Who is Lao Cai
Source:Artintern Author:Anonymous Date: 2008-08-26 Size:
Chen Zongguang draws a mid-aged man named “ Lao Cai” in his trouble and anxiety.


Chen Zongguang draws a mid-aged man named “ Lao Cai” in his trouble and anxiety. He is always in zero gravity with no mood. He flys from one room to another where is small without enough beam. He is surrounded by the things which he relys on. He needs these things while he cannot control them. There is strong motive for Lao Cai’s business, all is the result of shilly-shally. Lao Cai is a quite man wiith crazy excitement. Lao Cai is considerated to be reasonal while he has some scare of himself. Lao Cai looks health but he doubts about it. In a word, “Lao Cai” is a man, an ordinary man, an anxious man, a normal man, fairy normal.

The reading channel in Sina.net lists the “hot words”: sex, beauty, extramarital affair, sex scandel,cohabit,laughter,enthusiasm,lover,birth-control,pregnant,fantasy,horror,detective,jork,knight-errant,single woman,female student, MBA, interview, creation, lose weight, housekeeping, garment, fashion, petty bourgeoisie, constellation, movies and series, stars, famous person, blue, portrait, AD, hunting a job, white collar, current polotics, military affairs, self-cultivantion, entrance exams for university, study abroad, English, applying for a master degree, Harvad, Female student, the beauty in university, music, drama, great people, writer, sports, geography, Beijing, Chengdu, quality of psychology, man from Shanghai, Jay Zhuo, Hady’s study of sex, body artism, sexual education, female Ph.D”-----This is the age of Lao Cai’s life, and the things happening when Chen Zongguang was drawing. We all have ever learned how to draw heros and the typical people in typical environment, which actually we want to draw some ideal of a person. The people are always a great people basing on the ideal. Workers, farmers and soliders are great for their great ideal and career. And then, we learn to draw old man, poor people, minorities, broken skin and land, dirty house and cloth, and ordinary people, which we would like to draw some culture born by a person. The person in picture actully is a great people basing on culture. Since the ideal and culture was important before, the nobody cannot be present in China’s drawing for a long time. Until the middle of ninties, when the AD of cars show off what is successful life, and the house is called great buildings by the AD of real estate started, as well as the famous stars and famous brands is hanging before our eyes, we know that the nobody is representing in China’s culture. When the sound of sing of super girls spread China, we know the nobody has become the ruler of China’s culture. As soon as the color limps relights in Shanghai beach, the nobody in old Shanghai civil culture appears again. And then, nobody appears in China’s drawing. The difference is that some painters become famous for drawing nobody, and they thirst for becoming those who don’t understand the nobody. Zongguang draw nobodys to understand them and to understand the bloody cost of successful people.

The daily things are repeated and enlarged by Dhyana sect to be some poetic with inspire needed for wake-up, while the existentialists take as hard labor or jail. And the existentialists would like to choose the escape from prison. To Lao Cai who is a ordinary middle-aged man in his fall of life, he neither can find the road to escaping the commonplace life, nor has the encouragement to overturn the life lasting for several dozen years. Some oral liquids give him enough sprit to regret, dream and self-questioning. He has the mood for making invidious comparisons to self-persecute. The extra sprit, money and mood means Lao Cai is a middle class.

It is said that the middle-class is the main part of our society. It is said that the mood of the middle-class control the whole society, so does its anxiety. However, the society cannot stop the middle-class’ comparing, so how can they escape the anxiety? They are self-abased when irritated by the AD showing off the successful life and being as the scapegoat of the low- culture of majority is nothing but showing off the life of minority. How cannot the nobody be broken when the traditional attitude of value is broken? How cannot the mid-class be anxious?


They are mid-aged, driven to be post-youth and pre-menopause. This is Lao Cai, a anxious mid-aged middle-class, who is not only crazy for work, but also for life. He maybe die of too much work, but he probably die of too much life, which he is quite understand. He said he will live on calmly and humorously.

Being piddling and helpless, the nobody’s presence remind us the cruelty in life that all people are controlled bitterly by the desire and profit. Noone is gentleman but nobody. Everyone have to try our best for noone will do for you. The little good in nobody may make him to be a hero in some urgency. That is the meaning of good and conscience explained in Confucian.

Being a nobody, Lao Cai may give up the self-esteem under the pressure. Reversely, the painter Chen Zongguang sets up the self-esteem by drawing Lao Cai. Chen is drawing meanfully which means that the doesn’t draw for money, not for professional title, not be fixed by habit, and draws casually. The painter draws for the meaning of painting, in which the drawing become a part of life for understand oneself. At the same time, Painting is a sediment of life as well as a cure for the violence of life. Being a some kind of dairy, painting is for self-lulling and self-saving. Zongguang refuses to be “Lao Cai” by “ Lao Cai”.

In China, the experimental art has ever aim at legitimacy and the right of exhibition. Most of the artists don’t have the supposed enemy any more in the looser society, and they are involved in the market and the order of main consciousness form as a strong main body.

The experimental art planned to challenge the main consciousness form and to imagine another possiblity of sence, thought and life style, which is the individual’s vain hope to make trouble or correct the reason of society. The main conscienceness form sometimes appears as the offical conscienceness. Nowadays, pursuing the stable and planned life has become the main conscienceness. The past twenty years struggle for legalism is only the temporary task, whose meaning is rethinking, but not criticize the official. The ending of temporary task is the beginning of the long-term task of experimental art.

Both in the time of twenty year ago and today, the main current which is orderly and boring life style are the same in China and abroad.. That is the supposed emeny of experimental art unrethinking of the official ideas. Today, the unrethinking target is ideal of mid-class. While the majority are buying insurence for future, the mid-class are pround of their cars and houses, which offers a great chance for the real arts. What the artists can do is to invole the mid-class into some trouble unexpectedly by fantasy.

To tell them that life is unsure and needing some venture, while the insurence is helpless. The critical creation of Lao Cai is targeting at the very life style. In his painting, the life of mid-class is expressed as a reasonal prison again. Here, he stirs up the strength of denaturation, color and style of drawing to defend the esteem of painting as a thinking tool, attending the most meaningful experiment.

[Editor] Mark Lee