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

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

August 21st, Sunny

A few days ago, I saw an interview with Mr. Wu on the television. In the last part, after reflecting on his own life, he got emotional and said: “My heart is still very young, but my body is already old.” I couldn’t help feeling shocked when I heard this, and sighed with regret as all sorts of feelings welled up in my heart. I couldn’t tell whether it was the helplessness of the decline of life, or the psychological disorder caused by the impermanence of life and misplacement of space in time? Perhaps when we are absorbed in upholding the dignity of life, we suddenly realize one day that real life has already left us for ever; while when we are crazy revolving around according to the rhythm of life each day, but forgetting time, our memories haven is not in the past tense anymore. I even haven’t realized, should I be living in time, or should I be living in space?

Our cities are more and more spectacular; our nights are brighter and brighter; our lifestyles are more and more simple; our thoughts are more and more direct; our emotions are more and more complicated; our ways of communication are more and more uniform; our technologies are more and more transparent; our imaginations are more and more reasonable; our desires are more and more integrated; our wisdom is more and more comical; our pains are more and more private; our memories are shorter and shorter; our past is further and further away; our faces are younger and younger; our music is more and more beautiful; our sense of taste is heavier and heavier; our movies are better and better; our clothes are being worn less and less; our studios are bigger and bigger; our exhibitions are more and more frequent; our dinner parties are more and more luxurious; our gatherings are more and more difficult; our thoughts are more and more shallow; our conversations are more and more relaxed; our tears come easier and easier; our abilities to forget are stronger and stronger; our acquaintances are more and more simple; our hearts are colder and colder; our willpower is stronger and stronger; our loneliness is deeper and deeper; our judgments are vaguer and vaguer…

Today a young artist aged 27 sent me the catalog of his up-coming solo exhibition. I flipped through the catalog, discovering that half of the work is about his childhood and memories, while the other half is about bits and pieces of his current life. This reminded me of a conversation I had with someone a few days ago on how memory is not for the purpose of restoration, not even for the purpose of nostalgia, memory is a mere process, and it’s one of the many methods of enjoyment that we have today. The speed of the changes in our life has already exceeded our psychological recognition and acceptance of time. Nowadays I think we have already started to be “nostalgic” when we are very young. What does this really imply? Is it that we are starting to be overly obsessed with memory? Or is it that we are starting to doubt our memories?

Courtesy of Zhang Xiaogang and all rights reserved.

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