“如今的艺术家未必看重所谓的‘当下’与‘自身’的意义，这些艺术家将他们的表演外包，或者说委托给其他的表演者；与之形成鲜明对比的是，在一九六○与七○年代，艺术家利用自己的身体当作媒介与素材（例如Marina Abramovic、Chris Burden、Vito Acconci、Gina Pane）……作者的身份与作品的真实性是密不可分的。” —— 克莱尔·毕肖普
线索 2: 正午太阳下瞌睡的银发老太靠着的墙
Thread of the performance: the wall that an old lady dozing off under the midday sun
Photo Courtesy of Zheng Limin
“Today’s artists do not necessarily privilege the live moment or their own body … Instead of artists using their own bodies as the medium and material, with a corresponding emphasis on physical and psychological authenticity and oppo-sitional transgression, as was the case in the 1960s and ’70s … for example, Marina Abramovic, Chris Burden, Vito Acconci, and Gina Pane—turned to their own bodies as the privileged site of artistic action. Authorship and authenticity were bound together in the irreducible singularity of the individual performer.” —— Claire Bishop
BANK is pleased to present “Undefined Atmosphere”, a solo performance project by Zheng Limin, during Chinese New Year on February 16th. The duality of “breathing” sets the performance off. In the liminal moment between an inhalation and exhalation (of a breath), before the air pressure once again reaches equilibrium, we become most aware of the fissure that separates our bodies from the space they occupy. It is as if we split our lives between two realities, in which the resemblances are uncanny and the idiosyncrasies are only subtle. Things exist to contradict previously learned common sense: a bank that can’t be withdrawn from, a home that is never returned to, and cities under lockdown.
In a conversation, Zheng discusses his inspiration for the performance and its setting:
“I imagine an isolated space, wrinkled and translucent. To some extent, I am ‘quarantined’ from the viewing crowd in such a space, where time is stretched longer and authentic personal experience can take place. I begin, all by myself, with an obsessive ‘breathing’ exercise, and then walk past an old lady dozing off under the midday sun, or display a QR code to a security guard reading a book in his booth. These scenarios become clues, explicit or discreet, that if you connect the dots, a ‘map’ is superimposed on the timeline. It is then that I realize my experience is far from authentic.”
We have lost touch with reality, in our ability to breath. It is recorded that a single breath lasted up to 40 seconds in many pre-modern societies. Breathing is an innocuous part of our everyday lives, and even when we are most conscious of it, every breath lasts around 3 seconds – barely a second if we are anxious, excited, agitated, or even just deep in thoughts. Instead, we forfeit the time for breathing to an exhausting conversation, a performance that lasts past its welcome, an awkward night, and an out-of-focus lover. We wake up to these serendipitous, uncanny moments that tilt our lives towards a full-blown meltdown.
Things that contain more existential weight than their unproblematic counterparts: a broken hammer, a signal-less office, and an inflamed appendix. An innocuous object exists only to be forgotten, until the moment when its meaning collapses. Isn’t it funny that, in an undefined atmosphere, we see?
Project Initiator & Text: Jessica Qiqian Zeng
Translated by Zhiliang Zhao
About the artist
ZHENG Limin, b.1992, is a former reservoir worker and currently working for a design company. His practice is performance based while also seeking aid from other media. He has held solo projects at organizations such as Martin Goya Business and FU|KAN, and collaborated with institutions including Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum, OCAT Shanghai, am Art Space, JNBYHOME, among others.
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