Xu Sheng:Bad Story, Good Art
Source:Artintern.net Author:Xu Sheng Date: 2012-12-25 Size:
As a master of writing stories, Liu Chuanhong can always get the materials and inspirations from his own life. For example, he depicted the countless details of the map of “Mountain Forest Picture Book Series” according to the geological exploration work, which he did for his hometown; as a friend of Xu Wenqiang, he got lots of real literatures about Xu Wenqiang; he has also collected Lin Chong’s diary, and completed the compilation of “Lin Chong Enters Northern Henan Forest”; he also depicted many vivid images in the maps related to “Journey to the West”, which was seen through his eyes. If you don’t believe in these, you should have a good look at his works.

  As a master of writing stories, Liu Chuanhong can always get the materials and inspirations from his own life. For example, he depicted the countless details of the map of “Mountain Forest Picture Book Series” according to the geological exploration work, which he did for his hometown; as a friend of Xu Wenqiang, he got lots of real literatures about Xu Wenqiang; he has also collected Lin Chong’s diary, and completed the compilation of “Lin Chong Enters Northern Henan Forest”; he also depicted many vivid images in the maps related to “Journey to the West”, which was seen through his eyes. If you don’t believe in these, you should have a good look at his works.

  Ok. I’m lying, I am just telling the dreams of Liu Chunahong. In his works, there are many bogus literatures, which brought us into a real dream along with his paintings. However, he is really living in Peach-Blossom-Valley. “Sitting before the flowers when sober, Sleeping below the flowers when drunk”, in Fairy Dreams in Peach-Blossom-Valley, there aren’t so many differences between real and sham, or false and real.

  When Liu Chuanhong was young, he was a student with a zero in math, and a full mark in composition. Later, he was hooked on painting, and was trained strictly in oil painting, which displayed his talent in spinning yarns with painting, instead of making him an author. In 2003, he went to the Taohuadong Village of Lin County, He Nan, and became a local hill people there. Everyday, he chopped wood and farmed, and painted at leisure. He lived there for nine years. The works to be presented in this exhibition are from his creation and life there.

  The name of “Taohuadong Village” is really a good one, which reminds us the poem of Tang Bohu:” Peach Hut in Peach Castle, Peach celestial in Peach Hut”. We may guess that he was probably attracted by the name of the place, and then went to live there. It was well enough that he didn’t consider himself as a celestial, but only understood the meaning of “horses and coaches is the interest of the noble, while wine and flowers is the interest of the poor”. He chose his life, as he chose composition in childhood. Therefore, he didn’t consider himself as an intellectual as Tang Bohu, for the reason that a cloistered intellectual will never adore the underworld, or shot from the hip; while in Liu Chunahong’s works, there are representatives of the underworld, such as Lin Chong and Xu Wenqiang, moreover, “Journey to the West” is a story about the Monk Hun Tsang of Tang Dynasty went to deep mountains and lakes for hermits, who were “somehow had spouses, children, or sharecroppers”, and they “had lunch with home-brewed wine”, “with four dishes of meat and vegetarian, and a basin of chicken soup, as well as a number of wine and beer of different brands” over dinner.[1]

  It seems that as the result of the famous TV plays, Liu Chuanhong got the stories of Lin Chong and Xu Wenqiang on the brain since he was young. They haven’t dissipated with their own endings; instead, they acquired their permanent life in the heart of Liu Chuanhong. Therefore, they are really friends of Liu Chuanhong, with stories which performed alone, separating themselves from the original endings.

  More wonderfully, he didn’t try to adapt into a whole story, nor get any valuable or worthless conclusion. Besides, there is no ambiguous interpretation settled cannily, he just simply put himself into the fragments of the story, to witness the countless details inside: how much lamp-oil left when Lin Chong got up at midnight; what tea did he drunk in Mr. Liu San’s house; what did they cook in Taiping Temple…or what diary did Xu Wenqiang write, what tracks left in Qian County…Liu Chuanhong enjoyed the process of weaving imagination with creation, sometime he changed himself into an archaeologist, sometimes he changed into the characters, who wrote diary in the gaps of the conveniently-got copybook, sometimes he changed back to himself, depicting an image stored in heart for long. The process is so pure that it makes people envy. There is no need for him to find a reason for this kind of creation, because that the silence itself is the reason.

  In Liu Chuanhong’s paintings and the bogus proof, “trace” is an important element. It is because that the trace can not only afford the proof of the existence, but also the hint of leaving. Therefore, besides the several bogus proof and the landscape presented by the painting itself, Liu Chuanhong likes depicting maps. In “Mountain Forest Picture Book Series” and “Journey to the West”, there are plenty of maps. Map is the most objective depiction of view. Therefore, it is the easiest carrier of the most subjective imagination and can not be found. Those maps are engaging, just like a dream guide edited by the artist, and are addicting. Except for the rich imagination, there is a kind of fleet emotion which is not easy to judge expanding in his maps: when we are thinking that he is joking, he will show a kind of crazy, and even with a kind of sadness; however, when we guess that he has given his heart and soul to it, he seems to be considering food for dinner as well. This attitude changes into an extremely controlled humor, with an invisible and casual tease or even snicker, which constantly attracts us.

  “Contemporary Art” teaches the artist how to make use of theory, and gives the artist unlimited freedom in creating, however, it has deprived one right, which is the right of creating the works which are hard for initiating theory. Fortunately, Liu Chuanhong has retained this right. Concerning theory, maybe his works will lead to the key words below: mountains and plains, nature, humanity, nostalgia, the Peach Garden, seclusion, existence…Although they are always vacuous, they are still “correct” and convincing. Moreover, if we pay attention to the tone, the melodious academic voice will completely submerge the Jingle Bells, which represents the powerful substance worship and the catabolic faith, and make the old man with the spirit of internationalism spineless to land on the roof of A Thousand Plateaus Art Space, although he has gone a long way to China. But Liu Chuanhong is not worried about this, he doesn’t care about the words, he only cares about his own stories, the bad stories. Probably he will invite the Santa Claus to come over, and point out the socialites and intellectuals for him, with gloom and snicker. Probably, Xu Wenqiang will blend in with the crowd; Liu Chuanhong can immediately recognize him.

  Note 1: quote by Liu Chuanhong’s statement of “Journey to the West”.

[Editor] 常霞

    Artintern