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A Reminder

Author: Zhou Tiehai 1998

It doesn't matter what category a work of art belongs to, so long as it naturally releases the true emotions- both yours and mine- to this world. We know it.


Whenever and wherever there is no lack of the very state of mind like ours, the same brilliance of its joyfulness, its angriness, its sorrowfulness, and its happiness.


But the willpower of the human being moulds its life into a work , not just a plot, a character of a work- a free response to the Heaven and the Earth.


Style, spirit or soul, the definition of contemporary art is going direct to the theme and coming straight to the point. There is no need to get involved in characters and plots for an answer. Knowing is knowing, forbidding any hypocrisy and self-relief through logical deduction. Otherwise, the true, the good and the beautiful we see from the work is what we call the absurd, as ourselves have become slaves to conception.


I once wanted, like Duchamp, to open a window. But now I want to say no window is always closed, and no window is always open. We may play just for fun, or cheer the people we love, like 'Placebo' and 'Tonic'. But regarding humanity, we should be serious. Contemporary art is not a dogmatic instrument. Nor is the Chinese contemporary art the alternative of imitation and fashion. Rather they are both the penetration of human fate with the modern and so-called post-modern anxiety, with the rationality and the self-esteem of the West, and with the tuition, simplicity and the honesty of the East.


The historical test faced by the Chinese is nothing but the outburst under the pressure from the time, modern or post-modern, and the space, East or West. If no reviviscence, so many generations will pass away in senselessness.


There has never been the question of concrete matter and instrumental rationality. That is why we have contemporary art. So definite is its mission that it reminds us of a Chinese saying, "The tiger wants to gulp the heaven down, but doesn't know where to start." Thus, we finally see what the contemporary art really is. This is the uneasiness of human beings.


The human race has been undergoing the uneasiness of religions and their ideologies, the uneasiness of science and technology, and, at last, the uneasiness of humanism- that of value and life style. But the contemporary art is no longer just the projection of those above. It is time for humanity to settle its problems by itself.

Related Artists:
ZHOU TIEHAI 周铁海

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