Chen Shaoxiong +Liu Ding: Project without Space 5: Transparent but Impenetrable

  • Artist: Chen Shaoxiong +Liu Ding

    Date: Sept. 24 - Nov. 13, 2011(Privateview:Sept. 24,2011)

    Project without Space is an art initiative launched in 2010 by artists Chen Shaoxiong and Liu Ding.

    “Project without Space” consistently tried to explore the gap between object and the projection it carried. The intention was to discriminate and understand the basis established by the dialogue about the object, instead of the restoration of object itself. The widely circulated artistic forms and signs from the past have built up the languages in art history. We expected to check how this kind of language came into being, what demand it met and what it may hide from us. We attempted to incorporate ourselves into the artistic form and practical context in this cooperative project, to repeat and simulate some creative methods and conditions while carrying out discussion during this course. Meanwhile, we recorded our discussion and kept it as the process of understanding.

    Our interest in the image of “Great Wall” came from its frequent presence in our sight. It turned up so frequently that it has promulgated certain ideology. The basis for our experience was not Great Wall but the symbolic significance it was bestowed. We tended to accept its significance without thinking just as we worshiped the art history. The basis for its existence and its ideology were forgotten. The basis and ideology have never left us by not only defining our experience but shaping the way we know everything. They were transparent but insuperable. 

    We emphasized this sign again without the intention to enhance the ideology it usually conveyed. It was to shake its sturdy symbolic significance by a series of questions (Is Great Wall made of steel and iron? /Is steel and iron Great Wall still Great Wall? /Why do we think Great Wall is made of steel and iron? /When did Great Wall become steel and iron Great Wall? /Is this Great Wall the steel and iron Great Wall? /How can we say Great Wall is made of steel and iron? /Which part of Great Wall is made of steel and iron?/ What if I cannot see steel and iron in Great Wall?) Our questioning can be a starting point if art can do anything practical. Bruce Nauman once said for his first neon light installation that was placed outside his studio in 1967: “The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths.” It is still encouraging today.