In the film The Matrix(1999), the human survivors on earth are depicted as residing in a cave called Zion, and forced to fight the suppressive forces of Artificial Intelligence. This story tells neither of the past nor the future, and instead is more like a folding overlap of causality, through which clues to the past and present are revealed. Pan Jian and Gao Weigang, the two artists presented here, sensitively capture this, using their own ways of working to conceal imagined pockets of time, as if trapped within amber, seen as another “Zion” of their own creating. (Zion, the righteous place inthe Bible, has the same Chinese transliteration as “Xi’an”.)
In this project, the many details within Pan Jian’s painting suggest the trajectory and sequence of actions, as if seeing capillaries that reveal and imply the existence of a larger subject, or the slices of life (time) produced by a CT scan. So the emotion of the painting is concealed behind a chaotic surface, constrained by a deeper order, which betrays the original vision, serving only as a background to it.
Gao Weigang’s underground world is represented by the debris of a scorched earth. People witness the crushing of the clay-soil underfoot as they walk over it. The fractured earth becomes compressed into a process of dying. The cracks that appear are like the palpitation of EEG waves. When people leave the scene, the dust from the soles of their shoes is carried back into the sunshine, just as if the world is forging a new realm trapped in amber.
About the Artists
Pan Jian (b.1975) graduated from Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts in 2001. He lives and works in Beijing and Xi’an.
Gao Weigang (b.1976) He lives and works in Beijing.
About the Curator
Yang Xi, independent curator, writer and art history researcher. He graduated from the Art History Department of Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts with a MA in 2015. Now he is continually working on a PhD in visual culture and art criticism in Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts. He lives and works in Xi’an.