The World of Chinese - - FRONT PAGE - - LIU JUE (刘珏)

Cut­ting-edge artist Zhong Biao's sur­real works con­jure up con­fused pas­tiches of past, present, and fu­ture; per­haps it's be­cause he views them all as one. TWOC sits down with Zhong to dis­cuss his work.

Why do you con­cen­trate so strongly on your un­der­stand­ing of time and space? For my col­lege grad­u­a­tion in­tern­ship project, I did an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of an­cient cul­tural sites across north­west­ern China. It was quite in­tense and I would go through three coun­ties per day and felt like I was com­pletely wrapped up in an­tiq­uity. An il­lu­sion started to grow that I was a man walk­ing through his­tory. Twenty-two years old at the time, I felt like I had ex­isted for far longer. It’s like a piece of a jade ar­ti­fact from the Qing Dy­nasty; though the carv­ing was done in the Qing era, the jade it­self takes hun­dreds of mil­lions of years to form. So I started to look for an­tiq­uity in the mod­ern metropo­lis I lived in. This par­tic­u­lar idea about time and space drove me start on my jour­ney.

Where do you get your in­spi­ra­tion from? As far as I’m con­cerned, the present is a tem­po­rary prod­uct of the uni­verse. So I pro­pose the con­cept that we are all brought into the present by the uni­verse, by the merg­ing on us of ev­ery­thing that has oc­curred. The present, past, and even the fu­ture are one. Ev­ery in­di­vid­ual is con­nected with his­tory and with the fu­ture. If you can em­bed your­self into this con­scious­ness, you’ll have joined with the whole and the other no longer ex­ists. My in­spi­ra­tion comes from my un­ex­pected meet­ings with this whole.

Are you ex­press­ing an opin­ion on in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics in your work “All in Vain”? Though cos­mic forces have gen­er­ally fos­tered the rapid progress of hu­mankind, it doesn’t make any dif­fer­ence; dis­as­ters have still in­ten­si­fied. Great op­por­tu­nity and cri­sis al­ways go hand in hand. I wouldn’t call it an opin­ion on in­ter­na­tional pol­i­tics; rather, it’s putting the real­ity of the world on a cos­mic scale to make sense of it.

Zhong Biao (钟飙) Ac­tive for the past two decades, Zhong Biao has had 23 solo ex­hi­bi­tions in 12 coun­tries and re­gions, con­tem­plat­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween real­ity and its hid­den mo­tives. Mainly fo­cus­ing oil paint­ing and in­stal­la­tion art, his sur­real ex­pres­sions rep­re­sent a dis­tinc­tive view of time and space.

How does the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate in China and the world im­pact your artis­tic ex­pres­sion? The im­pact is not sig­nif­i­cant. The la­tent forces be­hind these po­lit­i­cal is­sues and the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate are what re­ally in­flu­ence my cre­ation, though they are of­ten in­vis­i­ble.

Why put the spe­cific images among the ab­stract strokes? If ab­stract strokes are like elec­tric­ity in the power grid, the images are the light bulbs they’ve lit. Ab­strac­tion is the hid­den con­nec­tion; they ex­press the vis­i­ble ob­jects they link. Ex­pres­sion, on the other hand, is the in­ter­ven­tion of sub­jec­tiv­ity. There­fore, ab­strac­tion, ex­pres­sion, and rep­re­sen­ta­tion, in essence, are a sin­gle en­tity, a vis­ual in­te­gra­tion of the sub­ject and ob­ject.

To Eternity,

All in Vain, Meat, Take Off,

Jour­ney to the West,

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