Project: SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN HERE in Guangzhou,
Xiao Zhou Cun artist village,
curated by Frank Gerlitzki at Sabaki Space
Xiao Zhou Cun is a weird, interesting place, an old village with wonderful brick houses 300 years old next to new typical non-sense chinese buildings. Along the canal with the water coming up and down every 6 hours some sparks of local life going on amidst tenth of socialist realism style art schools and few interesting avant guard artists’studios. Just outside the village, under a highway bridge, two kilometres of artists’ studios have been built. They host pseudo-realist painters, traditional calligraphers and copists. The avant guarde artists tend to snob the other artists, yet these last ones make a good living on their paintings while the first ones struggle. Altough they try to maintain distance and calculate their moves,,,in the end they sometime get together for a glass of beer or a hotpot, This happens often in Frank Gerlitzki’s studio. Frank, whose art is cunning and edgy likes to bring together any sort of artists and test their humanity when opposed to their “clan spirit” or career orientation. My sticker project happened contemporary as one “station” of Frank’s Bus station project, that’s going on since a few months in several countries.My action with my bus station was to turn it into a springboard to jump in the canal. ( a very fertile soil where various species of fishes and big rats swim together)The sticker installation was in Sabaki a conceptual space as big as 2 square metres with 3 vitrines on the road next to a bridge over the canal. It was fun to see students and old people picking up the stickers and stick them on themselves or everywhere around. I’m receiving emails with photos everyday. In the middle of the afternoon, I visited the studio of a young artist full of spirit and tension, whose work consists, among other, to “steal and wash in the washing machine” all the popo and academic paintings he can find around (he is treated with suspect by everyone); then, after having sticked a couple of blue circles, unseen, in the studio of a character-painter who paints only Mao and himself smoking Havanas together (and makes very good money) I was invited to do some calligraphy…I only did some gestural painting…. by a group of “masters” who tried to make their work contemporary to honour one of Frank’s bus station with an ink and wash performance. An old master very sensitive and beautiful to watch while he was painting,after a couple of traditional improvised landscapes, simply drew a childish cityscape with cars and skyscrapers….proving more flexibility than any average think-to-be-conceptual-artist. There under the highway it was like a bad movie a surrealist landscape with surrealist people, yet there was good food, and some good intentions…..the few conceptual artists who came and remain, in the end forgot about the bad-good art thing and just showed respect. I ended up my evening with a hot pot in Frank’s wonderful 300 years old brick house, sharing thoughts never too serious with some smart local conceptual artists and a very nice Swedish guy who happens to be a prominent international curator of performance art. The mood was funny and relaxed but full of good jokes and inspiring moments,..it felt like being with a band of old pirates back home after having escaped the navy..it felt good. these guys have spirit .