Poster of Epiphenomena

Lab 47 is pleased to present Epiphenomena, a solo exhibition by artist Qi Zhen, which will be on view from March 26 through May 8, 2016.

Truth has nothing to do with language. Truth is like Moon in the sky and language is like the finger that points to the moon. A finger can point out where the moon is, but the finger is not the truth.

Hui Neng(638–713), the Sixth and Last Patriarch of Zen Buddhism

When a wise man points at the moon, the imbecile examines the finger. The story originally derives from scripture of Śūraṅgama Sūtra. It obviously concerns the conventional topic – Truth and Language. The Truth implies the human destiny, yet the Language means the method and manner. This metaphor involves mainly the status quo, or say, the context of globalization, post-industrialization, urbanization, gentrification, digitalization, informationalization, artificial intelligentization, etc. With such situation, what destiny will the fingers(methods) point? Where will they lead the human to go?

Qi Zhen creates a scene of various animal sculptures, by which implies a long-lasting evolution and developing of human society. The artist has always been considering the human status quo. In this exhibition, Qi strives to build an atmosphere of anxiety and helplessness. We can see the pale, distorted animals come together wandering around space, targetless. The video lay on the floor at the far end of the room shows animals’ souls running in heaven. The whole scene implies a weird also a natural sense of life, on the one hand, and indicates the dire also certain unspeakable motivation of living and existing, on the other. The Unspeakable notion is an essential point that refers to the relation between the language and the truth regarding the contemporary situation.

Discourse is inert persistent of imbecile or of the vast part of the mass.While the moon pointed finger points out the truth, which is uncatchable by language. As Vilem Flusser claimed, the integration of human history and ways of writing and reading. It implies that the history is discourse. And this notion is expanded as the discourse is the logic, the logic becomes thousands of methods of digitalization and informationalization. All by all, the original sin is the discourse, the language and the letters. That’s why in Chinese epic when Cang Jie created the characters, it came with the tempest and chaos of devils. Now Qi attempts to reveal this paradox and provide a reflexivity for our logical human civilization.

Apparently, Qi attempts to arouse a grand narrative at the crawlway of LAB 47. Audients may see faintly the masterpiece of The parable of the blind leading the blind by Peter Bruegel. Both of the creation created by the large topic as well as the anxiety of destiny. Also, both of them drove by religion or belief. However, the difference is that Epiphenomena was built on the Chinese perspective, which derives from the perception and epiphany of oneself when being as one with all the elements around the world. In this term, Qi Zhen’s work can be understood as an appropriation of the heritage of ritual practice. All the pale animals symbol the ancient oriental shamanistic rite. What it summon would be the Truth from pre-modern, or pre-pre-modern.

About the exhibition

Date: March 26 – May 8, 2016

Opening: March 26, 15:00, Saturday

Venue: LAB 47

Curator: Geng Han,  Aurelie Martinaud

Courtesy of the artist and LAB 47, for further information please visit

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