Artist: Chen XiaodanLi JiLi ShudanLuo DanLuo YongjinMeng HuangWu YuntieSylvie DenetZhang HuaZhang JinhuiZhu Cunwei
    Duration: 2024.3.56 - 5.18 / 10:00-18:00 Daily Open
    Venue: OFOTO&ANART, 2F, Bldg.13, 50 Moganshan Rd., Shanghai, China


    "We are plants - whether we like to admit it or not, we must have roots that originate from the earth in order to bloom and bear fruit in the sky."

    Martin Heidegger

    A TREE

    by Chen Haiyan

    A tree was transplanted on the terrace of my apartment, wrist thick and graceful . Every spring, the small tree blooms first and then shoots leaves. The flowers are beautiful purple magnolias. My father said that it's not good to plant trees in a flowerpot. Should be on the ground. I did not believe it and took good care of it for over a decade. One day, it died.

    Some people say that everyone has a tree in the body, and there is a body on each tree. Tree creates miracle in the heart, but the body is trapped in the tree. In reality, there are primitive tribes that inhabit trees, while we seem to have walked down from the trees early, felling trees and constructing houses, and become inhabitants. But in a sense, like the little character named "Tree Brother" in the movie Hello! Mr. Tree, with a pair of hands that have nowhere to place, living on a magical and surreal tree.

    Although humans are a fragmented combination of emotions, experiences, behaviors, concepts, and knowledge. With trees as the best ancient artifact, we can tighten our muscles and stand naked in front of the bronze divine tree in San Xing Dui on the winter wild land, full of desperate resistance and passionate admiration. It is human nature to create myths. In Shan Hai Jing, there are a large number of deified exotic trees, such as Fu Sang at sunrise, Ruo Mu at sunset, and Jian Mu Tong Tian... There are more than 80 types in Wu Zang Shan Jing alone. Endless cultural interpretation of the historical romance of collusion, let the wood pointing to the east grow green again and again, which is also the timing of this group exhibition - the spring of the Chinese Year of dragon in Jiachen. Artists from different cultural backgrounds use trees as magical tools, and use sculptures, paintings, photography, and installations to collectively arrange their formations. They use different color layers in the visual spectrum to summon ancient people and present us to worship the shamanic imagery of art.

    The primitive thinking that all things have spirits has created natural worship, totem worship, ancestor worship, and reproductive worship in the world cultural heritage. As an ancient primitive belief, "tree worship" has constructed its own perfect civilization origin, cultural system, and customs and rituals, forming the appeal of mythological sanctification and religious deification through the worship of ghosts and gods. Psychologist Erich Neumann once said in The Great Mother:"Trees have towering branches and leaves, intertwined roots, as if they were the dwelling place of gods, as well as the uterus of mothers. Everything arises from them and surrounds them, which is the origin of life and wisdom, as well as the destination of death. Her branches and leaves stretch out like stars, as if they cover the world and embrace all things. " The Divine Tree symbolizing immortality, inclusivity, and wisdom, such as the Universe Tree, World Tree, Sun Tree, Wisdom Tree, Brahma Tree... injects abstract concepts into the systematic theory and concrete and vivid tree graph system of believers. The vast "social tree" of agricultural civilization combines the dual identities of deities and ancestors, such as clan tree, ancestral tree, mother tree, etc., shaping the identity and genealogy of the imagined community, becoming the "tree god" of life reproduction and life and death protection, further strengthening the ties of blood, geography, and kinship, and accepting the sacrifices from generations to come.

    However, only a few lucky trees have the godship to become divine Jimu. The vast majority are either forgotten and lucky enough to survive, or eroded and destroyed by ecosystems such as lightning, wildfires, droughts, floods, storms, and organisms, returning to the original state of the earth. Like the fate of a person, it possesses characteristics of personality. The theme of tree is a self- reflection of literary imagery and artistic imagination, becoming an object that is repeatedly portrayed by inexhaustible artistic inspiration. In short, Zhuangzi, who was profound and broad, sought after himself and enjoyed the humorous imitation of "scattered wood": the leisurely wandering of the useless use of the big tree; The unprocessed wood with rotten leaves and a smell of wild wine, along with the oak tree disregarded by craftsmen, lives peacefully in this world. While Yu Xin, a gloomy man in the Northern and Southern Dynasties, used the Dead Tree ode to retort in a brilliant way, revealing that good woods were always "buried with moss and bacteria, and birds and insects". However, such useless trees were also "flattened with scales and trimmed, which could not escape the sad fate of "spreading grass and scattering haze". Ironically, humans are much more fragile, foolish, and short-lived than trees, like grass.

    Despite this, the rootless "grass mustard" is fierce and tenacious, pulling down the tree above one´s head from the mysterious altar and lowering it to the "wood" to build a container for life and death in the Wooden Age. The big trees leave over only the money tree, wealth tree, demon tree, demon tree... The ambiguous existence projected by the corrupt desires is the "charm" of the evil tree.

    Chapter 3 of Matthew says, "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. " The punishment of the fire is probably the only chance for evil trees to be reborn, as they crackle in the fire, waiting for nirvana. Zhong A Cheng's Tree King tells the story of the tree king,whom after being chopped for four whole days, finally collapsed. The captain of the educated youth ordered the mountain to be burned. Tens of thousands of big trees rose and fell in the flames, "The mountains were like burns, emitting various strange noises, causing a panic in the universe... (Xiao Geda, the true tree king) The hand that was shattered with stones was scattered with fingers, powerless like powder, scorching like a piece of hot carbon." At that moment, the glasses fogged up. Wipe it and reappear the ignorance of squatting in the big decayed root of the juniper tree in Ali Mountain. Also, see the strong stand and fall of Joshua tree next to the desert road in the Grand Canyon. And again watch the green leaves pulled out from the top of parasol tree and gradually flying up the emptiness of a city. We, who are ugly, cowardly, and incompetent, have a sharp weapon and a murderous heart. Deafness is indeed a comedy, while blindness is a tragedy?

    Lu Xun wrote at the beginning of Autumn Night: "In my backyard, you can see two trees outside the wall, one is a jujube tree, and the other is also a jujube tree." People only read for fun, but it is about separation and grimness: "Jujube trees, they have fallen all their leaves... Some of them are still low, protecting the  wounds from the stick, while the straightest and longest branches have silently pierced the strange and arrogant sky ..." Like internal injuries, like heavenly questions, like the strange tree´s imagethat evoke visual sensations in Van Gogh's paintings, it is the determination of the tree people to touch the stars. When the acquired experience accumulates to a certain extent, a priori emerges from the collective unconscious (Carl Gustav Jung), so some people agree that the old English word "treow" contains a dual meaning of "tree and truth", hoping to reveal from etymology and theology that truth and trees are born from the same root. And ideas always come before practice, so San Mao also said, if there is an afterlife, we must be a tree and stand as eternity. Romantically, she used the trees to express aspirations, with sadness and profound obsession as its underlying color. We are still physically heavy, divided and indifferent. The old problem of carbon-based life in the old world has not been solved yet, and silicon-based life cannot wait. It needs to quickly graft into a science fiction immortal strangulation tree. The human world, with increasing entropy, is still in conflict and re-conflict, helplessly waiting for fate. The Time Tree, however, remains as always, abandoning the hypocritical lies of accumulated diseases and drawbacks, and ignoring natural punishment, war frenzy, economic vanity, technological fever, and human recklessness, quietly taking care of the stability of this world.

    Because the Tree of Life has never had so many distractions, just to gain sunlight and grow strong. Even in the cold of the year, it decayed are buried in the dark ground, enjoying the seclusion. The dormant bones underground turn into coal powder (coal jade), light and shiny, and are made into mourning jewelry by sincere love, commemorating one silent confession after another. A transformed eternal tree, dispelling disguise, no longer chaotic in the wind, lifting up golden branches and canopy, sheltering the last nothingness of the twilight. Here, a few lines from the poem of Painer Maria Rilke'sThe Duino Elegies are excerptedda

    ß wir nicht sehr verläßlich zu Haus sindin

    der gedeuteten Welt. Es bleibt uns vielleicht

    irgend ein Baum an dem Abhang, daß wir ihn täglich wiedersähen;

    Spring 2024, Shu Le Wo, Shanghai