Dislocated - Iam not in the city Meng Zhigang Solo Exhibition

Opening time:3pm, August 17, 2013
Duration: 2013.08.18 -- 2013.08.28
Location: 4th floor exhibition hall of Building No.1, Today Art Museum

Exhibition Preface

It is not easy to describe Meng Zhigang in a single word. He is a visual artist. He sings, plays percussions and he practices martial arts. He tries his very best for all above with his commitment and dedication in order to achieve a satisfactory outcome. So all through the different stages of his life, he has casted various acts: a painter, a percussionist and martial arts practitioner. This young artist with a star sign of Virgo rarely compromises and he is realizing his dream. I believe that a person is not judged by his location but by his direction. The life goal of Meng Zhigang is to live out a life with a goal and direction.

Shi Tao, an artist of the traditional Chinese fine arts, raises a fundamental question in his ‘Quotations from a Bitter Melon Monk Painter’ that how is the Buddhist Dharma established upon? And the answer is that it is originated and established upon One Stroke. The One Stroke here means the essence of all beings and the root of all phenomena. It emphasizes that the artist should start off from his very mind and heart and establishes himself from his very Ego. All Meng Zhigang’s artistic concepts and happenings are the natural outflows of his mind and heart. At every artist stage he has gone through so far, his artworks have followed a consistent and logical system of creative interpretations. The Spirit of Literati has penetrated such a system from the very beginning. The key word are sticking to the faith and cherishing the love for the motherland.  In a country with an individual hijacked by numerous forces, to struggle for one’s freedom is a spirit that is worth hand-clapping and praising in its own right.  

The exhibition ‘Dislocation - I am not in the city’ is just a symbol of such a spirit. Meng Zhigang says that such a spirit is the wisdom of the traditional literati and the insight of dealing with the reality - adhering to the academic progress and keeping a distance to the mainstream world views. The mainstream world views here may imply the State Ideology under a Nation’s Will.  However, he calmly keeps an arm’s length to all current social phenomena: he restores a setting of Time by creating architectures on his canvas and he presents a sense of History on a two-dimension scope. This is the energy and life force that Meng Zhigang conveys and transmits.  Compared to the current so-called ‘positive energy and negative energy’ idea, Meng Zhigang’s paintings embody a thrill of Cool Energy that lasts longer. Standing before his artworks, an audience can observe and catch sight of the artist’s serious thoughts and his vigilant belief through those very details of the architectures.  

As a matter of fact, History is composed of two parts for us: one is experience and the other story.  With experience we gain insight; with story, we obtain our historical world view. The Post-70’s generation does not have rich experiences, but they have to have a correct world view. Meng Zhigang develops such a correct world view by reading books, doing creative artworks and constantly thinking over History. Meng Zhigang’s history has gone through a new change for every ten year’s span. Actually our generation’s upbring has come along with split-ups of different value system: during our childhood we were taught to protect our eye sight for the Revolution... and when we grow up, our revolutionary zeal has weaken; the market competition has become our national norm and fact. As soon as we enter the work force, we witness even more infinite changes in our society. However, in the last thirty years of drastic changes, he has learned how to test the limit and boundary and how to fix up the mistakes and therefore, he has found an attitude of rationality and composure for life, which is in search for rich sentiments and yet beyond this mortal coil.  Such an attitude is sung in his melody and painted on his canvas; that is, ‘Dislocation.’

When the famous modern scholar Qian Zhongshu passed away, the writer, Bing Xing remarked that in modern China we have never been lacked of intellectuals, what we need are the literati - the spirit of literati. What on earth is the spirit of literati? Self-discipline and social commitment is his personality; Care for the young and old like our own is his generosity and a sense of historical crisis is his practice. In a word, his spirit is the benevolence and love.

Meng Zhigang is a man who can hold up to his true belief. Freud mentions once that a person’s sub-consciousness plays an enormous role in his artistic creativities and it is not controlled by his conscious mind and personal will and techniques. In this sense, Freud and Shi Tao coincide with each other in terms of artistic creativities. It is such a spirit in Meng Zhigang’s sub-consciousness that makes his art works so unique and so eclectic. It is such a spirit that the viewers can take up the close look and his art works can stand up to the test of Time.


Zhu Xiaojun


Meng Zhigang