Blogs/ Xu Ruotao's "Expressionism": Really fierce or fierce art

By Wu Wenguang, published on 02 Apr 2019

Xu Ruotao made a fierce film, the protagonist of the film is an artist named Hua Yong. I heard that this person was fierce and knew how fierce after watching the film. A "fierce character" can make a good film, and the documentary is usually so relished, but an atmosphere in the chest does not need to be based on the subject or character.
I first knew Xu Ruotao, who is an artist himself. He first saw a installation of his work called "Spiritual Life" (constitution: ink painting, TV bed and diary filled with semen). The work was in a group exhibition called "Paranoia". The exhibition venue was Beijing North. The basement of the No. 10 courtyard building in Sanhuan, the time is October 1998.

After 20 years, I still remember so clearly because I have the archives of the exhibition in my computer. At that time, I went to the exhibition site, the basement of a residential building in the North Third Ring Road. A large group of people who saw the exhibition rushed into the basement, and in the darkness, they analyzed various eye-catching exhibits and a veritable “underground art”. Exhibitors in addition to Xu Ruotao, as well as Xu Yihui, Zhang Dali, Gu Dexin, Zheng Guogu and other more than 20 artists, seem to be more than a "paranoid." The exhibition was stopped the next day, the so-called "one-day exhibition."

The exhibition planner is Xu Ruotao and Xu Yihui among the participating artists. I know the latter. At the time, I was preparing an art archive called “Site” and listed this “paranoid” exhibition as the “exhibition” in the book. One of the archives interviewed Xu Yihui, one of the planners. He said that he and Xu Ruotao planned this exhibition in a temporarily free basement, and wanted to jump out of the "institutional exhibition" controlled by "professional curators."

20 years ago in the 1990s in Beijing, such "paranoid" artists and exhibition methods can not be said to be surging, but also appear one after another, the so-called "hot times." Nowadays, "hot" has been huddled in the WeChat group. Are Xu Ruotao still "paranoid" as before?

What other artists are doing now, I have no answer, but after seeing Xu Ruotao’s "Expressionism" film, this question mark can be ignored without hesitation. He continues to be "paranoid" and still walks my slant.

In fact, before this, the question mark can be removed. In 2014, Caochangdi Workstation made a special screening of Shi Jiepeng's film, Shi Jiepeng, American, who was a Ph.D. in image anthropology at Harvard University. He had a documentary film in China for several years. He provided a film with Yumenu and Xu Ruotao. Xiang Xiang co-authored, the film saw, the three "paranoids" got together, leading to madness.

To this present, "Expressionism," Xu Ruotao continues to interpret his paranoia to fierce. Directly putting the art common noun "expressionism" at the beginning of the film as a film title, seems to announce that this film has nothing to do with the so-called "quiet silence" pursued by the documentary! Subjective! To behave! The conversion of "performance" to the film's leading artist, Hua Yong, is "action", a real and fierce action that challenges this increasingly dying world and challenges the bystander's nerves, including me.

I don't want to elaborate on the "Hua Yong Action". I don't want to do those unnecessary raps before the readers watch the film. This is suspected in advance, and the filmmakers will feel the best when they come to the scene with the film. In addition, "Hua Yong Action" is not a single, is a series, and follow the film, "Hua Yong" is not a person, is two, is three, is a group, including Xu himself.

Before watching the film, I wanted to express the title "Expressionism". I used an abstract and big noun to explain it. After reading the article for a few days, I felt that this is an irreplaceable good title. Really fierce? Art is also fierce? When the two are fierce and fierce and difficult to judge, it is first to "expressionism."
Say extra words. In the late 1990s, he met Xu Ruotao through his installation works. He did not see anyone. After 20 years, he did not seem to have seen the impression (or what occasions he met, remembered not to say anything). This does not matter. What is important is that Xu, in his early 30s, he was paranoid; now Xu, in his early 50s, continues to be fierce.

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