Curatorial Preface :
The Growing Art Language System
— Understanding of Tong Wenmin's Practicing in Behavior Art Creation Through "Castle"
“The body is always revolutionary because it represents the essence that cannot be coded.”
— Pierre Paul Pasolini
The history of art has evolved along with human cognition of the body. From ancient Greek sculptures, medieval icons, portraits of the Renaissance to the abstract human body of modernism, the "body" has always existed as the theme of artistic creation. Until the emergence of behavior art in the twentieth century, the body first broke away from its original attributes and officially became the main theme of artistic creation. From the aesthetic object to the development of art linguistic materials, from a simple visual image to the development of the presence and action vector of “reality”, in this development process, a focus of the discussion on the body has shifted from philosophical thinking into the scope of art.
In art language, “body” exists and cannot be “dissolved”. Whether for art creators or for viewers, "body" becomes the common vector, that is, "physical homogeneity" that prevails among all human beings. This commonality makes it possible that the public knows how to read the body in the behavior artwork, bridging between the artist and the audience.
The change of creation media by artist Tong Wenmin from the oil painting in the early years to behavior art echoes the change process of the body from the "topic" to the "theme". Since the official beginning of behavior art in 2012, she enhances the existence of a body in every piece of her work. It is a basic point for Tong Wenmin's to unfold art creation by facing her body from perspectives of physiological experiences, functional attributes, cultural meaning and philosophical existence. Being associated with the world in the form of art seems to be more essential to the artist, this is how she faces and responds to them.
This perspective is more of a sensual physical reaction than rational thinking, separation or construction.
The creation of artists resembles the process in which trees absorb nutrients and blossom flowers. The different methods of creation render various works. Tong Wenmin likes to read serious books such as philosophy, social science, and occultism, as well as a variety of bizarre topics. After reading these books, she also made in-depth thinking, but there seems to be no clear answer. What's fun is that she barely used the knowledge from these books in her works. She just keeps training on her creative ability and refines her art language, so when she creates, artistic works are naturally generated with a quality of her daily distillation. Therefore, in Tong Wenmin's works, we rarely see clear concepts or text-based speculations. Her works are usually abstract, making room for rich interpretations.
Tong Wenmin's early behavioral creations were carried out in this way. Little by little, she accumulated a lot of "techniques" needed for creation, and became more and more familiar with the material of "body". Until the 2016 "Factory" series, her creative approach has changed significantly, from the fragmented point of view to the project-based overall creation. The work is no longer accidental and random, but a result of the artist’s actively practices on thinking about the whole subject and the results of different aspects. If the previous creation was just some "words", then from the "factory" project, she learned to use words to form a paragraph. This new way of creation is a walking crutch she found on the way of growing.
It is based on this gradually forming working method that Tong Wenmin presented exhibition "Castle" as a review of her creations in the past time of the year with seven works - six of videos & images and one installation.
These seven works are considered consecutive and connected as a whole, starting in November 2017 on the rural fields of the International Arts Festival in the Zhongliang Village (that is a magical scene made up of empty villages, castles and landscaped lawns). The artist considered and created using the "space" into the following interpretations: 1. The space occupied by the body, 2. The changes in the space and environment around the body as the body moves. This is a typical research practice of behavioral art in which direction is determined at first, and then different attempts are made in terms of body use, material selection, space selection, etc. In the process of creating, the work presents an extremely open possibility due to the richness of the basic material “body”.
The name of the project comes from the castle on the hill of Zhongliang Village and extends to Kafka's famous "Castle". However, the visual intent of the work is related to Kafka's other masterpiece, Metamorphosis. In the works of "Old House", "Local History", "Paper" and "Lawn", the behaviors performed by artists in different fields involve the discussion of the sense of existence and belonging of people, and the discussion of the relationship between man and nature. The "human alienation" displayed in the works of "Paper" and "Sketch" is more easily reminiscent of modernity.
For the development of Tong Wenmin's own creation system, the most important work is "Bedding Sheets": she standing on the streets of Germany with sheets covering her from top of head to create isolation from the public. The recorder hanging on the neck recorded the whole process in terms of sound. In the second half of the work, the sound clearly records and presented her inner conscious flow with extremely personal abstract words while we still see the artist on the street visually. Although there are many cases in which Wen Wenmin's works have discussed personal experience and publicity in recent years, "Bedding Sheet" is the most integral work showing the transformation from "public space" to "private space" and then "spiritual space".
The seven works created with stages from the mountain villages of Chongqing to the streets of Germany then to the countryside of Yunnan Province will eventually return to the exhibition hall of the Chongqing DAC Art Center on July 21. The work departed from the first scene of “behavior” and entered the second scene of the exhibition hall by means of images, videos, and installations, which involved the re-transformation of “exhibition space”. For the artist, the process of preparing for the exhibition is a process of happiness and torture, as well as to the curator.
We look forward to sharing this wonderful result with the audience.
Making good works requires continuous hard work. The discussion of “space” in this project has inspired the creation theme in next stage “The relationship between body movement and extensive materials under a context of various spatial fields”. Diligent as Tong Wenmin, it is expected that in less than a year, a new batch of works will show us the results of her research.
And let’s wait and look at her walking crutch to grow the next part.
— Hu Yanzi at Huang Jueping,Chongqing, July,15th, 2018
Wenmin Tong, born in 1989. Graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2012. Now living and working in Chongqing. Performance art is her main artistic creation way. She is activing in the live communication of International Performance . She also creates and exhibits her performance artworks in several countries and regions, including Poland, Hungary, German,Australia, Israel, Iran, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macao and so on. her creation is focus on exploring the intersection of the covert perceptions of people and the reality of circumstance. She use the poetic action of body to expresses the thought of the mankind's existence situations。She explore the wild way of thinking and the meaning of modern life .
2017, Above The Tree/Organ House,Chongqin，China
2016, Stars On The Earth/ Rebel Art Space, Thailand
2016, Flying Winding / Xining Contemporary Art Space，Xining ，China
Some of Group Exhibition:
2018, Heterotopia On the Route, The Galaxy Museum Of Contemporary Art ，Chongqing，China
2017, Shifting Permanence -Sichuan Performance Art/Adelaide Festival Centre ,Australia
2016, The 11th Israel ZAZ international performance art festival 2016/Israel performance platform, Peta Tikhova art museum , Telaviv, Haifa ,Israel
2016, Stretching Conceptual Space-State And Method/Blue Roof Museum，Chengdu，China
2016,《On the other saide》Video Art Project/ Organ House , Chongqing, China
2016, Light Art Performance Iran /Iran
2016, Crossing Border- Border Crossing International Festival of crossing Media/Hongkong, China
2015, Links-Locality And Nomadism /The Galaxy Museum Of Contemporary Art, Chongqing, China
2015, “INWARD GAZES”Documentaries of Chinese performance art/Macao,China
2015, Trans Art Communication 2015 Project/ Hungary, Slovakia
2015, INTERAKCJE---XVII-International Art Festival/Piotrkow Trybunalski , Poland
2014, GuYuAction China Contenporary PerformanceArt City United Exhibition/ Xian , China
2014, “ASIATOPIA” The International Performance Art Festival /Bangkok Art Culture Center ,Chiangmai University Gallery , Thailand
2014, Guangzhou Live 5 International Performance Art Festival / Youyou Contemporary Art Center ，Guangzhou ,china
2012 Searching home — series of activities of Migration and habitation project /Chongqin，China
2015, SAYA international young artists support project award
2015, “INWARD GAZES”Documentaries of chinese performance art commend award。
2017, The 5th Contemporary Sculpture Award
2017, The 8th New Star Art Award- First Prize
■ ■ Exhibition Information ■ ■
DAC Artists in Residency
'' Castle '' Solo Exhibition by Wenmin Tong
Exhibition Period: 2018.07.22 (Sun) - 2018.08.12 (Sun)
Address: Dimensions Art Center, Huangjueping, Chongqing
Special Guest: Bin Zhou
Curator: Yanzi Hu
Invited Criticism: Kun Ni, Meng Tian
Exhibition Assistances: Ke Hu, Yuanshuai
Poster Design: Yuhang Lu
Project Support: Internationalized Artistic Talents Program of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute
Supporting Media :