IF THE SUNLIGHT WERE A STAGE SET
CHEN MIN, CHEN ZHUO, HSU CHIA-WEI, HAPPY BIRD, JIN JING, LUO SHAO
CURATED BY AXIS ART PROJECT
Imagine that you come down from the sky into a crowded square, or into a brightly lit Wanda mall, or land at midnight on Double 11th shopping mania day into a space flled with ads, or a comments window of a hotly discussed WeChat moment, or in fact any place you think you could be. In this imaginary physical landscape, eyes are everywhere, and even before you witness it, you are already being prepared for other peoples’ gaze. The certainty of the image is basically absolute, because you seem to spend enough time with the image to stare at one another. However, this is presupposed belief. What if you are actually in the “Matrix”? Are just the images created or is even daylight itself to be doubted? The entire exhibition space is turned into a theater space resembling Plato's cave; a black hole studded with daylight, a bright and a dark room, virtual and real, inside and out, a kind of relationship deliberately divided and separated by space. The viewers shuttled between the two provide the linkage and theglue, holding the key to regenerating the whole.
In the dark room, the theater surrounds the audience, with the work centered on an auditorium space. Just as the prisoners in Plato's cave facing the reﬂection of the torch, surrounding the audience, four artists will act out images of “Fire and Tools” together.
In the dark room, in addition to the situation created by the works of the four artists, there is a special plan – a “visible city”. The project is transcribed into the entire space by off-site filming and live broadcast. 60% of the 15 artists come from Xiamen, and the rest from cities around the world. In this project, the artist acts as a wanderer or tour guide, offering up their respective perspectives to those who follow them. During the 30-day exhibition, each live broadcast conducted over the length of a film, two hours, and the final 15 two hour long film constitutes the entire “Visible City” project.
Inside the light room, the “real exhibition” and the “real space” have been misplaced. The audience watches themselves here, examines themselves, and, in the reﬂection, sees our whereabouts and our return journey.
In addition to these artists’ work, the space settings and well-designed viewing paths, an art collective has created a number of spacial devices, such as a one-way glass that switches at any time, a ﬂash that blinds you for a second, a TV switch, a “Dog Town”-style building ruler, heavy dark stage curtains that can be drawn apart with ease. Here, the entire audience becomes participants, repeatedly shuttling, stopping, expressing doubt, stepping backwards, left and right, jointly building, before collectively exiting the stage.
Chen Zhuo, Imagining of the neon lights, 2016. Courtesy of the artist
HSU Chia-Wei, March 14, Hong Kong Coliseum,
dual-channel video installation, 2009. Courtesy of the artist.
Chen Min, From an ancient Roman column in the Alyscamps to Wanda Shopping Mall, video games and Amoy’s sheltered building overhang, still image from video, 2018. Courtesy of the artist
Jin Jing，The Lasting future, installation, 2018. Courtesy of the artist
Luo Shao, from the series Flowing Images, 2018. Courtesy of the artist