memory, he discovers situations and narratives related to reality, thus obtaining the independent imagination he sought. This imagination is refined, peaceful, distant, and clean.

  The awkwardness of living space is that it seems as if city people’s lives and minds are squeezed into a narrow space, such that it is very difficult for them to find a true survival posture or a good mental habitat. Here, Qin is unconventional in an urban context. His sensitive and special urban experience and humorous ways of thinking and playing are worth noting. Perhaps this is because the dramatic effect of his work establishes his fictitious landscape between these two poles. Therefore, we can see it appearing in front of our eyes. The present, the past, and the future afford the opportunity for sensitive observation and consideration and using interesting and unique artistic methods to transform China’s changes. His works do not carry traces of current discourse, and their roots are the tradition of “art for art’s sake” and the consideration of art as a complete entity. Although this discourse is unconventional, it has a pure artistic perception. This is a return, but it is not a simple search for a utopia. Utopias are an extreme means of evading reality, which has become a cheap contemporary experience. Instead, Qin uses the resources provided by the properties of his medium, continuously providing all kinds of aesthetic possibilities. He is unwilling to be drawn into “the

  revelry of reality,” yet he seeks the purity of an artistic being in “the mixed up world.” However, with excessive worldliness, it is easy to become immersed in reality and lose yourself. This artistic tendency is based in personal experience, which stems from a perceptive intuition. It is loyal to self-creation and is present in the Self.

  The series of works that Qin presents at this exhibition is interesting for its use of the psychological and emotional rhythms of experience, memory, and imagination to handle the relationship between space and time. This exhibition provides us with an expression of individual fate and living space. In an era of rapid cultural globalization, precious memories of personal experience and culture consciously or unconsciously become the truth to which people cling, resisting important “normalized” sources; this truth is the foundation of our sense of security. Qin’s works tell people what kinds of truths exist, outlining the contrasts between history, reality, and the future, and the cause and effect relationships behind them. Artworks transmit images in a moment, but reality exists in the promise of the future, and the future exists in the unfolding of reality. Therefore, the mixture of reality and the future is the key to this problem. Qin uses new visual notions and methods to express the presence of documentation and fabrication; his memories record his mental and emotional history, but his special comprehension of the primal chaos and reverberation is hard to describe. In actuality, it metaphorically reflects his personal experience, or this may be a mutual relationship, a corresponding absorption. This kind of exhibition


  structure showcases Qin’s free and open creative state; this free extension closes many cracks caused by artistic leaps. As a result, the structure is the synthesis of entities and feelings. In this clamorous, mixed-up world, Qin concentrates on his “whatever” mode of self-expression.

  Present day Chinese society is not based on Western capitalism, and it does not reflect all of the original tenets of socialism. Chinese society is an evolving form and space, and because of the rapidity of the changes, it is rich, dynamic, and hybrid. New art may be produced by this new space. This new art is made by artists who have settled there, or at the very least intend to stay a while. They are observers of the cultural landscape, but more often they participate in the expansion of art’s possibilities. Perhaps, the concept of spatial dislocation is unable to undertake the grand historical mission described by Jurgen Habermas, but in a China where the limited space of the existing order is being deconstructed, is anything impossible for unlimited expansion?

  2012-09-09 Beijing

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[Editor] 常霞