[following will be a number of posts about having Zhong Biao and his wife Tiantian at the house over holiday season.]
What’s Zhong up to?
As I’ve noted elsewhere, Zhong Biao is a thoughtful painter, to put it mildly. Engaging him on just about any topic leads to summary comments that are pithy, “definitive.” Like a philosopher, he seems determined to nail down the shortest but still generally true observation, one not bogged down by, for instance, particulars of political policy or even historical events. His notions of “xing” 形 and “tai” 态 (underlying force of the universe and its occasional and ever adjusting manifestation in the phenomenal world–in reverse order that is) are a good case in point.
So what’s an excessively philosophical visual artist to do with all these ideas? Obviously, define them. Thus, coming shortly will be the Zhong Biao Dictionary in which, in just under 200 pages, he’s going to finally put all of this in print. I’m inclined to wonder whether or not the project stems in part from attending so many openings of his works and being faced with so many on-the-spot questions that run gamut from cogent to utterly confused. From now on when engaged by viewers of all sorts about new works hanging on a wall he can conveniently reply: “page 23.” Or, and just starting at the beginning: “A is for…”
爱的誓言【.i de sh. y.n】
The Vow of Love
The Vow of Love borrows against future emotion
for present desire. It gives power,
but can never be anticipated.
Of course, each of these definitions will be accompanied by an image. In fact, Zhong is rather adamant that this is a work of art, and not a “dictionary.” The above definition, for instance, is paired with the perhaps still less definitive image (in regrettably poor reproduction):
Regardless, the Dictionary is slated for publication in early 2012. I will say more about it in coming posts.