Exhibition view | 展览现场
Details of video works | 视频作品细节
Absolute 15/16 | 穹顶 15/16
Text by Sara Yuan
We can know more than we can tell.
In the 1960s, Polanyi introduced personal perspective into the process of scientific knowing by posing the self-contradictory “personal knowledge” as the opposite of objective knowledge. In this exhibition, Bi Rongrong boldly uses the gallery space to create an “absolute” structure of her own personal knowledge.
Bi Rongrong’s background in Chinese landscape sketching has nurtured her keen perceptivity towards the surrounding world, such that this sensitivity has become an integral part of herself. In modern society, the city streets may be the “landscape” (shanshui) of the industrial era. Although modernization itself has long been denounced, this landscape continues to reflect the relationship of one person to another, of a person to nature, and of a person to society. As such, it is rich with an energy of communal production. Graffiti, posters, advertisements, and architectural structures and patterns have passed through the artist’s eyes and become a form of power. This power drives her to take up brushes and, as if unconscious, record its “form.”
“What we believe” may be a falsity viewed with derision on the street, but Bi Rongrong has shifted it into the most formidable type of questioning. The posters left on the walls shape space and time by delineating a form, while the colored gradient background simulates the invisible energy flows that would be imperceptible outside of their two-dimensional context. Crucial as well are the experimental video works which make it possible for time to flow through the space. By playfully attempting to approach the “absolute,” they catch a glimpse of reality, only to find it is absent. Instead, the only thing that can be distinguished are tiny particles that extend out into a boundless drift. Just as we are helpless when faced with the limitless ocean of the cosmos and infinite worlds therein, we are able to grasp only the smallest piece of the world around us.
There is a tacit component to knowledge that cannot be conveyed through regulations or technologies. In the “Absolute” series, data, proportions, stories, and forms all gradually fade away as Bi Rongrong makes a direct connection with those energies. Through her artistic production, she pushes them to their limit. Rich with an unknown indeterminacy and intuition, the works exhibit the true self. As the audience members are subconsciously drawn into the work and perceive the artist’s self, they also create their own personal knowledge. A dialogue is possible. By stripping away the frameworks of rules and languages, communication becomes an adventure of endless variability.
In truth, these gossip-like patterns, logos, details and blocks of nameless color have an implicit connection to reality. It is a reality that, although it is all around us, is in fact difficult to see and often becomes lost. Beneath Bi Rongrong’s structures, this implicit reality has become the objectivity and absolute quality of her personal knowledge. These elements become a personal, cyclical whole in her work, a tool she uses to amass energy. Standing on a plateau, she raises her gaze to the absolute. Personal emotions, experiences, and an aesthetic quest become essential components of the real world that continues to collect these transformed symbols.
We can know more than we can tell.
“What we believe”在街头或许是被人唾骂千遍的谎言，在她的挪移中却成为最有力的质问；墙面残留的海报形状，以一种勾勒的形式让时间在空间中成形。渐变的背景仿佛模拟着能量流动这一不可见的过程，以二维的形式还原，给人以实感。值得一提的是，实验般的视频作品，让空间在时间中流动，它以玩乐之心试图无限接近“穹顶”，窥探真身，却发现“真身”之缺席，只有微小的粒子及其展延无垠的运动尚可辨认。这似乎向人们诉说，宇宙之浩瀚，世界之纷繁，绝无可能尽在掌握，我们的所见所知只可能是其中最微小的部分。