Test Field (solo exhibition)
2 November – 1 December 2013
La Bande Video Gallery, Quebec, Canada
Paintings, installations and animation created during the period of 2010 – 2013
Sponsors and organizer：La Bande Video
‘Test Field’ used to frequently appear on Chinese newspapers or TV broadcasting when I was a child. This phrase has always been on the waiting list for my next show title since I started as an artist and it always come to my mind swiftly whenever I am think about a new show. After I noticed this interesting obsession, I decided to use this popular phrase as the title of my exhibition this time. I have since been trying to find out the reason of my obsession with the word. However little, I did recover something so far.
When people of my age studied in elementary school, we needed only to take a five minutes’ walk from home to make life drawings of villages and fields – life drawing of country life is a common assignment from art teacher. Nowadays you need to drive for an hour at least to be able to see some scattered villages and farmlands. When the fields were close to our homes, I used to find so many different kinds of birds, but now in most cases I see sparrows and crows. They fly across buildings and electric wires, making homes inside the holes previously had the tubes of air conditioners in, playing on the potted plants on people’s balconies and hunting for food inside huge rubbish bins. I like watching their activities. They are our urban neighbours and companions.
After finishing Outside World Series (2010-2012) – an abstract drawing project employed ‘stream of consciousness’ strategy, I started to deconstruct the body form of raven and sparrow and reconstruct them with geometric shapes, resulting alien birds and the realization of Bird Series. Birds come to my mind not just as still images but also moving pictures, therefore I later created The Sparrow and The Raven both as live performance and short animation. During this period, I imagine and create alien birds of all shapes and sizes during the day. When the day finishes and the night falls, I walk on concrete roads which used to be rise fields once upon a time. Sometimes my day/night routine is the opposite, but what’s never changed are the construction sites by the side of the road, which are full of cranes, trucks, scaffolds and unbelievably swift changes.
Chai Mi, September 2013, from home, Beijing.