"Green Wall: Rest Room" by Zhang Xiaogang, 2009; stainless steel plate, silkscreen prints, oil and silver pen, 200 x 150 cm

“Green Wall: Rest Room” by Zhang Xiaogang, 2009; stainless steel plate, silkscreen prints, oil and silver pen, 200 x 150 cm

July 20th, Heavy rain last night, it’s starting to get sunny today, but still hot and humid

I came back to Beijing from Shanghai yesterday. Just the same as before, this time going to Shanghai was to participate in my friend’s exhibition opening — had dinner, drank, exhibition opening, shook hands, photos taken, interviewed, met up with old friends to see if there were any new topics to discuss? Met some new friends, and wondered if we could become old friends in the future. Then I ate more, drank more, and switched to another place to continue drinking… Deep in the night, I was worn out and returned to the hotel, turned on the television set, and faded off to sleep — all this seems to be an already fixed pattern, which makes people excited, yet exhausted. Eventually, I got up, went to the airport and back to where I have come from. Yet, the city I have just been to didn’t leave me with much impression. This could be regarded as a certain lifestyle that everybody has already got used to and believed exists in recent years. Imagine if there were no longer such a lifestyle, just go back to the past of being a hermit withdrawn in my own little room, repeating my fantasies, or attempting to live the “healthy lifestyle” that mainstream public approve of — work, work, go back home and have dinner, take care of a child, watch television, and occasionally go out to a restaurant, see friends, go to sleep and wake up early, think of ways to accumulate wealth, or strive to win the boss’s attention, to have more opportunities. Perhaps this could also be the kind of life which makes people happy? I am not sure. My brain is drawing a blank now. Each time I return home after these “vigorous” events, it is just like I have landed on the moon, zero gravity, blanked out, and feeling light headed from the lack of oxygen. Turn on the television and be absorbed in the programs, the feeling of being filled with passion and loneliness are no longer some sort of “breakdown”, but progressively becoming our daily and psychological need. Desire and selflessness, greed and “anorexia”, “nostalgia” and pursuit, destruction and reconstruction…, these cease to be our reasons of confusion. What then is a genuine life? Or what is the life we all desire? In today’s world, perhaps we don’t need to search anymore. That is not to say the meaning of life is not important, it’s just that we should do a good job living as we are as we are already in the midst of life.

I will write down another kind of life, for a few days for record keeping and future reference.

19th, woke up at half past eleven, a cup of water / blood pressure at twelve noon 128/80P85 / lunch noodles 3 liangs (150 grams) (note: “liang” is a chinese measuring unit, 1 liang equals to 50 grams) / dinner fish head hot pot, skin of tofu, lotus root, animal stomach, noodles 1 liang (50 grams), white spirit a little more than 1 liang (50 grams) / a total of 12 cigarettes, went to sleep at 4 A.M.

18th, woke up at twelve, a cup of water / blood pressure at one o’clock in the afternoon 125/80P85 / lunch Spanish cuisine, salad, rice 1 liang (50 grams) / dinner Shanghainese cuisine, red wine about 5 glasses, white spirit about 3 liangs (150 grams) / a total 15 cigarettes, went to sleep at around 2 A.M.

Courtesy of Zhang Xiaogang and all rights reserved.

 

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