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

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

July 23rd, Cloudy, the sky suddenly turned dark in the afternoon, then rained followed by lightning

The effect of the total solar eclipse seems to be a day late for Beijing, the whole day yesterday was foggy, while this afternoon, the sky started to darken, then rained and became windy. It was as if I had gone back to Chongqing many years ago — around the same time, the same season, a little more than a decade ago, the sky would begin to darken everyday at around two in the afternoon and it rained. I would need to turn on the light early at home. I listened to the raindrops hitting onto the plastic canopy and onto the leaves on the trees, I looked at the damp soil and weeds in the yard, and large rats running freely. And at the time, the music I played on my little stereo was always by Pink Floyd, I especially like the album The Wall, I could listen to it hundreds of times and never get tired of it. And today my stereo plays music by Cold Play in their most recent album Life in Technicolor. I first got to know of them because of their song Yellow. And the reason I am playing music from their newest album is because during my last flight back from Europe, I was sitting in a pitch black cabin, suddenly I heard their music from the music channel on the airplane, and especially Cemeteries of London, it totally captured me, if I say I was “moved”, it would not be an exaggeration. Perhaps it was due to that particular moment and place, actually Cold Play couldn’t be counted as one of my favorite, it is far from my all time favorites of Pink Floyd, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and Dire Straits. It’s a shame my English is very poor, I couldn’t read their brilliant lyrics, I could only experience their inner “thoughts” in the atmosphere created by their music (Maybe it’s again a whole lot of misreading). However, I have to thank them from the bottom of my heart! It’s not only that their music has given me warmth and strength during my loneliest days, but it’s the certain “atmosphere” that is passed on from their music, which had made me finally grasped and led to my “direction” in art. Perhaps it is true, music itself represents a type of living style — no matter if it transcends or escapes, or music itself is the mysterious experience we have about life in our inner heart?

Thinking about what happened earlier, Michael Jackson passed away suddenly. It felt as if a brother of mine had left me. I couldn’t help crying when I listened to his songs such as Earth Song, You Are Not Alone, They Don’t Care about Us. My heart is wounded by this unspeakable sadness, and I couldn’t listen to any other music but his for a few days. I am not sure whether it’s his death that had touched me or it’s his music and thoughts that have penetrated time, once again allowing us to discover ourselves? Whatever the case, I believe as long as you still believe in “loneliness”, or still attempt to search for “loneliness”, then “music” is not far from you⋯⋯

I found a song titled Suzanne by Leonard Cohen, below is a passage from the lyrics:

⋯ ⋯ ⋯

“And Jesus was a sailor

When he walked upon the water

And he spent a long time watching

From his lonely wooden tower

And when he knew for certain

Only drowning men could see him

He said “All men will be sailors then

Until the sea shall free them”

But he himself was broken

Long before the sky would open

Forsaken, almost human

He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

And you want to travel with him

And you want to travel blind

And you think maybe you’ll trust him

“For he’s touched your perfect body with his mind.”


Courtesy of Zhang Xiaogang and all rights reserved.

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