There are things that I can’t say to anybody
“Where Where” art space, Caochangdi Art District. Beijing 2011
I took a room at“Where Where” art space, and invited different artists to do performances and interventions. One of them, the Japanese artist Megumi Shimizu, did a performance on the balcony so that it could be seen from inside and outside the space. She based her idea for “Around Water” on the recent tsunamis in Japan.
The floor was covered in pollen as a result of Megumi Shimizu’s performance. I decided to use it as a way to intervene in the space; it was a metaphor of my experience in Beijing.
I lifted the entire wooden floor, revealing the passage of time beneath. Most parts were broken and rotting. The pollen was a juxtaposed landscape — it appeared as if inherent, like sand at a beach, but it was only a product of human events. Dust and years.
Beijing is a culture shock. Constantly, consistently, and with contrasts of all kinds. I think the location of the art zone, Caochangdi, is a great example of that. Caochangdi is a labyrinth out of time. Extraordinary galleries and precarious houses, little stores; it’s a workers’ area.
My work in this case is a reflection on one of the “tasks” of contemporary art: to reveal and comment about what lives just outside the things we see. It’s a dialogue with environment and people — everything within view from a gallery window. Using basic Chinese, I hired a local woman to come and clean up the pollen and agree to be a part of the art piece. I got to know the workers in the area and was intrigued to realize that they were entirely unaware or indifferent to the fact that most of them resided within an internationally recognized art zone. To them, Caochangdi is like the rotting floor, and they would never lift it to see what lies beneath. For the Chinese lady who came to help, being part of an art piece was a mundane event — as incomprehensible as it was meaningless.