The MAYFLY，name of the larva of the mosquito, is a mosquito in its making, a mosquito that has not yet taken shape. It’s in the process of survival, maybe even in a struggle for life, without anyone becoming aware of it. But it is very possible that after reaching its final form, the MAYFLY will come to affect the environment around it.
This exhibition takes the name of MAYFLY in an attempt to release the energy of a new kind of undefined group that is emerging. This is a group in the process of maturing, which moves about from place to place, without having yet been given a definition by the “mature” society. In this agriculturally based, rapidly developing world, new spaces are squeezed out and begin to expand. In these spaces, these groups appear bearing the faces of life, without being in arms about the so-called “modern identity” of the individual. They need not recognize that within this group, the value of the individual has been consummated.
In this exhibition, we show the works of three artists that touch separately upon three different types of state in these new spaces.
In the year 2000, Zhang Dali started to pay close attention to the peasant-workers (a blended body of workers and peasants, or peasants that become workers) which are the new fundamental force behind the construction of the continuously, rapidly developing Chinese society. This new force struggles and fights for survival. At times, life as such is the only thing that these people cling onto… But the large-scale social construction that they take part in is indeed the direct link to development, high technology, modernity, information, and globalization. These purposes of social construction have already permeated into the soil and have mingled with a kind of simplicity, sloppiness, provincialism, and incompetence (looking at it from the so-called modernist angle). Globalization causes these forces to reappear. From a state of intentional neglect and marginalization they emerge upon the present scene of social development, taking on new forms. Zhang Dali’s piece ‘New People’ focuses its attention on the head, which can reveal either a state of life, or of death. He uses crude and dimensional methods to express a type of weakness that becomes difficult to ignore. The expressions that Zhang Dali uses in his works are always those revealed in the space of a split second; they are static, but not so eternally.
In contrast, Xiao Yu explores the changes in structure of this rapidly changing society. In the trend of rapid bureaucratization and vocationalism, he looks for the relationships formed between individuals and small collectives, bringing in new concepts and meanings to the concept of the modern “person”. In the works “Untitled Series”, he takes different parts of different faces that belong to workers from small social work units, and pieces together new faces… the face of a vocational nurse. Individuals and small collectives are in a process where they constantly mould each other, and this molded “reality” becomes the most superficial thing; it is monstrous, savage, transient, indefinable, and it can gush away at any time. “Reality” becomes in turn the one thing that cannot be clutched, and we find that the nature of individuals that rely upon this “reality” is transformed here into a question mark, a question mark over continued movement.
If we understand by this that Zhang Dali and Xiao Yu are artists working in a wide social sphere, then Ma Liuming has dealt, throughout his body of work, with self-infatuation. From his self performances in the mid 90’s to his regression to the self in the late 90’s, it has been a process that has gone from reflective thought towards the body. In the piece ‘Any Day’, Ma Liuming points the camera lens upon himself, and goes on to record his sleeping state. This is the downbeat side of the “ego”, it is the stopping of it, and here we find it amended and evoked from anew. It is the “self” that becomes in turn the object of the ego, and thus we find ourselves needing a new definition of this ego.
In a backward, rapidly growing region, the “persons” belonging to the historicized place come into view once more. The problems and the capacity they bring blur again the concept of “person” in a world about persons that has received a profound influence of Western “enlightenment”. This exhibition wishes, in its common sense, to bring forth a new field of vision on the already determined concept of the modern world “person” using as concept the state of the MAYFLY.