由于在北京工作原因，回到北京。经过 21天的居家隔离，慢慢开始北京的正常生活与工作。然而北京的疫情突然在 6月 11日到 6月 26日仅仅15天内新增297名确诊新冠病例，导致北京从三级响应变为二级防控，不允许聚众，周边工厂也都被迫关闭，原本计划于6月18日实施的项目被迫停滞。待疫情归零后，将再次启动该项目。
The works of My 80 Days should only be displayed in the form of online materials until the epidemic is over.
Because of my work, I returned to Beijing. After 21 days of home quarantine, I began my normal life in the capital. However, 297 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in Beijing in just 15 days from June 11 to June 26, causing Beijing to move from a level-3 response to a level-2 prevention and control. Crowds were not allowed, surrounding factories were forced to close, and the project originally scheduled for June 18 were halted. The project will be launched again after the outbreak returns to zero.
Time: 18th, June, 2020, 80 minutes
Venue: Beijing, China
Materials: mud sculpture
The Process: The artist was self-isolating in her hometown in the Hubei Province for 80 days; from January 16, 2019, until April 5, 2020. During this period she suffered from mood swings and depression and she sought relief by molding mud. The performance lasted for 80 minutes.
The new coronavirus epidemic from the perspective of self-examination and personal changes in the face of a disaster
During this sudden virus outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, I was self-isolated in my hometown. Every day there was not much activity and I had to live in a very limited amount of space. I felt extremely uneasy, anxious, angry, frightened, doubtful, hopeless, helpless, lonely, and compassionate. Sometimes I was comforted, accepted, or helped; I felt sad and even cried sometimes, and all this happened every single day.
I shaped 80 pieces of mud, like in a full-contact match, one for each of the 80 days of isolation.
By Cao Jiashuo
Wang Hua’s work is entitled 80 Days of My Life. After the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the artist – just like hundreds of millions of people all over the world – was forced to live in isolation. In such a condition of imposed loneliness, Wang had time to examine her peculiar situation and how the spreading of the virus was changing her life. In response to her emotional changes and mood shifts, the artist modeled 80 pieces of natural clay that were shaped through the use of her body. The different shapes that we see realized are direct embodied expressions of an upheaval of different emotions: anxiety, anger, fear, doubt, despair, helplessness, loneliness, depression, compassion, and so. Albert Camus once said that no artist could live without reality. Though able to question reality, art cannot fully escape the everyday.
“Constant changes in our lived experiences have resulted into a flow of emotions in continuous evolution”
Wang’s work in this exhibition follows a trajectory of emotional pieces that the artist began in her previous oeuvre. In The Birth of Kalinka, a prominent examples of the series, the artist was invited to create a site-specific work that was in an attic, originally built by one of her friends. She chose as artistic material some quilts that her friend had been using for decades. Quilts are usually used for keeping one’s body warm. They are practical objects of daily life, but also a nexus of social relationships. They are social insofar as they keep traces of those who have used them: Smells and particles are left on the quilts, as layers of histories adding to one another. In this piece, the artist repeatedly dressed and undressed under those quilts, becoming part of that history, thus creating that social aspect that these objects possess. By breathing and moving, her body shaped from within the meaning of the artwork.
In 80 Days of My Life, Wang uses this idea of the body as an expressive vessel. Here, the artist reveals her concern about how, in response to contextual shifts, one’s embodied self-perception can change in enriching ways. This is something that we all have experienced during the pandemic: Constant changes in our lived experiences have resulted into a flow of emotions in continuous evolution.
“In refusing any Cartesian dualism, Wang does not see any essential distinction between body and soul, flesh and mind”
In opting for natural clay as artistic medium, Wang imbues her work with a distinct abstract quality, far from the obviousness of representation. Abstraction in some sense is capable of presenting the essence of human nature and its inexpressible feelings animating our inner lives. The artist once said about The Birth of Kalinka that the body is also a direct and effective way to materially express human nature. As a carrier, the body is the locus where inner feelings emerge.
However, in 80 Days of My Life, from a carrier of feelings, the human body turns into a “thing” imprisoned by civilization – it becomes devoid of its own spirit. In refusing any Cartesian dualism, Wang does not see any essential distinction between body and soul, flesh and mind. The awakening of the body is what makes civilization possible, but in doing this it is also what imprisons us through social norms and constrictions.
Wang Hua was born in Jingzhou, Hubei Province in 1982. In 2005, she obtained a BA degree in Chinese Painting from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts. She currently works and lives in Beijing. Her artistic practice covers multiple medias, ranging from performances, videos, paintings and installations to ready-made products. Her work focuses on combining theoretical concepts, private narratives and personal backgrounds, which are aesthetically expressed in her unique artistic approach. Wang Hua’s work mainly emphasizes the relationship between the psychological process of creation and the form of visual communication. She mostly explores the sense of déjà vu and the unknown when the subconscious is subverted into the reality through combination of the temporality and space. Therefore, Wang Hua’s creation usually starts with a private narrative but ends with widespread public resonance.
As an artist, Wang Hua pays attention to how an individual can create a more thorough and independent personality through updating one’s capacity of self-perception in the social environment. An artist shall not repeat mechanical work every day, but constantly observe and discover the surroundings, and finally connect to the public with problems she/he provokes, and try to open up new possibilities for the public’s experience through boosting their confidence and courage to pursue diversity in life.
Wang Hua sees the body as the most direct and most effective form of artist expression. As a carrier, the body can present thinking through sublimated feelings. Her work not only focuses on self-liberation and self-redemption, but also attempts to explore the complex dialectic relationship among the public, their instant reactions, and the fantasy and the reality. As Merleau-Ponty said: “The body and the subject are actually the same reality.” With her performances, Wang Hua rebels against the dualism of mind and body, as claimed by Descartes, and restores the dignity of artists and even human beings as embodied creatures that can think.