• Date
      2015.11.21 - 2016.02.28
    • Artist
      Gong Xu
    • Curator
      Fu Xiaodong
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Zodiac Explosion

In Gong Xu’s works, the intertextuality of time is reflected in an interweaving of graphic images derived from sources as wide as primitive totems to Japanese anime. Creating a reality using invented creatures inspired by those characteristic of folk superstition and historical legends, with the twelve zodiac animals depicted in the work produced for “Zodiac Explosion” titled Bursting Twelve Animals of Chinese Zodiac, Gong Xu creates a world of counter-mythology and of fantasised prophecy. The work points to the crisis of identity and morality that is ubiquitous in society today.
Seldom talked about amongst the cultural elite, the twelve zodiac animals were better documented in Japan. The various value, function and symbolic meaning, etc. of each of these twelve animals through the entire progress of human culture is described in the book Junishiko (A Study of Twelve Animals of the Chinese Zodiac), 1914, by Japanese (maverick) naturalist Minakata Kumagusu (1867-1941). (A renowned naturalist, science writer and scholar, Minakata’s magnus opus, Junishiko displayed “his huge erudition almost like a pedantic acrobat to compare the folklores in the world on such animals as the Zodiac’s tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake and horse. However, the purpose of these essays for the New Year’s celebration volume of Taiyo magazine was more for entertainment than academic research.”) But as twelve of the most primitive symbols within Oriental culture, the Chinese zodiac animals do not have a clear origin in historical documents. Still, the twelve Chinese zodiac animals have played an important role in folk culture since ancient times, and remain entirely familiar in everyday life today. Elaborating the twelve animals in a “future mythology”, with the series Bursting Twelve Animals of Chinese Zodiac, Gong Xu draws upon wide-ranging sources to resurrect these potent cultural symbols. Adapted from different stories and interpretations of the twelve animals in both Oriental and Western cultures, transformed into a new form of popular cultural symbol, the narrative in the work can be read as a fascinating “oracle” for these times.


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