My holiday for 2012 in China is both the busiest and the most tired one for me so far in my memory. For the first two weeks at the beginning, I suffered a lot from a severe cold. Although I got recovered later on, I still have to suffer from slight bronchitis and occasional low-grade fever even till now.
Since I will sign with an art company in Beijing an agency agreement regarding to the domestic sales of my works, I need to prepare about more than 20 pieces of works for future sales during my stay in China, which is also a part of the agreement. Therefore before coming back to China I contacted a bosom friend of mine Xu Zhi who works in the Art Photography Dept. of Liaoning Art Museum, to find me a secret studio where no acquaintances could be seen for weeks. Then soon after my returning back home, I was arranged to work in a place named as Liaoning Painting Base (situated in the courtyard of the veteran bureau in Dongling District). Afterwards on the 16th of the first lunar month, I started my work when the last bottle of infusion was finished.
But just after two days’ working there, I was told that the two-layered building of the “Base” had been sold off by the local government of Dongling District, which meant the “Base” had to be temporarily moved to the abandoned Dongling District Library. Abandoned and a little worn as it was, the library was quite good and very quiet. Besides me who worked in the building from morning till night, there was also a calligrapher named Liu Hongwei, and then an old night watchman as well. As the library was situated in downtown lots of Quanyuan area, it was quite convenient both for dinner and traffic. My lunch was usually a take away sent to my studio, so I did not even have to get out of the building. Each day after lunch, I would sit for a while together with that calligrapher Mr.Liu Weihong in his cottage next door to me, chatting freely while having a cup of tea, and then we would continue to work separately. Time like this had lasted for about three weeks till the end of Feb. And then I was informed one day that the “Base” was going to be moved again in a couple of days to a newly built cultural center in the new area of Hunnan. Being an outsider as I was, I had no other choice but to move together with the “Base”.
The new cultural center is very clean and bright. The calligrapher and I are the only residents there on the floor belonging to the “Base”. Our tea time remains the same as before in his studio each day after lunch. And the only difference is that no take away could be served there as it is a new area and there are almost no commercial streets by now. So lunch could only be taken in a cafeteria belonging to the cultural bureau of Hunnan new area, which is a few hundred meters away from our studios, where foods for hundreds of people are served each day. And that cafeteria always provides with variety of foods from which you may make your choice among 6 kinds of dishes, 2kinds of soup, 3 kinds of stable food and 4 kinds of kimchi as well as fruit you like with a cost of only one chinese yuan for each person, and moreover there is no limit to how much you eat….Only till now do I realize that why is it there are always so many people attending the tests for civil service each year, even to the extent of breaking their heads. The reason is simple because of the outstanding welfare and treatment which is far beyond people’s imagination.
So hard as I have been working continuously like this till now, I really feel tired. In fact I have never worked in this mad way before even in my studio in the Netherlands. Nevertheless my work has to be completed, and will be completed soon.
studio of the "base" in the abandoned library
my studio in the abandoned library
the cottage of the calligrapher in the abandoned library
working in my studio without shaving for half a month by then, did I look an "ai-qaeda" member?
The clean and empty corridors inside the culture center. There seems to be no persons engaged in culture work besides Liu Hongwei and I.
my studio in the culture center of the new area
tea time at Liu’s studio ( my beard had been shaved )