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A REVIVED FABLE

Consistently,I’m finding things belonging to memory in various ways:drawings,architectures,and cameras now.However,what cameras record are objective.Camera can shoot historic site,residence and views;can it shoot feelings in our memory?I feel quite suffering for this.I have tried using pictures to account stories in my memory and finding a medium between picture and film whatever kind of form,to be a successful artist needs finding a kind of thing called “style”or “mode” and then spread this “mode” with his personality and life long effort. In fact, I am long expecting that one-day a picture can be recognized to be whose “mode” or “style” it is by photographers, then improvements are made in the field of photograph. I try to observe the world through things. Can our lens aim at the things underneath these superficial things like views of the Chinese styled emphasism,ancient towms of folk novelism and the lovely vision of sunrise and sunset? Can we shoot things about artists’ inside world and things closely related to our life just like the period of “sunny days” from 1968 to 1978 in my memory. The ex-president of Singapore,Li Guangyao, once called that period the “Asian value” days. Then what is Asian Value?The main points are:Asian nations are “duty-based society”,which are totally different from the western “power-based society” Besides, the Asian value objects selfish and conflict, emphasizes agreement and harmony.Accordingly, social interest is higher than personal privilege; economic development takes precedence of democracy and human right. It is said that from thinking pattern, Asian value is collectivism but western value is individualism. Although the “Asian value” proposed by Li Guangyao and Mahatier in last century as a political and cultural strategy opposing the west, in fact the various oriental cultures or Asian cultures certainly have their own great traditions and particular values, only that the great values really belonging to Asia are not expressed in their own ways. I suddenly feel that the special period from the late Cultural Revolution to the early reform is the social form with “Asian value” properties. Can I depict that social form exiting in the past memory with pictures? I set out.

We may never go to the place we arrived at if it is not for photographing this subject. It is not a big city, a beauty spot or a place for business affair andtraveling, the ares is hundreds from from the central cities of the four provinces, among Chongqing Chengdu Guiyang Kunming. However, it is also a big city. Which is plundered by big cities during the process of their economic development. Those forgotten places include: Yanjin Shuifu Junxian Gong County etc. I want to get back the memory with “Asian value” in these forgotten places. Why not shoot the present life? I feel that the society I am living in is not perfect. It is not the social form I want and we are not living in it happily. What I wish to do is just taking pictures as a kind of thiking or arousing people to think through pictures. But I cannot let every individual picture have a theme like many so called “on-the –spot recording photography”. Why should every picture have a theme? Is a picture also a weapon? Analyzing pictures in the time of Russian Stalin. Hitler and the Culture Revolution in China, you will find that they have some common characteristics, that is, every picture has a theme, a political purpose and can be used as a weapon to fight. A picture nowadays does not need these, what it need is only to reflect the feeling and thinking of the photographer himself and set up again our aesthetical standard and value system on the basis of this deeper thinking. Pictures, which can truly record the spiritual experience of  a person even an insignificant one, are better than a great epic. Can I take good pictures even if I am not living a happy life? This question needs thinking. As for the view I saw, there are some hidden factors behind. The lower and weaker class of the society bears the main cost during the period of economic imbalanced development and the social turning period such as the peasants, civil worker and the laid-off workers in the towns. So is the city they are living in,while the economy is increasing, the concern about spirit civilization,social security,social insurance,public service and ecological environment is far than enough. The extensive styled increasing manner of economy, that is exhausting woods for farming, exhausting water for fishing, and exhausting mines for exploiting, brings the environmental pollution, the blind expansion of cities, the exhausting of  resources and the lack of healthy view of value, optimistic mind and self adjusting ability. The black cities in my field of vision make me think of the exploitation undergone in big cities, where lots of “noble communities” are built up. However, the marbles,granites: bricks needed are produced in these middle and small sized cities and then carried to big cities, as a result. these middle and small sized cities are “exploited” into a complete mess. Who cares that? Can this be called the local plunder of big cities to the middle and small sized cities? This makes me associate it with the plunder of advanced countries from the third world countries. These will more or less manifested in the areas I will take photos,however, I have to shoot the pasting valuable memories in places with so many problems,even if it is an illusion,perhaps this is my artistic standpoint, which determines that I will photograph in a on –the-spot recording manner. As we know, on –the spot record photographing are series of pictures taken by a skilled and devoted photographer with any camera. He can grsp the realistic essence of human life: reflect the living condition whether it is good or bad. It visually describes the social situation studied,shows the photographer’s concern and the possible changes needed. It is a kind of explanatory picture about the inter relation between man and environment, as well as man and the important activities. However, can recording photograph take one’s memory?

In fact, a photographer need not sum up the past, or expect the future. But he should have his own position, that is, using pictures to feel things against personal fate and big social changes. As we know, if Liu Wencai’s rebellion is a problem with position, suppose that one day he became impoverished, he helped those people once exploited by him in an artistic way on the position of the peasants, then he can be called an artist. If a photographer takes photographing as a kind of self-satisfying and enjoying, then I will also start doubting his standpoint. There are two stories: the first one :this spring festival, while I was photographing a fisher man on the shore of Er sea in Dali. Yunnan province, he asked me how much money I can earn through photographing each month. I replied that I was not making any money from it. He laughed and said “then why not be a fisherman instead of a photographer” I thought that fishing and photographing fishing are both ways of making a live, none can be considered as noble or humble, in fact the so called grandness is no more than a self-blinded thing fabricated by artists. There exists a problem about standpoint, which is determined by which side you are standing by, with no humble or noble difference between artist and fisher. The second story: this march, I have held my own exhibition in the Japanese Tokyo Gallery in Beijing and sold out many pictures. Some one asked me” why people are willing to buy your pictures instead of my scenic picture? You know, mine are moving scenes”I answered” this question is just like footbath in the bathing room. You feel comfortable and should pay for the bill except that the girl washing your foot fell in love with you, and you need not to pay fees otherwise it is tobally impossible” While you took photos, eating steamed bread and suffering blazing sun or piercing wind, you are actually enjoying hardship. When sun rises in the east, the scene moved you and you shot it, you felt well and accordingly you should pay for all the expenses of taking photos, no one would pay for your comfortableness and moving rather that buy your photos?

I feel palnful for photographing this time: I have to pay attention to not only the present forgotten and plundered areas in the development but also the past reality. Then a question arises, looking at the rewarded pictures in the present Chinese photographing exhibition; you will find that they are full of “little interest”. Why can these common pictures with no idea be ewarded? What’s the theoretical basis and value behind? Facing the unorderly street I photographed and those people wanting to improve their living condition through making a fortune, I indeed have no “interest”. Besides, I do not want to take those “aesthetical pictures” based on the Russian aesthetics of the former Soviet Union, which is popular at Chinese present photographing. Why can the field of photography “advancing with the time” while other artistic fields of china have entered “the up to date concept”? It seems that I find a language, an up to date language, which is used to express the unhappy present and the happy past. It is for this kind of conflict that I am predetermined to select the “vague” language. On the surface, it should be quite calm, contrarily disappointment about the reality and enthusiasm about the past memory are hidden behind the quiet, the less contrastive, the non-dramatic. A rpicture or the artistic feeling of a photographer cannot load too many philosophical content and sociological meaning. A picec of work can only bring “active based” association about the “profound problem “of the history, culture, and reality etc and provide certain information which can arouse common feelings. Except that I must be clear about my standpoint. What I can do is to continue giving prominence to the basic artistic mood of “vague calm”, start reflecting the social culture from the extremely individual point, deeply and concretely express the interesting familiar life instead of chasing for seeking those “photography enjoying”. I need to think.

Besides our complex mind given by history and reality, the direct reason to photograph these pictures stem from the old on-the –spot recording photograph which have there characteristics, the first one is that people are absentminded, neutral and symbolic. The second one is that the photographs are old because they have been conserved for a long time so that they have the spatio-temporal feeling and hallucination. The third one is that these so called on-the –spot recording old pictures have a artificial trace, they want to record the good side of the time, but what is behing the reality of the “smiling” work? What is the hidden “undecorated state” of these “recordings” which have been artificially “decorated”? At least there are two point which is worth paying attention to , the first one is that persons at that time are immobile in those on-the –spot record photos, the second one is that people’s personal desire and privacy behing the “smile”or “rage” under the collectivism are not manifested. Therefore, whether we can strt from the two points of the “recording” above? To some sense, I am actually re-record process, I reduce consciously to the least degree the “truth regaining” people are familiar with,such as dealing with the color contrasting. What is left is only the fainted history and life; a soul often toughly struggling under the public standard, many a unordered scenes which are full of memories show up from the vague photographing shadows.

When I was a child.I had heard about many fable stories and I thought fable stores as a art with the most contemporary style, the stories are sometimes Fictive, also the scenarios are setting for the arguments that the fable want to tell us. For example, the fable<Yugong yi shan>,is there really a yugong in the history? No, but this does not influence the value of the fable. Today, the reason why I choose this strong oriental stytled manner to photograpy is that I try to find a breaking point between the oriental Buddhism and the western contemporary concept, which will help us to find the visual strength.

Please give me you hand, where is you hand? I only saw the lure “foot “behing the age-old wall and your silhouette that have disappeared. This is the image like a fable, a fantastic monolog.

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