The Grand Voyage is the second work of a series of parallel online projects under the theme of Folklore of the Cyber World organized by Chronus Art Center, the new media art partner institution of the Chinese Pavilion, la Biennale di Venezia 2015. Folklore of the Cyber World extends the Other Futureenvisioned by the Chinese Pavilion to cyberspace, revealing the vigor and brio of the younger generation of Chinese artists in their critical engagement with the pervasive media society and creative use of new technologies.
Artists GUO Xi and ZHANG Jianling usher us to a cyber trajectory of the epic journey that the two have undertaken in Grand Voyage, sailing on lands and oceans across the globe, reenacting fanciful parables in thousands of words, pictures, things and objects of the trivial and insignificant that aggregate into thick residues of sentiments and memory downloaded and parceled.
Journal from the Grand Voyage
2015 | Guo Xi & Zhang Jianling | Text and Image
When Theo Angelopoulos was discussing a new script with Tonino Guerra, a present arrived from Giacomo Manzu?’s daughter: a sculpture of Ulysses’s head. Angelopoulos read from the letter that her father’s “last wish was to find a way of sculpting Ulysses’ gaze because he believed this gaze contained the whole human experience.” Isn’t it the same gaze from the wanderer in the fog who merged into the panorama of horizons and the shimmering of existential experience? From March to May 2015, tracing the sensory experience and mysterious disappearance of Bas Jan Ader and Arthur Cravan, the world cruise of The Grand Voyage has been a search for vanished gazes and solitary figures that once reached out to tangible infinity then disappeared in the ocean.
In the past 86 days cross-ocean journey, the artists bore witness to twelve prophecies and sent back to “continents of the Known” the evidence as visuality of testimonies. The twelve prophecies witnessed not only reflect potential routes to the theme but also serve as an index leading to infinite texts and endless interpretations. In Journal from the Grand Voyage shown at the Chronus Art Center, the artists start to tell stories of one thousand characters who are likened to a vine twining around prophecies accompanying them to witness the miraculous. In a series of future exhibitions, the project will unpack one thousand parcels and corresponding owners dwelling within. In the constellation of image-evidence-text, their memories will be brought to light.
The Grand Voyage is supported by Imagokinetics, a non-profit art institute in Hangzhou.
About the Artists
Guo Xi was born in Yan Cheng, Jiangsu Province in 1988. After graduation from Department of New Media Art of China Academy of Art in 2010, he joined a two-year program at the Rijksakademie in Netherlands as artist-in-residence. In 2015, he graduated from New York University with MA degree in Studio Art at.
What Xi is mainly concerned with is the ideologies with which people perceive and interpret their world-specifically, the toughest-to-crack nutshell grown out of the convergence of these ideologies. By means of a dramatized sense of humor, Xi attempts to soften, or even break open this nutshell a bit, such that a trace of absurdity and uneasiness can be introduced into his audience’ s daily life. He likens an artist’ s work to an act of “piercing”, making little pores on the hard husk of ideologies, through which people will be given a chance to glance at the Truth hidden within. In his view, the visual form is but a medium for the transmission of message, and that justifies his extensive use of a variety of artistic forms, such as installation, painting, performance, sculpture, text, et cetera, to try to convey his messages as faithfully as possible.
Born in 1986, Zhang Jianling graduated from Wuhan University in 2008 and then studied in institute of Contemporary Art and Social Thoughts of School of Inter-media Art, China Academy of Art. After graduation with MA degree in 2013, she now lives in Shanghai. Previous art programs she participated in include: Tales from the Taiping Era, co- curator, Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing (2014); One Meter Theater, executive curator, Imagokinetics, Hangzhou (2013); Limited Knowledge, executive curator, City University of Hong Kong, HK (2013); Greenbox: Remapping – the Space of Media Reality, co-curator, Media City Research Center, Hangzhou (2013); The Surprise of Existence - A Moment of Youth Image, executive curator, Lianzhou Foto (2012); Limited Knowledge, executive curator, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou (2012).
GUO XI & ZHANG Jianling: The Grand Voyage