A Labybirth Within an Allegory, or an Allegory Within a Labyrinth An Examination of Qiu Guangping’s Ultimate World From Several Key Words
Source:Artintern.net Author:Yang Xiaoyan Date: 2013-09-04 Size:
During the appreciation of Qiu Guangping’s paintings, the first word that I thought of is allegory. But with further contemplation, I find that the world he has created is more than just an allegory, or, in other words, far more than just a simple one. Rather, under the surface of an allegory, we can find a second allegory hidden inside, and another one within the last one… Qiu’s art is like a labybirth created by allegories, or an allegory expanding inside a laybirth, which points to an ultimate end that is blurred and misty.

  With it comes another group of words which starts with neighing.

  Words II: Neighing, Grass, Hollowness and Humans.

  It goes without doubt that physically speaking the neighing comes from our throat with the interplay of muscles.

  Neighing is something that never goes absent in Qiu’s work. Standing before his art works, you will find his horses are looking at you, shaking the head with its lips trembling and bare teeth exposed in a wild way. When you finally calm down after the first impact, a sound of neighing would suddenly occurs, which is the explosive power of Qiu’s art, a temporary suffocation that results from the strength of struggle.

  In 2007 Qiu created another piece titled “The Roaring Wind”. The subject is not a single horse but altogether fourteen of them, whose bodies are green with red teethridge and teeth exposed to the audience. On the surface, this piece is a response to the wind, and Qiu has appropriately demonstrated the absence of voice. Voice is actually a response, which should be absent in the depiction. However, the sound of neighing still comes to you in the process of staring through the artistic language. If nothing responds to it, the wind would just roar by itself. However, Qiu’s horses are presented in the roaring wind, turning life into a strong power. In this way, the state of life in his understanding would be physically associated with sounds and neighing, which helps us to understand the force in Qiu’s art.

  Therefore, the wild horses are the witness of roaring winds and visual expression of the rhythm’s upheavals. Changed from the roaring of the winds to the neighing of the horses, it appears to be the horses’ response to the wind but deep down it is the trembling of the horses themselves.

  Horses are friends of humans, which, by quickening the pace and shortening the distance, naturally become a weapon on the battlefield in the past. It is an important reason why they should be domesticated. In the age of natural economy, the heroes can hardly present themselves impressively in the absence of horses and always put on a show on their backs.

  Chivalry comes only with knights, so that horses was a must.

  In the past the knights took up an important position in the west. It was an age of heroes or worshiping heroes.

  Can we imagine an era that has no knights and therefore no heroes?

  After depicting the neighing, Qiu kept thinking about the notion of hero, which haunted him like a shadow.

  But it is a grave question for him whether heroes really exist.

  In 2007 Qiu created several pieces of work named “The Non-existing Knights”, in which knights were replaced by scarecrows. They rode wild horses and imitated the gestures of heroes in a swashbuckling way, presenting a unique existence in reality.

  The hero is fictional, since he never exists.

  But that’s not the most important point. What Qiu tries to tell us is that, the hero is cowardly with unwarranted reputation. He is stuffed with straws.

  His knight of straws is no different from the hollow men, an idea T.S. Eliot expressed in a poem written in 1925 which immediately occurred to me when I pondered on Qiu’s painting. The Hollow men goes like this:


  We are the hollow men

  We are the stuffed men

  Leaning together

  Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

  Our dried voices, when

  We whisper together

  Are quiet and meaningless

  As wind in dry grass

  Or rats’ feet over broken glass

  In our dry cellar

  Shape without form, shade without colour,

  Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

  Those who have crossed

  With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom

  Remember us—if at all—not as lost

  Violent souls, but only

  As the hollow men

  The stuffed men.


  Eyes I dare not meet in dreams

  In death’s dream kingdom

  These do not appear:

  There, the eyes are

  Sunlight on a broken column

  There, is a tree swinging

  And voices are

  In the wind’s singing

  More distant and more solemn

  Than a fading star.

  Let me be no nearer

  In death’s dream kingdom

  Let me also wear

  Such deliberate disguises

  Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves

  In a field

  Behaving as the wind behaves

  No nearer—

  Not that final meeting

  In the twilight kingdom


  This is the dead land

  This is cactus land

  Here the stone images

  Are raised, here they receive

  The supplication of a dead man’s hand

  Under the twinkle of a fading star.

  Is it like this

  In death’s other kingdom

  Waking alone

  At the hour when we are

  Trembling with tenderness

  Lips that would kiss

  Form prayers to broken stone.


  The eyes are not here

  There are no eyes here

  In this valley of dying stars

  In this hollow valley

  This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

  In this last of meeting places

  We grope together

  And avoid speech

  Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

  Sightless, unless

  The eyes reappear

  As the perpetual star

  Multifoliate rose

  Of death’s twilight kingdom

  The hope only

  Of empty men.


  Here we go round the prickly pear

  Prickly pear prickly pear

  Here we go round the prickly pear

  At five o’clock in the morning.

  Between the idea

  And the reality

  Between the motion

  And the act

  Falls the Shadow

  For Thine is the Kingdom

  Between the conception

  And the creation

  Between the emotion

  And the response

  Falls the Shadow

  Life is very long

  Between the desire

  And the spasm

  Between the potency

  And the existence

  Between the essence

  And the descent

  Falls the Shadow

  For Thine is the Kingdom

  For Thine is

  Life is

  For Thine is the

  This is the way the world ends

  This is the way the world ends

  This is the way the world ends

  Not with a bang but a whimper.

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[Editor] 常霞