mì | Me (solo exhibition)
28 October – 31 December 2013
Qing Gongguan, Beijing, China
Outside World, series of paintings 、 Bird, series of paintings
Sponsors and organizers：
China Youthology，Youthology Lab Fund
The top part of the character stands for ‘claw’, the lower part stands for ‘see’. Therefore, 觅(mì) literally means to search for something with eye and hand.
Explanations of the character: seek; look for; hunt for
Pronunciation: the same with ‘me’.
Pinyin: the official phonetic system for transcribing the Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet in China.
Exhibition Preface：Unspeakable State
One day, when I was six years old, I was playing in the yard and a neighboring woman came by to chat. When she heard my name, she frowned.
“Your name is not very a good one,” she said. “Chai Mi… ‘Mi’ means ‘seeking’, it symbolizes that your whole life, you will always be looking for something, but never find it.”
I was shocked and didn’t know what to say.
In my twenties, I gradually learned the narrowness of speech. So much of life seems to be “I can’t exactly say,” “I don’t want to talk about it,” or “I can’t put it into words.” So I often keep quiet and smile to hide my confusion. I am ashamed of my poor writing skills, I write very slowly and cannot post online. In my mind there is a backlog of thoughts and emotions, like old boxes stacked and crowded in disarray that cannot be cleared for a very long time. Moving them back and forth, finally I found some ways to unpack them.
‘Do something,’ as I have so- called it, is another instance where speech fails me, capturing a cluster of activities that don’t fit so tidily into words, including painting, crafts, animation, and undefined experimentation. Drawing is always the most efficient way; with just a pen and paper you may begin. But I cannot always express all my imagination through the paper, especially those living images dynamic in my thoughts. So I found animation – a creative process wholly satisfying. Of course it’s also tainted by means of multi-field vision and repetitive work. The process of animation is a kind of self-cultivation, requiring numerous small injections of creativity, subdivided into a myriad- step process delineating precise actions, and somehow through that rigor, releasing something incredibly big.
Still, animation needs sophisticated planning, which can limit the spontaneity of the results, and sometimes makes me feel blind and numb. I felt I needed a flexible and controllable way to reorganize the scattered and fragmentary images, so I began creating improvisational animation in live performance.
Looking back on the past few years, what strikes me is all the bad habits and undisciplined chaos that shapes these thoughts of mine. Still, through introspection I have found another way to understand ‘seeking,’ the meaning of ‘Mi,’ the meaning of me.
‘Seeking’ I consider as a kind of state rather than implying a specific result. Results are easy to reach, but the state is difficult to maintain. Compared with targeting a result, I am willing to choose a state. Searching. Struggling. Persevering. These words explain the state of exploring an uncertain world and self. ‘Seeking’ was given to me by coincidence, and I’m willing to keep it. The result of my seeking is visible to you, the viewer, but I can hardly describe the origin of this result, because it is something that I can’t exactly say… something I can’t put it into words.