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Contemporary Chinese Art (Part II)

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Hong Kong

Xu Bing B. 1955
B. 1955
SILKWORM SERIES - THE FOOLISH OLD MAN WHO TRIED TO REMOVE THE MOUNTAIN (2001) (SET OF TWO TRIPTYCHS)

mixed media installation with silkworms


each panel, 174 by 96 by 5.5cm.; 68 1/2 by 37 3/4 by 2 1/4 in.
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Provenance

Eslite Gallery, Taiwan.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner.

Exhibited

Eslite Gallery, Taipei, 2001.

Literature

Eslite Gallery, Xu Bing, Taipei, 2003, p.40.  

Catalogue Note

The text is an excerpt from a writing by Mao Zedong, The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains. The quoted passage may be translated as follows:

We should fire the whole people with the conviction that China belongs not to the reactionaries but to the Chinese people. There is an ancient Chinese fable called "The Foolish Old Man Who Removed the Mountains". It tells of an old man who lived in northern China long, long ago and was known as the Foolish Old Man of North Mountain. His house faced south and beyond his doorway stood the two great peaks, Taihang and Wangwu, obstructing the way. He called his sons, and hoe in hand they began to dig up these mountains with great determination. Another greybeard, known as the Wise Old Man, saw them and said derisively, "How silly of you to do this! It is quite impossible for you few to dig up these two huge mountains." The Foolish Old Man replied, "When I die, my sons will carry on; when they die, there will be my grandsons, and then their sons and grandsons, and so on to infinity. High as they are, the mountains cannot grow any higher and with every bit we dig, they will be that much lower. Why can't we clear them away?" Having refuted the Wise Old Man's wrong view, he went on digging every day, unshaken in his conviction. God was moved by this, and he sent down two angels, who carried the mountains away on their backs. Today, two big mountains lie like a dead weight on the Chinese people. One is imperialism, the other is feudalism. The Chinese Communist Party has long made up its mind to dig them up. We must persevere and work unceasingly, and we, too, will touch God's heart. Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can't these two mountains be cleared away?

 

Due to the nature of this item it will be moved to a storage location immediately following the sale. Storage charges will be transferred to the purchaser account on the sixth day following the sale. Please contact a member of the department for further assistance.

Contemporary Chinese Art (Part II)

|
Hong Kong