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Report on the road The Long March 每 A Walking Visual Display enters the international space

The Long March participates in ※le moine et le demon 每 Contemporary Chinese Art§ exhibition held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon.

Exhibition dates: June 8 每 August 15, 2004
Coorganizing organizations: Guangdong Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art Lyon, Ullens Foundation
Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Lyon, France
Curator: Fei Dawei

Click into: Installation and PreparationLong March worksOpening CeremonyOther artist works on exhibitionLong March Works Description

Regarding the exhibition
Co-organized by the Guangdong Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Lyon, and the Ullens Foundation, the exhibition is the first exhibition created by a Chinese fine arts museum and one outside of China. The exhibition organizes itself around works as opposed to concepts; taking art as the center, it runs counter to contemporary curatorial practice. Artists and their works are the focus of the exhibition, and it seeks to avoid the first come first serve concept, thereby removing artistic creation from a set theoretical framework. At the same time, it emphasizes artistic problems and not social problems by defining ※contemporary art§ as being ※beyond society, standing independently, and no longer being displayed as a subtext to that reflects social changes and conflicts.§ Works are then representations of an individual and not a group. Thus, the exhibition paid particular attention to the individuality of each artist*s thoughts and eliminated artistic trends and tendencies. Regardless of whether it is a mainland Chinese artist or a Chinese artist from abroad, or if it is a young artist or artists from the first generation of contemporary art, their works are all on display on the inside or outside of the same room. This meeting between inside and outside implies that works from different periods in time are displayed at the same site, but this is not provide a historic outline, but to display the multifaceted nature of Chinese contemporary art from several angles.
The exhibition displayed works in the 3000 square meter Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon*s exhibition room, and around the city of Lyon. The French title for the exhibition is ※Virtue and Vice,§ which originally comes from the saying ※As virtue rises by one foot, vice rises by ten.§ While contemporary art is acquiring acceptance and support, it raises that questions of how artists are supposed to respond to this new structure, new problems, and create thoughts that have a connection to reality? As the final large scale exhibition for Sino-French cultural exchange in France this year, a particular trait about this exhibition is that almost all the works are done on a large scale.
※Le moine et le dragon§ invited 22 artists, Gu Dexin, Huang Yongping, Shen Yuan, Sui Jianguo, Rong Rong and Ang Li, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Wang Ningde, Xu Zhen, Zhuang Hui, Xie Nanxing, Wang Gongxin, Wang Xingwei, Yang Jiecang, Yang Zhenzhong, Yang Fudong, Liang Yue, Lu Chunsheng, Song Dong, Li Yongbin, Lin Yilin, to participate in the exhibition. Also, the Long March Project curated by Lu Jie and Qui Zhijie were also invited to participate. The Long March exhibition displayed paintings, sculptures, installation, video works, and archival material.
Huang Yongping*s piece ※Golden Roof§ was constructed in the middle of the highest point atop the museum. A traditional Chinese pavilion structure was covered with gold plating reflecting golden eye-piercing rays under a European sun. ※A golden roof has not top,§ explained Huang. Aside from a pillar, the golden roof did not have any additional coverings, and ※Golden Roof§ just happened to be right across the street from the largest park in Lyon, the ※Golden Roof Park.§
At the entrance of the museum was the Chinese artist from Germany, Yang Jiechang*s piece. Yang constructed a small stage in front of a giant piece of fabric with a skull embroidered onto it. During the opening ceremonies, Yang invited Guangdong singers to sing songs in Cantonese, one of which was Guangdong artist Zheng Guogu*s father.
In the middle of the exhibition hall were placed a few rickshaws that artist Shen Yuan shipped from Taijiang, Fujian province. Shen Yuan*s real work placed several real rickshaws in an important plaza in the city of Lyon. Lyon residents or travelers could ride the rickshaws themselves around the plaza, or even to carry passengers, but there were not allowed to go out of the plaza and ride on the streets because these Chinese rickshaws neither had license plates nor were they under the jurisdiction of the Lyon city government.
At the other entrance of the exhibition hall was Gu Dexin*s large image of squeezed meat, suspended in the dead center of the doorway. His multimedia installation was displayed on the other side of the building in a room that was completely painted red. The room was filled with apples and viewers who smelled the enticing aroma could sample the apples while enjoying the view of the left over blood on kitchen utensils and the fresh pig brains stored in the freezer. On the display case in the corner, was a group of sexually implicit pink rubber statues.
The editing and the acoustics of Wang Gongxin*s ※Courtyard§ video installation created a very authentic feel.
Sui Jianguo*s piece ※Right Hand§ was displayed at the exhibition hall entrance. Near the corner of the space was Yang Zhenzhong*s video piece ※Bath,§ which showed a fully clothed man continually washing himself in the shower.
Zhuang Hui and his assistant converted the 200 square meter space into a Chinese automotive factory from the 70*s. A dim light was shown on something made of bubbles that resembled a giant machine. This time he used real metal fencing, also shipped from China, to keep the audience at a certain distance.
Shanghai artist Xun Zhen*s piece transported a Chinese bus from Shanghai. The bus compartment was thoroughly sealed and then filled with water. Every type of clothing and garbage was placed inside the bus to be churned and stirred together. However, because his two high wattage motors required 380 watt converters that the museum was unable to provide, in the end Xu Zhen was a very depressed with the final result. It was good that his sound installation, after consultation with the museum staff and his neighbors, was quickly installed. People could eat Italian spaghetti on the tables outside and enjoy the sound of earth shattering screams suddenly coming from upstairs.
Yang Zhengzhong*s other work was also a large scale piece that used 8 video projectors to broadcast images on all 360 degrees of a large round room. Without pause, a group of people would repeatedly rush towards you, then retreat. According to Yang, he had to develop an ※8 lens§ photography method for the piece.
Xie Nanxing*s painting when relaxing was very calm and ordinary, completely changing the appearance of the bitterness of youth.

Regarding the presentation of the Long March exhibit:

For large scale exhibitions, The ※Long March 每 A Walking Visual Display§ continued to the use the method of ※exhibition within an exhibition.§ Using the events of the contemporary Chinese art community, it expounds upon Chinese historical events as well as their corresponding situation in contemporary Chinese art to display a portion of the individual and the work*s meaning. Of the three storied building used for the ※Virtue and Vice§ exhibition, the Long March occupied the entire third floor of the museum, with approximately 600 square meters of space. Every time there is an exhibition about the Long March it is a new starting point, it is another curatorial procedure. Sometimes the exhibition might only include one or two works; sometimes it might be a special selection of works; sometimes it continues to develop, creating new works for a specified location; sometimes the exhibition is simply a documentary film and some archival documents. The Long March participation in this exhibition in Lyon with nearly 600 square meters is the largest scale exhibition of the Long March to date. The co-organizers, curators, and the Long March team all agreed that the strategy was to use movement to display the collective circumstances of the Long March that took the process of the activity as its basis. The tactic used individual works and important events, original works, the remains of each exhibition, historical records, documents, and sound recordings from each site and each route to stress and emphasize the Long March context, as well as the problems raised and created by the Long March.

Because the complexity and variegated, open and moving nature of the Long March, and its real but liminal reappearance, the process of the Long March was really to use the thoughts, display method and curatorial concepts of the Long March to bring into clarity the tensions between artist and their work, creation and exhibition, individual and collective, and present and history.
Of special interest was that several artists on display at the ※le moine et le demon§ exhibition also had their works on display in the Long March exhibition at the same time, only with a different display style. One can say that the Long March collectively displayed the power of the individual, or one can say that it was the power of the individual that displayed the power of the collective. Visually, the exhibition wanted to include the multitudinous Long March articles and ※Long March§ storehouse, calling it the Long March station. At the same time, it also provided a focus and thread for each work.
The walls: The close to 5000 square meters of wall space was completely plastered with over 5000 images from the Long March route. The organization of the pictures each had a set explanation and order, but it also achieved the effect of a disordered storehouse. A feeling of overwhelming mass of information pervaded the entire space.
The Path: Entering the exhibition hall such things as display cases, original works, Long March materials, and video screen monitors were all used to create a pathway, forming a material and mental projection of the Long March route from site one to site thirteen.
Site: Each site laid emphasis on the works of several artists, with a focused display.
Entering the Long March space the first thing one sees is Qu Guangci*s work, ※Who is the Third Party?§ Qu Guangci hired a migrant worker to carry a soft statue that was to represent of him. In addition, he also allowed the worker to take on his identity and name. This was a work realized throughout the course of the Long March.
To the left side of the center of the room was Li Fang*s straw mat work ※The Memory of Memory.§ Over 70 meters long, slogans and short phrases of all sorts were written on the straw mats and which were tied together with red ribbon. This work was done on site by Li Fang at the Jinggangshan site.

On the left side of Li Fang*s work was Sui Jianguo*s sculpture works, ※Marx in China§ and ※Jesus in China.§ On the wall to the left of these works were pasted several images of the sculptures floating down a river in Jinggangshan that attracted the attention of several viewers.

※The Best Strategy is to be on the Move,§ a video work Hu Jieming made especially for the Long March, was installed close to Sui Jianguo*s work near the entrance of the room. The work used utilized real everyday life, historical plays, and animation as its basic elements. The video was strung together by a nonlinear montage editing, taking apart and reconstructing the success and failure and the outcomes of history.
To the left of Sui Jianguo*s work was Zhou Xiaohu*s ※Utopian Machine.§ This group of works is comprised of three parts. One part, a cinnabar helicopter, was suspended from the ceiling, and had a rope rescue ladder connected to it that came down from the ceiling. Just below it, on top of a crude shipping crate, was placed a group of Zhou Xiaohu*s ceramic sculptures. A little ways to the back a television showed a video animation he created using these statues.
Directly to the back of Zhou Xiaohu*s piece, a television screen broadcasts Yang Fudong, Xu Zhen*s army portraits. These video works were displayed on the route of the Long March to interact with the general public.
Towards the back and left of the exhibition hall are Xiao Xiong*s two works. ※Long March Remains§ was a collection of all sorts of sickles and hammers collected by the artist along the route of the Long March. These rust spotted iron tools strikingly carried the imprints of individual labor as well as a collective ideal and aspiration. Xiao Xiong*s other Long March, ※Enter and Exit,§ was an exchange work that started in Yan*an and made its way down to Ruijin. The final result of his exchanges was a thermometer that accurately and precisely displays the temperature and humidity at the location.
The works of Wang Gongxin, Wu Ershan, Yang Zhenzhong, Chen Xiaoyun and others represented the sound installation ※exhibition within an exhibition§ held at Kunming, site 4. It still retained a powerful acoustic and visual effect that attracted audiences.
Diagonally from the four display stages in the exhibition hall towards the right, shipping crates were used to construct a temporary stage on which to display a series of Long March articles, and textual documents including the very first outline of curator Lu Jie*s original Long March plan made while he was studying at the University of London and the original copy of the fifth curatorial outline in 2002. Recently, several Chinese artists have become interested in the passionate love letters written by curator Qui Zhijie while on the road of the Long March. Also included was the Apple G4 laptop used by the Long March team of Lu Jie, Qiu Zhijie, Philip Tinari, and Lisa Horikawa while on the road, and other historical texts and objects.

The Long March work that American feminist artist Judy Chicago made for Lugu Lake, site six of the Long March entitled, ※What if Women Ruled the World,§ was hung from the rafters, creating a religious effect of something that could be seen, but as of yet, is not yet attainable.
Wang Jianwei*s work, ※Middle Ground,§ is a recording of the events that took place along the entire path the artist took from Anshunchang to Luding Bridge. Along the route, the artist continually encountered local people who performed imitations of the best of contemporary Chinese performance art.
A group of works and objects that used plexiglass to be beautified attracted the excitement of the French audience. One was the final results of a performance piece by Yunnan artists Sun Guojuan and Lei Yan that involved the planting of marijuana 每 marijuana leaves and seeds. Another was the remains of Fu Liya*s work ※Water Asking.§
Shi Qing*s ※The Great Flood§ attempted to use the religious ritual and solemnity to dispel and satirize the historic tragedy of the age of hyper-production. However, perhaps because the context of his intentions and meaning behind his work were complicated, the European audience found it unintelligible.
Qin Ga*s work was a seven meter long scroll of ※The Miniature Long March§ that recorded the process of having the Long March route tattooed onto his back, and also included a short video documentary about the procedure. Instead of traveling with the team, he remained in Beijing and used a tattoo on his body to record the progress of the Long March team.
Jiang Jie*s adoption plan, ※Farewell to the Red Army,§ created small fiberglass statues of infants. Along the route of the Long March, the babies/sculptures were put up for adoption. Every year, the adopters would send a family portrait of the entire family with the ※child§ to the artist to record the changes that took place in the family.
A copy of Zhang Wang*s work, ※New Plan for Filling the Sky,§ was displayed on a newly open shipping crate. The original was already donated to the Xichang Long March Satellite Launcher Station ※Zhan Wang Room§ along to route of the Long March, and awaits its launch into space.
Wang Jingsong*s sound installation piece, ※Slogans of the New Long March,§ was broadcast over several Sony speakers in France, creating a contrast from the equipment used to broadcast and the landscape of the Long March.

Shanghai artist Shi Yong*s piece was to visit all of the ※Long March§ related buildings, streets, and business in Shanghai, the origin of the Communist Party, using a silently shot film that captures the landscape and real events using a difference in speed and time to allow viewers to experience history.
Xi*an artist Yue Luping*s installation, ※Separate Paths,§ used the method of combining three images (a Mongolian yurt, the Tatilin Tower, and a Hun Cave Dwelling) to try and use ideas of nationalism and idealism to discover a common path for humanity.
The crux of the exhibition room was the right side. Displayed were the primary works from site thirteen of the Long March. The five paintings by Sha*anxi artist Guo Fengyi brought a type of indeterminate Shamanistic aesthetic. Yan*an Claymaster Wang Wenhai*s large scale sculptures of Mao Zedong brought even more simplicity, and sublime feeling.
Beijing artist Wang Mai*s wooden pagoda is hung to the front and right of Wang Wenhai*s Mao statues. This is a work that he created for the Long March.
One corner of the exhibition hall was designated the Long March workstation. The walls were posted with Long March texts, hand written notes, artist proposals, outlines and facsimiles. Also provided was a computer connected to the Long March site that allowed the viewers to follow in the footsteps of the Long Marchers.
The collective paintings of ※Little Swallow§ made by the people of Zunyi, and the Pollack paintings made by the people of Maotai, as well as over thirty shipping crates, all the slogans and posters used by the Long March on the road, banners, every type of exhibition labels, all became exhibition pieces, creating an ordered disorder. Under the dim lights of the exhibition room, the works and materials together presented not an enumeration, an explanation, or a clarification of the Long March, rather, it used visual materials to construct the imagined space in the mind of the curators.





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