中文

LOCATION, SYSTEM AND ASSOCIATION

-“Whose Land? Whose Art?”

The title and content for my project “Whose Land? Whose Art?” in The Land are connecting two very different natures of exhibition locations, two systems of land ownership and the associated and non-associated thinking regarding the reality in two eras.
 

   

Exhibition Locations   

The location of The Land project in Chiangmai typifies a kind of utopian atmosphere, and it naturally triggers me to think of the ancient Chinese agricultural life and also the poetic subtly of intellectuals who lived in the rural areas of China. Land is a kind of media and container, or in other words, an ancient container, as well as a strange invention of “new” media. It carries and shows those products that are called “art” or “non-art”. They are evidence for contemporary scholars’ contemplation. The essence of The Land is to investigate another “starting point” of art. But the pragmatic invention is an intuitive expression of human existence, whilst also a reason for the existence of the need to balance utopian thinking. This is a paradoxical production of utopian ideals that I saw when I visited The Land.

Tang Contemporary Art in Bangkok is a gallery space located in a commercial building, where art is served as commodities to be sold. However, when there is not much craftsmanship in the product, can we determine the value of the work based on its concept? Thus, can we assess a price for thinking? There will be characteristics of contemporary advertising when we can turn ideas into fragments of information. Public consciousness and norms are the foundation for luxury items, and the level of craftsmanship is the leverage. That is why it is a contradiction when a gallery is promoting concepts and tension is born within. So, is the disordering of these derivatives from ideas disturbing the principle of the emerging market? The prospect of both Asian galleries and arts are facing the challenge of this disordering.

 

Systems of the Land Ownership

There is no doubt that land is a kind of commodity. However, there are some fundamental differences between the situations in Thailand and China; whether the ownership of land belongs to private parties or not is a critical difference between the two.

As is well known, in China today, all land belongs to the nation. However, who owns the country? This is a taboo question to be raised. In the current situation of land looting in China, land becomes an expensive “artwork” in auction houses, but there is always a time limit on the ownership of this artwork. The most “spectacular” part is the looting war before the auction, which is a barbaric moment with contemporary customs. Nationalizing the ownership of land becomes both candy and a weapon in politics. After a few attempts at land reform, the country finally catches on to the capitalization mode. But where is the Eden for artists? Artists in China can only build it on top of “state-owned” land, for which they have even more entanglements than the general public, as there is an ideological punishment for them. This is what happened to the exile of artists in the Winter Palace Artists’ Village in the 90s in Beijing, as they became a sacrifice to the brutal plundering of capitalism. However, this time around, in the incidents of artists’ studios zone demolition, artists have become sacrifices in the brutal plundering of capitalism. The arts have returned to their realistic functionality, which is a small weapon with no power to destroy anything but to create a strong resonance.

The situation of artists owning land is actually happening in Chiangmai as a form of farmland for them. There have been quite a few artists’ “architectures”, though small in scale. They follow the forms in the ridge between fields, and keep a natural harmony with the other farmlands nearby. Because of this, I’m reminded of the “well-field system” in ancient China, which is a way to organize farmland based on the Chinese “井” (well), implementing public ownership within the system. The whole “Land” project in Chiangmai centers on public ownership within a private property. Artists are working like farmers, and their creations are put on the side of fields. There, artists don’t need an audience, or competition, as a small-scale utopia exists in this private region.

 

Associated and Non-associated

The two installations in this project display different thought processes.

I followed the instrumental principle of the work at Chiangmai. This principle has been seen in previous works by other artists, while I am only giving some supplements on this functionality, and I am not aiming to deconstruct the existing order. Here, I create links between works, while also emphasizing their relationship to agriculture. The invention of agricultural hand tools was always a core element in the development of ancient Chinese agricultural society, while the work is a “re-invention” and also a fake functionality. This turns into amusement. The performance part of the work is through improvisation, and there will be no rules or constraint, which is like the way of Master Jiang Tai Gong’s fishing method in ancient Chinese fable.


The installation in the gallery in Bangkok is a realistic version of Chinese society, with its strong sense of belligerence and oppression. It is an experience of war. This is the courage of self-titled justice, fighting against the cunning conduct made possible by legislation. In the protest video, people from both sides have also experienced communist education. Art becomes a tool in conflicts, and it is not about invention but, more importantly, about how to apply and to propagate. This is also one of the greatest spiritual values of modern China. The content of the video exposes the core problem of contemporary Chinese society, within which intellectuals, farmers, police, and small bureaucrats constitute a very vivid scene. The brick installation transforms into a propaganda machine. The “questions” on the wall are connecting the direction of thought between China and Thailand regarding the commonalities and differences between land and art. And they connect the two parts of the same plan executed in Chiangmai and Bangkok.

The “international” song that was played during the protest in the video, reminds me of the ‘walking’ performance I did last year on Avenue des Champs Elysées in Paris. Let me try to also put this video in the exhibition in the gallery, to escape the thought restraint on a particular event. The land is extending from here.

(This text is translated originally from Chinese)