Green Wall:The Study No.1 by Zhang Xiaogang, 2009; stainless steel plate, silkscreen prints, oil and silver pen, 150 × 200 cm

Green Wall:The Study No.1 by Zhang Xiaogang, 2009; stainless steel plate, silkscreen prints, oil and silver pen, 150× 200 cm

 

July 22nd, Cloudy, the weather feels very heavy

There will be a total solar eclipse today that only occurs once every few decades, and one can see it in Shanghai (too bad I have already left), Tibet, India along with other places. Waking up at noon I have already missed it, when I turned on the television set, I have then realized that it had already become history. Although we couldn’t see it from Beijing, I looked out the window and there was a vast expanse of whiteness, seeing this heavy scene I already knew the eclipse was felt world-wide. All of a sudden, I remember what I have once heard my grandmother say when I was a child that an eclipse occurs when “Tian Gou” (a mythical animal) is eating cake (moon). (?) I remember when grandmother told me about this slightly scary story, I couldn’t help taking a look at her feet, which were bound for several decades, and I thought that this was basically another “feudalistic superstition” and related to nonsense. Later I learned from textbooks that an eclipse is related to the sun, moon, earth and shadows. Therefore, I began to become interested in the mysterious feelings surrounding the “shadow” created by light. Later on, I began to read about contemporary western philosophies and religions, I learned that there is also a changeable “shadow” in one’s soul. And when I read about contemporary psychology, while knowing that a person’s soul would forever retain an ever changing shadow, not only that it wouldn’t disappear, but it would have a fundamental influence on a person’s personality, thoughts and thinking, as well as actions. It would even destroy a person’s personality! Yet all these have nothing to do with “light”. With this, the imagination, searching, experience, fear, anticipation, analysis, prevention, oblivion, loathing, helplessness, as well being infatuated with “shadow”, have instead become a new remodeled “shadow”!

I don’t even know if this “shadow” really exists? Perhaps this is merely a certain kind of hint brought by the collective knowledge of human nature? It is fused together with our bodies, which can never be separated. It influences our thoughts, judgement and action, flickering, and unstable. When it’s being explained as some kind of bloodline in “art”, it appears to be so “holy” and intimate; when it emerges in our dreams at night, it appears to be demon-like making people suffocate, and when it shows up under the sun in the crowd, it becomes our excuse to escape and reason to console oneself…

No matter what, I cannot deny that we can no longer get rid of our “shadows”, and have to live with them whether I like it or not. As for where does it come from, what it is, what form and way does it take shape in the deepest part of our souls, we could think about it, judge it, and experience it slowly, but we depend on each other for survival, and we prove ideals to each other, which have assembled the psychological structures we now have, moreover, like a mirror projecting onto other people while projecting onto ourselves. That is the case.

15th, woke up at eleven thirty A.M., water, one cup of cucumber and bitter melon juice / blood pressure at one in the afternoon 110/78P80 / lunch noodles 2 liangs (100 grams) (note: “liang” is a measuring unit, 1 liang equals to 50 grams) / dinner tomato stir fry egg, short rib, eggplant, Chinese cabbage, rice 3 liangs (150 grams) / dinner 2 glasses of red wine (approximately) / all day long a total of 15 cigarettes / went to sleep at around 3 A.M.

16th, woke up at eleven thirty A.M., water, one cup of cucumber and bitter melon juice / blood pressure at one in the afternoon 127/78P80 / lunch noodles a little more than 2 liangs (a little more than 100 grams) / dinner at home, mushroom, beef, egg and bitter melon, white spirit a little more than 1 liang (a little more than 50 grams), rice 1 liang (50 grams) / a total of 15 cigarettes, went to sleep at around four

17th, woke up at twelve thirty, water, one cup of cucumber and bitter melon juice / blood pressure at 2 in the afternoon 122/81P78 / lunch noodles 3 liangs (150 grams) / had a little dinner on the air plane, then had Shanhainese cuisine, white spirit 3 liangs (150 grams) / dinner about 4 glasses of Western wine / a total of 15 cigarette, (or maybe 17?), went to sleep at around four.

Courtesy of Zhang Xiaogang and all rights reserved.

 

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