"Belief in contemporary China is a blur, luxury and lie....
32 Square Meters" chooses the living room of the two-bedroom apartment, with its size and area adjusted to 32 square meters according to the area of the wall and the number of people I have planned. Each model in the work has corresponding archetype in real life. Among them are my middle school classmates, friends and students. They are refugees of a new era. It seems that they can only live and realize their dreams by going to a big city far away from their home. Among them are poets Zhou Sese, Qin Xiaoyu, Jiang Hao, Hu Jiujiu, Ye Kuangzheng, writer Dan Yu, critic Zhu Qi, my high school classmates who are living in Beijing as I am, lawyer Sun Zaifeng, scientist Kou jianyong, civil servants Liu Defeng and Guo Kui, as well as entrepreneurs Xin Weili, Ma Jianguang and Zhang Kai.
These friends and classmates trust me, so they went back and forth over one hundred kilometers from the city to my studio tirelessly. Although my friends are very successful in their respective industries, they have no faith. I believe it is possible that contemporary Chinese may not have anything to make them believe in, so I transform their roles into family church believers in this work.
The technology used in the production process of "32 Square Meters" is more oriented towards production. Arms, hands and heads adopt the approach of assembling multi-reproduction of carvings. The details of each person's head and hands are re-carved by myself. Eyebrows and beard are drawn by myself with the reference to sketching method in traditional Chinese painting. Eye balls are completed in accordance with toy doll production method, namely, they are first drawn in same proportion to the real eye balls and then assembled into the orbits. Bodies adopt the mannequin’s block making method. Face complexion are painted pale and finally everyone’s lips are put on s flashy make-up regardless of their gender. They are dressed in their own clothes to increase their participation in the work. Hair and furnishings completely use the finished products. Facades borrow the montage method and bring multiple scenes together.
In "32 Square Meters", 60 centimeters visit channel has been reserved for the visitors’ convenience. The work emphasizes the contrast between the fantasy presented in the work and the reality in real life. A crowded environment is created on purpose, but irregular vacant seats are reserved for visitors so that they could be part of it, either sitting or standing, while live recorded hymns are being played as background music. No one has any faith in the work except the person who plays the role of the preacher. The characters are like part of the community and do not know what I want them ended. For us, faith is a question that is barely considered. When we want to think about it, we already do not know how and what we should believe in.
Reality in China is highly magic, which is far beyond human imagination could range, and far more magic than the greatest Hollywood script. Individuals are unable to have a complete judgement of the development of real environment, nor are they able to maintain their own integrity. Even though they escape to villages far away from cities, they cannot find their utopia as Tao Yuanming did (Tao is an ancient poet in China, living a cloistered life after he quit his official position). Self-deceiving can only lead to split personality in real life. Each of us is living in a split personality in our life. On the one hand, we hunger for fairness and justice. On the other hand, directly or indirectly, we are accomplices to sin and evil. Each of us has no choice and nowhere to escape. This reminds me of my best college classmate who committed suicide after his graduation……People of conscience could not endure the torture of the brutal law and the game rules in real life……
Individuals or communities of free combination are more meaningful than illusionary country and mandatory group. A fabricated group can only increase outsider individuals’ disgust at it.
What perspectives should artists have with the development of social change today? What willingness should artists have to face the collision between their illusory spirit and reality?
Spirit and dignity of individual life requires an independent vision to explore the values of freedom and sunlight. By contrast, art is so insignificant.
"32 Square Meters" is just one of many fantasies of reality.
"32 Square Meters" is just a borrowing of the environment. It is open and unknown." - Zhong Wang.