798 Art: Zheng Lu’s first solo exhibition at SPURS Gallery, "A Walk to Remember," is drawn from the poet Tao Yuanming's The Peach-Blossom Spring. What is the relationship between the artist's individual experience, present reality, and this imagined scenario?
Feng Xi: The clue for this exhibition was discovered from a life encounter. Sometime last year, Zheng Lu passed by Pingfang Village and found a flower shop that was still open. He found an inexpensive colorful faux rock on which the characters in seal font, "Peach Island." A few days later, when he returned to the shop and wanted to purchase the faux rock set, the shop "disappeared"; in turn, his previous shopping experience suddenly seemed vague. This "peach island" experience reminded Zheng Lu of The Peach Blossom Spring, who believes such an encounter can be as random encounter as it is fateful interventions to his life.
The advent of the pandemic and the various issues on delayed art exhibitions challenged Zheng Lu's perception of life and value, which led him to question public information and his art practice experiences. Hence, Zheng Lu designed specifically a large-scale integrated installation for this exhibition space, aimed at transforming the way and habit of exhibition viewing, which would allow the viewer to discover his/her response and reflection in this designed viewing experience.
798 Art: This exhibition offers on-site experience, especially the viewer has to climb a slope in dimly lit space, and it's only on edge, would he/she what's below. Can you elaborate on the ideas behind the spatial design?
Feng Xi: Elevating the ground level of a white cube exhibition and adopting its physical properties to tailor to the artist's practice, and with the humanistic attributes to reconstruct it. Going up a slope, arriving at the sharp cliff, and going down the slope constitute the path of one's visit, which would make the visitor's experience an essential component of this exhibition. As written in Rainer Maria Rilke's Duino Elegies, “Perhaps there remains some tree on a slope, that we can see each day again: there remains to us yesterday's street and the thinned-out loyalty of a habit that liked us, and so stayed, and never departed." The pillar at the center of the exhibition is the only physical object that cannot be removed, choosing this section of the poem is for the viewer to think of it as the tree on the slope. The fantastic landscape under the cliff presents an appealing unsophisticated quality. The angle at which the mirror is installed isolates the viewer from the viewpoint of the work, which is counter-intuitive to the immersive experience where most exhibitions now serve as photo-op background. This "walk to remember," the impression of The Peach-Blossom Spring, and the danger in approaching the cliff constitute the site for reflection.