Lin Zhenglu: Xu Nan, 19
Source:Artintern Author:Lin Zhenglu Date: 2014-04-15 Size:
Each year I see young new faces at 523. It's like a story...

Xu Nan's work

Each year I see young new faces at 523. It's like a story.

Accompanied by her “garbage poet” boyfriend Wuliaoren, a lazy man who could not be any lazier, Xu Nan came to 523 on the evening of March 14th, 2014. Wuliaoren told me that 19-year-old Xu Nan was also a poet. She loved poetry and painting; she wanted to learn painting with me. I agreed.

On the third day after her arrival, Xu Nan began to paint in my studio with a few Tibetan young people. They painted sill life. As usual, I only spoke a few words once in a while, and let them paint freely. Following a natural course, they sprouted like seeds in the soil of 523, their nature bloomed.

These are Xu Nan's oils painted in the last 10 days or so. They let me feel the unbearable lightness of being. I am deeply touched by the indescribable spiritual whispers in her paintings. They render me speechless and tug at my heart strings; I cannot venture to comment on her paintings critically. What happened to 19-year-old Xu Nan?

She told me that she dropped out of school at senior grade two. She loved painting and writing poetry. I felt a sudden interest in her poems. She showed me a few. Her poems were equally exhilarating, profound, and bewitching. I could not believe they were written by a 19-year-old girl. Here is one of her poems.


Strange that I went to take a bath

I was taking a bath in a bathhouse

thinking about lesbianism that woman in the shower must be a lesbian

my moods were elusive

if only I could make love to them and I did many times in my dream

details could form a novel

we were uncomfortable

thought it was me

with no expectations

him and I both complaining about the discomfort what did I know






penniless yet rich inside

who could understand how

one's life

gets covered up

and distorted I cannot calm down not knowing who to despise

who to love

I am loitering on the street like a bum

the only distinctive thing: a perplexed face

I dare not look deep into her experiences, but I know that she has an independent, distinctive personality. She thinks deeply; she has her high goals. She stands out among others; she is a unique flower.

She has come to 523, and 523 will protect the dignity of young lives. What we can do is to let each individual shine brilliantly, and making them feel more confident, assured, carefree, and dignified. I believe that Xu Nan's future will bloom brilliantly, and this is heralded by her paintings and poems.

He Lu is a famous underground poet and writer. His representative works include "Eighteen Orgasms" and "Project 365." Born in 1954, he has been down-and-out all his life. In 2013 he came to 523 and studied painting with me. This is a painting which he completed, all by himeself, during his first month of studying painting.

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[Editor] 孙雯